The little queen; ARP Sélection
After producing several dozen French action and comedy films, the president of La Petite Reine, Thomas Langmann, signed on to tackle Hazanavicius' crazy new project—a silent film. In the 21st century.
That's like saying: "Hey, I have a great idea for the new Boeing line. How about a biplane?"
Langmann financed the film out of his own pocket after pitching it to a gaggle of investors who weren't willing to bet their cash on such an old-fashioned genre. They probably kicked themselves or put their feet in their mouths or something when the film went on to win all the awards.
The Artist is a definite change in pace for Langmann and La Petite Reine, whose previous films include Foon (2005), a quasi-musical-comedy-horror movie about high school rivalries between nerds and cool kids with kooky hairdos, and Le Mac (2010), in which a timid banker is strong-armed into pretending he's an infamous, super-slick gangster.
A little different from the homage to old world Hollywood that Hazanavicius dreamed up, but Langmann put his faith in that dream nevertheless, and good thing he did. Needless to say, The Artist was Langmann's big break…and in fact was the first ever Academy Award Best Picture winner produced entirely by a non-English-speaking country.