Pillow talk leads to hit teen comedy

There's a lot to be said for pillow talk when it counts as brainstorming between married producers dreaming up a hit movie.

There’s a lot to be said for pillow talk when it counts as brainstorming between married producers dreaming up a hit movie.

Producer Caroline Héroux recalls that she and husband Christian Larouche ‘were talking at home one night when I was on maternity leave,’ when the idea for the teen film ¿ vos marques…Party! was born.

‘It was his idea,’ says Héroux. ‘Christian wanted to make a film about [teenagers]…so I said ‘Give me the three months of maternity leave,’ and then I gave him a proposal.’

The teen party film (the title of which translates into ‘On your mark, get set, party!’) stars Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and is directed by feature newcomer Frédéric D’Amours, with Héroux sharing script credit with Martine Pagé. Released in April, it grossed more than $2 million at the Quebec box office, and a sequel is set to shoot next summer.

The original ‘is a good little $2.2-million [budget] film,’ Héroux continues. ‘It’s a romantic comedy for young people – ‘genre americain.’ It’s more commercial than cultural – we never hid from that. That’s what we marketed. That’s what we made.’

Héroux is very bubbly and matter-of-fact speaking from France, where she was attending the Cinéma du Québec à Paris event.

She has her own production shingle, Gaëa Films, and met Larouche through business seven years ago. They have been married five and a half years and have two children, aged four and five.

Aside from managing a young family together, the couple can produce together because, according to Héroux, ‘We respect each other’s job. We have lots of fun. We understand each other in business; neither tries to do the other’s job. We enjoy working together, which can be a bit touchy sometimes with married couples…But we really work well together.’

The duo will also try their luck producing in English with the upcoming feature Mafia Boy.

The film is based on the true story of a Quebec high-school student, nicknamed Mafiaboy, who became infamous worldwide in 2000 by hacking into commercial websites including AOL and eBay and messing with their functionality.

The technical term for his cyber-crime is ‘denial of service,’ according to Héroux. ‘He sent tons of info to the sites so they were down for hours and hours…He overloaded them just because he could. In the world of hackers, there are stages, like black belts. So he was like a king in the cyber-world after that.

‘Bill Clinton said [the teen] cost the American economy about $1 billion,’ Héroux explains, ‘but he was Canadian and under 18, so he only got about nine months in a youth detention center in Canada.’

Budgeted at $3.5 million, the plan is to shoot Mafia Boy with director Jeremy Peter Allen in spring 2008. ‘We’re just waiting until Peter Krause [Dirty Sexy Money] is available,’ Héroux says, noting that Krause will play ‘an old American hacker that Mafiaboy worships.’