Scheduled to air on Netflix starting September 13, 2023, the series “Tapie” retraces the life of Bernard Tapie. Scheming, charisma, wealth, and extravagance – dive into the world of a man who left his mark on his era.
This is probably one of the most highly anticipated series of the year-end. The seven-episode miniseries “Tapie,” with each episode lasting 50 minutes, stars Laurent Lafitte in the role of Bernard Tapie.
Created by Olivier Demangel and Tristan Séguéla, this biopic takes us back to a time when the young businessman began his career as a door-to-door TV salesman before climbing the ranks and taking on responsibilities both in politics and management.
Laurent Lafitte, a member of the Comédie Française, delivers a performance that promises to be remarkable, both in terms of physical resemblance and surprising acting. As a writer and director himself, he establishes himself as one of the most charismatic and versatile French actors today, excelling in both comedy and drama.
Alongside him, we’ll see actors such as Fabrice Luchini, Joséphine Japy, Mark Lewis, Antoine Reinartz, and Camille Chamoux.
The series will premiere on Netflix on September 13, 2023, offering the opportunity to revisit the extraordinary journey of the man who was nicknamed “Nanard” by Les Guignols.
The series had a provisional title of “Wonderman,” a reference to the iconic 1986 advertisement for a battery brand in which you can hear, ‘What makes Tapie run… I run on Wonder.’
The destiny of Bernard Tapie is a fascinating saga, blending success, controversies, and resilience. As a businessman, politician, media personality, and sports figure, he left an indelible mark on France over the decades, reflecting the opportunities and challenges of his time.
The early life of Bernard Tapie, born into a modest family in Paris on January 26, 1943, did not foreshadow his exceptional rise. However, his determination and ambition led him to persevere. He began his career as a shoe salesman and later as a door-to-door TV salesman. In the 1970s, he founded his own sports store, “La Provençale,” in Marseille, marking the beginning of a series of successes in the business world. He expanded his empire by acquiring companies, including the Adidas Group in 1990, which propelled him into a major figure in the world of sports and fashion.
His foray into politics as the Minister of Urban Affairs in François Mitterrand’s government in 1986 marked the beginning of a tumultuous period in his life. In 1993, he became the Minister of State Reform and government spokesperson but resigned quickly.
However, it was as the president of Olympique de Marseille that he found himself at the center of the biggest controversy. Under his leadership, the club won the UEFA Champions League in 1993, but this victory was marred by a financial scandal involving match-fixing and accounting irregularities. In 1995, he was convicted of fraud and misappropriation of corporate assets. After his conviction, Bernard Tapie’s life took an unexpected turn. He made a notable return to the media scene in 2013 with the publication of his autobiography titled “A State Scandal.” This book elicited strong reactions and reignited debates surrounding his complex personality.
In 2017, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, a disease that would test his resilience and determination. His battle against the illness became a symbol of his tenacity, and he fought it until the end. He passed away on October 3, 2021.
Tapie Clan Rejection
As the release date of the series approaches, it has already sparked strong reactions. In fact, the family of the businessman was opposed to the idea.
Bernard Tapie’s daughter, Sophie, posted multiple Instagram stories to express her disagreement, calling for a boycott of the miniseries. The month prior, Dominique, Bernard Tapie’s widow, had shared her perspective on RTL, saying, ‘The person who created this series had met Bernard, and he had clearly told him, ‘No, if anyone is going to tell my story, it will be my son Laurent.’ That’s how it happened… No comment.’
The Tapie family strongly opposes Netflix, especially since one of the creators of the series is Tristan Séguéla, the son of Jacques, a long-time friend of the businessman.
‘We Are Not Defaming’
In response to the Tapie clan’s criticism, Laurent Lafitte defended his work. ‘As long as we are not defaming, we have the right, in France, to tell the life story of a public figure. However, I can understand concerns about respecting his memory,’ he explained on BFM TV.
‘It will be a biopic about the man, with a strong subjective element,’ he added. ‘It’s our perspective on his journey. As soon as the idea came up, I informed him because I thought it was a good thing to do. But we didn’t seek his approval or opinion.’
There is reportedly another biopic project in the works, directed by Laurent Tapie, the son of Bernard Tapie. This may explain the strong reaction from the family towards this series.
Bernard Tapie’s journey is undeniably marked by successes and scandals, embodying both the dynamism and ambition of France in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as the flaws in the financial and political system. His ability to rise again after personal and legal trials is admirable. A polarizing figure, he has left an indelible mark on recent French history.
Photo à la Une : ©Netflix
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