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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Asterix in Britain heads for the cinemas

Asterix in Britain

Goodness gracious! A round of hot water for the entire Gaulish village! The long best-selling Asterix story, Asterix in Britain, is to become a movie.

Earlier this month, Les Editions Albert René and the Fidelite production company announced an agreement for a new feature-length film.

The fourth adaptation of the Asterix Adventures, Astérix chez les Bretons, to give it its French title, is to be directed by Laurent Tirard, who will also be co-writing the script with Grégoire Vigneron, based on the album.

The story sees the Romans invading Britain, but, like Gaul, one village still holds out against them. Asterix and Obelix cross the Channel to help the Britons, with plenty of digs at British culture along the way.

"Already produced as an animated film in 1986, Asterix in Britain is jam-packed with unforgettable scenes that we're dying to see in real-life action," say the Asterix team. "The excitement of Asterix and Obelix’s reunion at the Tower of London, an unexpected rugby match, an entire legion of wine-weary Romans, the delights of lukewarm beer and boiled boar with mint sauce, the exquisite care of the most impeccably kept lawn in the Ancient World, and the story of how tea became the Britons’ national beverage, thanks to Getafix’s well-meaning pranks....

Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo holds this early Asterix album in high regard. “In my opinion, René Goscinny’s best album will always be Asterix in Britain, thanks to an extraordinary trick that only he could have come up with since he spoke English: transforming the Britons’ speech with an English sentence structure.”

Asterix in Britain was also superbly translated on its original release by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge and like many of the early books, is an indicator of how important a good translation is to the success of foreign albums in the UK market. For me, reading the original Asterix the Gaul as a kid, nothing beats the scene in which Getafix and Asterix enjoy a round of wordplay at the Romans' expense...

Notes about some of the "in" and visual jokes in Asterix in Britain on The Asterix Annotations

More about the first three live-action films adapted from the Asterix universe on the official Asterix web site

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