1. Guy Bedos, réalisateur started relating his life with his first full-length feature, Le vieil homme et l’enfant (UK/US: The Two of Us), France, 1966, about Claude as a Jewish kid evacuated ol the countryside during WWII to be sheltered by an embittered anti-Semitic old cuss (the great Michel Simon).  This second chapter covered Berri’s military service. He tested the rising comic Coluche for Claude before switching to the more screen-experienced comic Guy Bedos – with  Coliuce in a support role..  Berri continued his life story Le cinéma de papa, 1970, and Le Sex Shop, 1972.   Coluche won a Best Actor César (the French Oscar) for Berri’s Tchao Pantin in 1984.

  2. Patrick Dewaere, Le maries de l’An II, France, 1970.After Le pistonné,auteur Claude Berri told realisateur Jean-Paul Rappeneau about the strong personality of Coluche.So, like most other Parisians, Rappeneau checked out the cafe-theatre stars at the suddenly in Cafe de la Gare. “He wanted to see Coluche,”recalledDewaere. “And Coluche asked me along to give him his cues. And I got the part.”

  3. Patrick Dewaere, Les valseuses (US: Going Places), France, 1973. During his six month (!) search for unknown leads, Bertrand Blier often visited the Café de la Gare and first thought he had his Jean-Claude, Pierrot and Marie-Ange in Depardieu, Coluche and Miou-Miou. Their (numerous) tests together never gelled and Miou suggested Patrick, her future lover! Coluche, who became gigantic comedy star in France (all but running for president one year!) later worked with Blier on… La Femme de mon pote. Blier was writing that when Dewaere visited him with exactly the same story. Coluche was sleeping with his girl, Elsa!
  4. Claude Berri, Le Mâle du siècle, 1974.   “In all my life, I am making only one movie,” declared actor-turned-realisateur Claude Berri. “And that movie is my life.” For the fourth film (of six) about Claude, Berri originally wanted Coluche toform a couple with Miou-Miou. But he preferred stand-up. Recommended to Berri by Fred Zinnemann no less, Coluche made his screen debut in Berri’s latest autobiography chapter,Le pistonné,in1969., and made six more Berri films, winning a César award for Tchao Pantin, 1983.

  5. Daniel Auteil, Jean de Florette and Manon des sources, France, 1985.   The Estate of playwright-cineaste Marcel Pagnol would not allow producteur-realisateur  Claude Berri to have  the rights if he insisted on  his previous  César-winning star as Ugolan. ”Don’t worry, ma poule,” he told his mentor, “I’ll be your Ugolin.”  And he tried but film and  video tests  showed him incapable of capturing either Ugolin’s Midi accent or his lovelorn soul. “It’s not me that’s crying. It’s my eyes.”

  6. Daniel Auteil, Manon des sources, France, 1985.  The comic then balked at the eight-month shoot  for the two films and demanded 10m Euros –  to free Berri into searching elsewhere. Berri took his time, while the perfect candidate had the same name as the area where Bertri shot his tests – Auteuil!  Ironically, those tests proved how Yves Montand (merely helping Coluche out by playing opposite his test) proved perfect for the role he had already refused, the aged Cesar Soubeyran, aka  le Papet. but Coluche knew he was wrong. For all of France, he was the #1 Parisian. Unacceptable as Ugolin, the country bumpkin. Auteil won the  César.

  7. Michel Blanc, Tenue de soirée, France, 1986. Coluche never had much luck with auteur Bertrand Blier. He had written this typically caustic comedie-noir for his Valseuses trio. Dewaere’s suicide, killed that and Blier never wanted to touch it again… until impressed by Bernard Giraudeau in L’année des meduses. Bernard eventually refused leaving the choice between Blanc or Coluche. Blanc read it first. And shared the 1986 Cannes Festival bestactor award (with Bob Hoskins in Mona Lisa).
  8. Tcheky Karyo, Bleu commel’enfer, 1986.  Killed on his motor-cycle a few months before due to play a sadistic cop.
  9. Jean Poiret, Le Miraculé, France, 1986.  The well-named writer-director Jean-Pierre Mocky aimed rather too high for debunking the hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic church – and its religious tourism HQ in the sacred French town of Lourdes.  He next  tried to persuade top UK comic Benny Hill  – a favourite  of the French  on TV – to take the lead role, before moving  moved on to another hilarious Brit, the  bug-eyed Marty Feldman. He then talked to French clown Coluche and actor-director  Michel Blanc. Tragically, Coluche was suddenly dead – crushed on his motor-bike by a heavy lorry on June 19, 1986.. A shocked Blanc simply withdrew – in the first registered letter Mocky had “ever received from an actor!”   Finally,  Mocky settled for two  old pals in their last film together:  the Cage aux Folles team, of Jean Poiret as Papu and, as Reginald Fox-Terrie, Michel Serrault  – a sort of a French Peter Sellers, without the range of the British model.
  10. Jean-Pierre Bacri, L’Eté en pente douce, France, 1987.Michel loved the shorts made by ex-actor Gerard Krawczyk and asked if he had any features. He gave him this script on a Friday night and next morning Coluche said he wanted to star and produce. And that’s as far as it went.
  11. Michel Blanc, M Hire (UK/US: Monsieur Hire), France, 1989.  The idea had been on auteur Patrice Leconte’s mind for some years.. A re-make of the 1957 Panique – Juulien Duvivier directing Michel Simon – based on the Georges Simenon novel, Les Fiancailles de from Leconte’s directing debut, Les vécés etaient fermés de l’intérieur, 1975. “Physically, he was very close to the personnagecreated by Simenon.” But then the #1 French stand-up and Cesar-winning actor was dead. Another bulky star, Jacques Villeret, was considered, even the thinner Roman Polanski – although the film was perhaps too close to his Tenant. Leconte decided he needed a pal for the ride, and called up Blanc from their  successful Bronzés comedies – and asked him to do much the same as he’d asked another bronzé, Gerard Jugnot, to do in Tandem – go off-circuit,  try something totally new…For both of them! And it worked. Splendidly. 
  12. Thierry Lhermitte, Promotion canapé, France, 1990.He was planning two comebacks – one on-stage, another on-screen in this Claude Zidi sexual-harrassment comedy – whenColuche was crushed on his motor-bike by a heavy lorry. It was four years before Zidi could touch his scenario again.


 Birth year: 1944Death year: 1986Other name: Michel ColucciCasting Calls:  13