C’est bien!

Feature film to explore drama of Villeneuve father and son in Formula One
MONTREAL (CP) – For most of his career, Jacques Villeneuve avoided answering questions about his late father, flashy Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve.
But the 1997 world champion from Iberville, Que., has finally agreed to participate in a feature film that will look at the human drama in the lives of the father and son Formula One drivers.
The film, simply called Villeneuve, is to begin production in 2006 and has a budget of more than $30 million, said producer Gabriella Martinelli.
“When I started my career, it was difficult to talk about my father,” Villeneuve said Thursday at a packed news conference at his downtown restaurant Newtown. “I was getting a lot of attention from the media and public, but not because I had achieved anything.
“That was a bit embarrassing. People looked at me like they were seeing my father’s ghost. I was very proud to be Gilles Villeneuve’s son, but I wanted to achieve something myself.”
He said the pressure eased after he won the 1997 championship with the Williams team and he opened up more after making an exhibition run in his father’s old Ferrari, while wearing his father’s helmet, last summer in England.
Villeneuve said the film will dissolve the notion that he resented his father.
“No one knows about my relationship with my dad,” said Jacques, who was 11 when Gilles died. “The misconception was that people thought I hated him and didn’t want to be part of his life and that’s totally wrong. He was always my hero.
“But I was doing the same job as him and I was doing it for myself. I tried to keep them separate and that’s not what people wanted to hear. They wanted to hear Gilles again and were annoyed that I wasn’t willing to give them that.”
While Jacques didn’t get the chance to learn much about driving from his father, he said the two shared a passion for speed and risk. But cars, drivers, tracks and rules have evolved so that racing is safer these days.
“If he was driving in the 1990s, he’d still be a driver and if I was driving in the 1970s, I’d be dead,” Jacques said.
The film, made by Capri Films, will follow the career of Gilles, the dashing driver from Berthierville, Que., who was killed in a crash during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix in 1982, and the rise of his son Jacques to become world champion.
The film is based on the book Villeneuve: The Life of the Legendary Driver, by Gerald Donaldson. It is to be directed by Montrealer Christian Duguay while Malcolm Clarke of Britain will write the script.
“This is a human drama with a backdrop of Formula One racing,” said Duguay. “It’s the story of Gilles from his son’s point of view.”
Villeneuve, now driving for the Sauber Petronas team, will act as a consultant to the filmmakers, but actors will be hired to play the drivers.
Craig Pollock, Villeneuve’s agent, said he had received at least 10 requests over the years from people who hoped to do a film or TV mini-series on the father and son, but they were all turned down.
“This was different – Jacques will have his say,” said Pollock. “This film would happen whether you like it or not.
“Everything about Gilles is in the public domain and neither Jacques nor the family could stop it. So the best thing is to be involved, to act as consultant and try to control what happens inside the script.”