Why is Call My Agent called Dix pour cent (and other important questions)?
Yes, fellow francophiles, if you're already missing binge-watching the hugely successful Dix pour cent / Call My Agent! on Netflix, then here's the good news you've been waiting for! It will be returning for series 5. I have been loving this show for a very long time and rewatching it every few months. Hey, it's good to immerse yourself in French language series, right?
So today I'm sharing answers to a few questions that get asked about the show plus more on what the fine cast has been up to in films and TV. If you want to watch the actors in more French films and TV series, then look no further...
Having watched and re-watched the first three series, I was delighted to get to series 4 finally! It's been available worldwide for a while now... but series 5? I didn't dare to dream they would return. There were rumours of feature films, but honestly, series 5 will be just ideal. Thanks Netflix. 😁 Actually, it turns our that there will also be a feature film possibly based in the USA as well as Paris. Watch this space for more news!
If you have no idea what I am talking about, then get yourself over to Netflix [SPOILER alert as the link goes to Season 2 trailer] in your region and search for Call My Agent or Dix pour cent. Be prepared for fun, laughter and Parisian life observations everywhere...oh yes, and real-life film stars playing a version of themselves. From Cécile de France, Jean Dujardin and Jean Reno to Charlotte Gainsbourg, Franck Dubosc and Monica Bellucci all four series have a megawatt of stardom. By the time you're watching series 4, the agents will be like your favourite dysfunctional family.
The show essentially follows the ASK agency (Agence Samuel Kerr) named after its founder, based in Paris and with a long list of famous French film stars on its books. Its agents are always juggling the needs, projects and schedules of their clients as well as their own colourful lives. When the future of the agency is under threat, will they be able to pull together? Can they survive the change in their personal and professional lives while keeping their clients happy?
Why is Call My Agent called Dix pour cent?
Call My Agent is called Dix pour cent (10%) because that is traditionally the fee charged by the film star's agent for their services. There is a scene with Gérard Lanvin who is with Mathias, his agent, (Thibault de Montalembert) at the counter of a bar (Soufiane Guerrab, who was also seen in Netflix's Lupin plays the wannabe actor-bartender)
The bartender, Samy, asks "Can I offer you a drink?... What'll your friend have?".
Gerard replies, "Him? Ten per cent!"
What have the 'agents' been up to?
Let's find out more about the agents and staff at ASK, through the actors' real-life film and TV projects! With the regular Cinéma Saturdays blog post right here every week at France Where You Are, you know how passionate I am about French cinema! It's been a huge part of my cinema-loving life.
So it was a natural thing that I would find this series so amusing and fabulous. It also happens that as I love watching films, I have found cast members in all kinds of Netflix series and films. Let's find out more!
aka Thibault de Montalembert
Playing the talented but rather Machiavellian Mathias must have been pretty good fun for this French stage and screen actor. I have recently seen him in the fabulous fun of Miss (a Miss France storyline like you've never seen before) and Thibault de Montalembert as you have never seen him before. Lola is a role so utterly different from the upright, upper class, well-connected professional schemer, Mathias. The film has a great cast including Stéfi Celma who is also seen in Call My Agent! If you can find this film, it's a recommended watch.
Also starring in:
I Got Life! / Aurore with Agnès Jaoui
TV series The Tunnel
New release Miss directed by Ruben Alves and starring Thibault de Montalembert and Stéfi Celma from Call My Agent!
aka Camille Cottin
Ah, wonderful, impetuous and utterly passionate Andréa. In all her human frailty, she is a great character and probably my personal favourite. Strong, forceful and totally in love with her job, she is the Parisian workaholic archetype. The writers would probably say she just shows a realistic focus of being an agent - not a job for the fainthearted!
She cares about her clients deeply, works many hours and really cares about making movies. She likes to be first, to be successful and to be working hard. Sadly lots of the rest of her life gets complicated through some rash decisions, drama or the lack of attention she gives to the other parts of her life. Can she learn to balance the demands on her?
Camille Cottin is a superb actor, also seen in the BBC drama Killing Eve (in English), she shows a range and talent for varied roles. She is filming the new biopic of Gucci with Adam Driver and Lady Gaga and has gone on to gain representation in the USA (the same agent as Lupin star, Omar Sy) so the future looks extremely bright for her.
Film and TV roles include:
On the France coastline with Fabrice Luchini in The Mystery of Henri Pick. (What's not to like about that?)
BBC Killing Eve TV drama series
Allied (not a film I recommend, but not because of Cottin)
and Klapisch's Someone, Somewhere where she plays a psychotherapist opposite fellow Call My Agent! star François Berléand.
aka Laure Calamy
An award-winning comedy actor who plays the country girl from the Auvergne turned Parisienne Noémie to perfection. Loyal, hard-working and resilient, she is the Personal Assistant par excellence. Showing a spiritual side out of step with her colleagues and a talent for scheduling, she is a pitch perfect mix of tenderness, comedy and humanity. Clearly an out-of-towner, she doesn't confirm to Parisian style norms and emphasises her roots in the country on several occasions, giving her a resilience and independence which contrasts with many other characters including her boss, Mathias.
Laure Calamy recently won a César Award for Best Actress for her comedic turn in Antoinette dans les Cévennes. A post-Call My Agent production which has been warmly received. It is sometimes available to stream on online film festivals, but appears to be unreleased as yet on DVD.
Films you can see Calamy in new release Antoinette dans les Cévennes / My Donkey, My Lover & I (trailer below)
aka Nicolas Maury
Known for playing unconventional characters, Maury's turn as Hervé brings a formidable voice of difference to the Paris office. Dedicated, loyal and yet highly individualistic, he is a web of contradictions. Completely indiscreet and ambitious, we wonder how he would handle being an agent.
