Marge and Homer: true-love tale for French Simpsons
Marge Simpson, a romantic at heart, would surely approve. The French pair who have dubbed Marge and Homer for 18 years fell in love while playing the Simpsons, America`s longest-running and arguably best-known animated sitcom.
The award-winning parody of life in Middle America goes on screen this week -- July 25 in France, July 27 in Britain and the United States -- as "The Simpsons Movie."
And the happily-married French couple who voice the purple-haired housewife with the pearls and her buffoonish beer-bellied mate again lend their voices to the French-language version.
"When I first saw the yellow characters with their bulging eyes, I thought they were awful!" said Valerie Augereau, a brunette who remembers casting for the part back in 1989 in a dark Parisian recording studio, "in front of a bevy of staff from Fox," the broadcasters.
Valerie`s gruff-voiced rendition was a hit. "I had to force it so much at first that sometimes I couldn`t even speak."
She never imagined at the time that her voice-over duo with then husband-to-be Philippe Peythieu as Homer, laid-back father of Bart, Lisa and baby Maggie, would last 400 episodes.
"Dubbing animated film allows you to improvise" said Peythieu. "We added our personal touch without betraying the original thing" -- such as turning Homer`s celebrated grunt, "D`Oh!", pronounced "Toh" in French.
Matt Groening, who created America`s most famous family, naming characters after members of his own family, said during a stop Paris ahead of the release, that he liked the French adaptation.
"Their voices are great, they caught the spirit of the series," he said.
Veronique and Philippe play the Simpsons about 10 days a year under the eye of an artistic director who pushes them "to the edge of exhaustion" as the work needs precision and "demands great concentration."
Standing, their elbows leaning on a bar, the two grimace and wave their hands about as they interpret the scenes unfolding on a screen in front of them.
"It`s fun, we have a good time, the series is still just as popular as it ever was," said Philippe.
Philippe, who started off acting in street theatre, nowadays is the French voice for US actors Danny DeVito, Steve Buscemi, Andy Garcia and Joe Pesci, and also supervises dubbing for TV series such as "24 Hours."
Veronique, who debuted with ground-breaking French theatre troupe Ariane Mnouchkine, dubs over Rene Russo, Jamie Lee Curtis, Courtney Cox and Michelle Yeoh.
Married in 2001, the pair say their home-life helps their work-life. "We know each other so well that in 30 seconds we can produce a good scene," said Veronique.