Oh merde! Season four of Call My Agent starts on Thursday, and Netflix has announced it’s going to be the last. Most of us have only just really got into our obsession with the brilliant French series, which follows the ups and downs of the long-suffering team working at a small Paris talent agency, battling their own dramatic personal lives while constantly having to get their clients out of trouble.
And what clients! Big names have been queueing up to guest on the show since it started, but British audiences not au fait with French TV and cinema were often left googling frantically to figure out who these indescribably elegant people getting themselves into idiotic scrapes actually were. So that you can savour every magnifique moment of this final season, here’s a quick primer to its grandes étoiles.
An easy one to start with, who doesn’t know Charlotte Gainsbourg? The Anglo-French daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg has been a much-loved presence on our screens for decades, loved as much for her blithe, Patti Smith-esque giving of absolutely no f***s as she is for her performances - which include An Impudent Girl, for which she won the Cesar for Most Promising Actress, The Cement Garden, Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre, and Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. In her appearance in Call My Agent, she’s stuck with an unwanted part in a friend’s movie that she’ll go to any lengths to get out of, which considering IRL she starred in Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, in which she attacks her own privates with a pair of scissors, is pretty alarming.
An actor, writer and comedian, Dubosc is as known in France for his stand-up as his screen work. His most recent show was 50/50, a look at life beyond 50 (he’s 57), when you’re “too old to be young, and too young to be old” or, as he eloquently puts it “half fig, half grape”. Though a big name in France through films such as Camping and Disco, he hasn’t been much on British screens, though some viewers may remember him from, of all things, Coronation Street, on which he played Patrick Podevin, Jenny Bradley’s French fiance, in 1987. He has said he found the British “much less snobby” than the French, though he admitted to struggling at first with the Mancunian accent. “When I first arrived, I couldn’t understand a word,” he told The Connexion.
The French-Spanish actor and writer, born in Paris, has appeared in more than 45 movies in his career, starting in 1989 in the modest role of ‘worker’ in the French comedy Mama, there’s a Man in Your Bed. British audiences may remember him from the ill-fated 2016 action film (also starring Idris Elba) Bastille Day, playing the crooked security chief Victor Gamieux - ill-fated partly because just before it was due to be released a terror attack uneasily reminiscent of that in the film occurred in Paris, and days after release another attack in Nice caused Studiocanal to pull it from cinemas. It also wasn’t particularly good. Garcia is married to the screenwriter and director Isabelle Doval.
The 52 year-old French actress and singer has been nominated eight times for the French Oscars equivalent, the Cesars, and won twice - Most Promising Actress in 1996, and then finally Best Actress in 2014. She has made more than 60 films, including Cyrano de Bergerac starring Gerard Depardieu, Alias Betty, and Alain Resnais’ final film Life of Riley, adapted from the Alan Ayckbourn play, and released two albums, though she has said that the direct relationship between the audience and a live performer freaks her out a bit. “[It] was a bit oppressing and heavy for me, everything relies on your shoulders on stage and when people yell your name it can be scary,” she told HeyUGuys.com. Her directorial film debut, A Radiant Girl, about a young French Jewish girl living in wartime Paris, is due for release this year.
Who knew she could speak French? Well, anyone who saw the French film One Woman or Two?, actually, in which Weaver, 71, starred alongside Gerard Depardieu in 1985, between shooting Alien movies. The first non-French actor to guest star on the show (she plays herself trying to bag a role opposite a younger male actor), Weaver speaks the language fluently and told Variety that she leapt at the chance. “I replied without even reading the script! It’s the first and last time I’ve done that in my life, but I had so much admiration for the ensemble and the idea and so I just said ‘yes’ before they could change their mind,” she said. Her most recent films, My Salinger Year and The Good House, with Kevin Kline, are both ready and poised for release.
Reno is probably one of the most recognisable French stars in the English-speaking world, having successfully crossed over in the Eighties to star in films such as The Big Blue, Mission: Impossible, Ronin, Godzilla, French Kiss (with Meg Ryan) and many more. His parents were Andalusian Spanish, and Reno was born Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez in Casablanca. Nicholas Sarkozy, then a presidential candidate, was best man at Reno’s third wedding, to the British-Polish model and actress, Zofia Borucka.
The fourth series of Call My Agent! is on Netflix from January 21