“Fort Boyard”: five things to know about Yann Le Gac, the actor behind the mask of Father Fouras for more than thirty years

"Fort Boyard": five things to know about Yann Le Gac, the actor behind the mask of Father Fouras for more than thirty years

At the top of the 370 steps of the watchtower of “Fort Boyard”, he waits, impassive, ready to attack the candidate who comes to confront his riddles. While some things have changed at the Fort this season, including the removal of the tigers to respect the welfare of the animals, the mysterious old man is unstoppable.

Father Fouras has interviewed candidates for the cult program France 2 for 33 seasons – a new episode of which will be aired on Saturday 30 July – and almost since Yann Le Gac embodies this emblematic character. The comedian from Morbihan, who will celebrate his 68th birthday in August, didn’t think this costume would stick to his skin three decades later. Here are five things you may not know about the person playing Father Fouras.

Screenshot of an interview with Yann Le Gac conducted in 2018 by the Society of Game Authors (Saje).  (YOUTUBE / COMPANY OF THE GAME AUTHORS)

1Dancer emeritus before becoming an actor

Before establishing his summer quarters off La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), Yann Le Gac first dreamed of becoming a dancer. As a teenager, he was advised to do tap dance, modern dance and then ballet. He manages to integrate “the best ballet class in Paris, that of Serge Golovine, avenue George V, where the dancers of the Opera used to come “says in 2021 a The magazine team (article subscribers). Then he headed to Brussels, where he enrolled in the school of the dancer Maurice Béjart. In 1973 his name appears in the cast of many of the choreographer’s shows.

“He was pumped up in my day, a guy who dances. I did it for eight hours a day, more than fifteen years. You can imagine the body that shaped me … I pay for it: I have osteoarthritis everywhere!

Yann Le Gac

to “L’Equipe Magazine”

He performs all over the world: at the Bolshoi in Moscow, at the Scala in Milan, at the Fenice in Venice or at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. But in the mid-1980s, her body told to stop. “The dance never stops, it’s physical madness”admits Sunday newspaper. Now he dreams of becoming an actor and his meeting with the famous agent Dominique Besnehard accelerates this reorientation. He also passes the tests for the role finally filled by Jean-Hugues Anglade in 37º2 in the morningas explained in Gala.

Yann Le Gac joined the crew in the early 1990s of actors directed by director Alexis Tikovoï. She confronts Marie Trintignant, Anne Parillaud and Tina Sportolaro. Reminds you of a man “very open, friendly and jovial”. “His atypical career amazed me, he had already had a professional life as a dancer with Maurice Béjart”.

2The first father Fouras was not him

Yann Le Gac joined “Fort Boyard” during the second season, in 1991. He replaced Belgian actor Michel Scourneau, who was ousted for different reasons, depending on the main players. In the documentary TV game mastersaired in 2019 on France 5, former “Fort Boyard” host Patrice Laffont claims the show’s success prompted Michel Scourneau to revise his requirements upward. “He blackmailed the production a little bit, saying, ‘Oh boy, now maybe we should get pissed off a little'”says Patrice Laffont.

A version denied by the actor. When my agent offered me to be Father Fouras, I was not very enthusiastic and therefore had negotiated a fairly high fee. I got 250,000 francs to shoot all season, for France and Germany “defends itself in Le Figaro. He adds that he turned down the seven-year contract he was initially offered, preferring not to commit to the long term.

Yann Le Gac in the role of Père Fouras when the emblematic character of

When it comes time to renegotiate for the second season, Pierre Sportolaro, the production manager, wants to renew it, but with a less significant cachet. “I told him I disagreed. I wanted the same contractsays Michel Scourneau. The discussion had stopped there and from then on I had not had any further news. But I never asked for more because I knew I was already paid very well. “

Whatever the reasons, the production then had to re-launch a casting. “My brother Pierre asked me if I didn’t know any actors who might be interested”, actress Tina tells franceinfo Sportolaro. “I thought about Yann because he had this background. The other young actors didn’t stick with it. He was the most consistent candidate.”

3He did not expect to make old bones at the Fort

When he enters the Fort, Yann Le Gac thinks it won’t take thirty years. “I thought I would only get paid once. But the game was a success, I was asked the following year to continue, and so on …”explained in 2019 to Telegram. At that time Yann Le Gac continued his acting career and this passage through the TV box was not necessarily viewed with a good eye.

“Marie Trintignant was very reserved: ‘You’re crazy, you don’t have to. More a game …’ Making TV was very frowned upon. I replied: ‘I’ll have a mask, I’m going to mask my voice, no problem.'”

Yann Le Gac

to “Telegram”

“When Yann signed, durability wasn’t the issue at all, confirms Tina Sportolaro. We weren’t projecting in time. “ He ends up getting involved in the game and has never abandoned the costume, even when he wants to focus on the artistic production of the show. In 2002, he was briefly replaced by Didier Hervé, another actor. But this replacement doesn’t last. “They there was a request from the channel and the production to make me come back: viewers realized that it was no longer me, due to the voice and eyes, in particular “advances The Telegram.

4 Becoming Father Fouras, a physical need

Donning Father Fouras’ costume is not easy. This requires at least 45 minutes of makeup and thirty minutes to get dressed. At the beginning of his adventure, “LThe mask was very heavy and thick, like a balaclava that hurt my neck “says Yann Le Gac a Telegram. The costume, which he says resembles a sack of torn potatoes “, is silk and remains heavy. Over the years, the paraphernalia has gotten lighter, but what requires more energy from the actor is Father Fouras’ very special, humming voice.

“It takes ten times more effort for me to say a phrase in ‘Père Fouras’ than in my normal voice. This character is very vampirizing in terms of energy.”

Yann Le Gac

to “L’Equipe Magazine”

And when everything comes back, with filming to do, sometimes in conditions that don’t match his costume (hot, cramped conditions), he can sweat profusely. “I’m always afraid when I have to move, because I know I will pay for it. When I take off my toga, I’m soaked to twist my shirt “admits in sports daily.

5The man who designs the rehearsals of … “Koh Lanta”

In “Fort Boyard”, Yann Le Gac not only poses the puzzles invented by a team of authors, but also designs the tests. And, since 2003, he has held the same position for the TF1 “Koh-Lanta” program. “J‘I invent the games and I fix them’reveals on Europe 1 in 2019. A role that earned him the nickname of “executioner” with candidates. The key is to give the illusion that the evidence seems simple and obvious to everyone at first glance. In the beginning it is often me who launches the idea and the reflection work begins with the team “describes to the Huffington Post.

“It’s a tall order. You should see the intensity in the creative labs (…) We’re blowing our brains out.”

Yann Le Gac

at the Huffington Post

The man behind the orienteering race that qualifies for the final? And he. He does not hide a certain pride in having imagined it. It’s an extremely complicated event in processing, but ultimately very easy for viewers to see and follow. It’s a test that always offers unexpected twists and I love it! “slips.

If he didn’t invent the pole test, he retrofitted it by seeing perched pelicans. “I thought to myself, ‘Hey, what’s purer?’ describes to Europe 1. Because the problem is always finding the right games, big or small, strong or not. Especially when it comes to the final “.


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