Hervé must have been fun to play - he has the opportunity to show camaraderie, acerbic insults, betrayal, loyalty, comedy and drama with plenty of storyline surprises. Another long-serving assistant at ASK, Hervé tries to keep Gabriel organised and shows a side of office life you probably don't miss - an office friend you weren't too sure whether to love, trust or leave alone. Observant and with undiscovered talents, Hervé has some great storylines across the seasons. It's a great turn from actor and director Nicolas Maury.
Since Call My Agent!, Maury released his directorial debut Garçon Chiffon / My Best Part starring Nathalie Baye, himself, Laure Calamy (all three also star in Call My Agent!) as well as Jean-Marc Barr, Arnaud Valois and Laurent Capelluto . The critically - acclaimed Garçon Chiffon has had pandemic - blighted releases (it opened just before the closure of cinemas) but may be available near you this year, especially when cinemas reopen. It has been confirmed that a US distributor has been found as well as rights sold in many other countries. Keep a look out for it and follow Maury on IG for his philosophical musings, thoughts, projects and vision. You can see him in a Vogue Paris interview here. A creative force not to miss - I want to see everything he does from now on!
Film & TV
Maury stars in forthcoming C'est la vie.
You can also see him in Knife + Heart with Vanessa Paradis and Spellbound.
Meet Arlette (with Jean Gabin)
aka Liliane Rovère
Fabulous, indomitable Arlette who started the agency ASK with Samuel Kerr, just the two of them in one tiny office is the quietly important heart of the agency. Smart, acerbic and knowledgable, she is like a professional matriarch with the life experience to have known Paris and the film industry for decades. Like her dog, named after famous French actor Jean Gabin (star of some of the great classic of French cinema) she brings warmth without sentimentality to the show. From memories of jazz musician love affairs and professional scores to be settled she is formidable and wonderful in equal measure.
Superbly played by Lilian Rovère who you may have seen in another popular Netflix series called Family Business, also set in Paris but with a very different business ethic! She can also be seen in countless films and TV so you might want to just check out her filmography here.
aka Grégory Montel
The agent with a big heart and the antithesis of Mathias and Andrea's strategic thinking, Gabriel is the kind, slightly lost best friend figure of the show. He is wonderfully played by Grégory Montel and even when he gets things so massively wrong, you can't help but love him. As the series progresses he becomes more and more frustrated by this typecasting in the company as the "nice bumbling one" and so we have plenty of opportunities to see him to try to find ways to assert himself. He's the centre of many funny storylines with his clients from Norman learning to drive to Isabelle Huppert making too many films at once, with potentially disastrous consequences.
Films you might have seen Montel in include L'air de rien and Thirst for Life and he has made a directorial short film entitled Barking Dogs. Forthcoming films include Rose, opposite Françoise Fabian (an acting legend, also in Call My Agent!) which is currently in post-production.
aka Stéfi Celma
Sofia who works at the front reception desk is a would-be actor looking for work and acting in Paris theatre shows. Talented and undiscovered, we see her grow into a much bigger character in the show for many of the series. A wonderful singer as well as actor, can she succeed at both?
Films you can see Celma in include Lost Bullet (2020) available on Netflix as well as Miss (mentioned above.) Forthcoming films include Le Petit Piaf.
She has a beautiful voice and can be seen singing opposite Julien Doré in Call My Agent! (Paris-Seychelles) and her own recent single is available on music services. Find her single release here on Spotify and Apple Music amongst others.
aka Fanny Sidney
Arriving in Paris with no experience and no goals, apart from possibly meeting her estranged father, Camille brings a naive energy from the Côte d'Azur where she's been working at her mother's hair salon in a little town on the coast. Her arrival causes all kinds of unexpected consequences in series one and she goes on to become a great part of the ASK team. We watch her grow up professionally and personally from the multi-coloured nails and messy chignon to sophisticated junior. She is the outsider to the Paris universe and we need that perspective of "how much is a sandwich for lunch?" inexperience to offset the everyday antics of the ASK offices with the Paris life references.
Beautifully played by Fanny Sidney, Camille is a character with a good heart, a nose for talent and the skills to become a great agent.
You may have seen her in films like Populaire with Romain Duris and the Mesrine films starring Vincent Cassel.
Call My Agent Style and Fashion
If the Call My Agent Parisian-French style has caught your eye in the show, then this article with costume designer Anne Schotte is well worth a read. Lots of what I love about the show - the subtle codified fashions and styles to emphasise the characters... and basically I just want Andrea Martel's wardrobe.
Discover more Call My Agent
Finally, for the die-hard French-speaking fans amongst you, check out the following Dix pour cent additions: a podcast, a behind the scenes book, a novel based on the series and even a colouring book. Let's keep going until series five!
And one last thing... if you feel like you might have missed some cultural references in Call My Agent! series 4, then check out this article in The Independent (you should be able to read once for free), which captures many of the little things you may or may not have noticed. So if you don't know Franck Dubosc's Camping films or read editions of Télérama, you might like it! Test yourself - I won't keep score. Promise.
That's a wrap!
There are fine performances from everyone in this show, so I've only scratched the surface of the great cast and their projects. Not to mention the rest of the cast including those chez ASK and all the film star guests.
Let me know what your favourite episode is, I'd love to hear from you.
Is there something else you'd like to know or to explore about this series? Or other France-based TV shows? Drop me a line via email or on social media. hello @ francewhereyouare.com