TELEVISION – It’s a small revolution for Fort Boyard. The legendary France 2 game show is launching its 33rd season this Saturday, July 2 at 9:20 p.m. … without its tigers. A first since the creation of the show in 1990.
The last two felines, Kashmir and Tosca, have been removed from the game, as announced by ALP (Adventure Line Productions) last February. This motivated its decision by “the evolution of mentalities” of its viewers, in tune with society, generally more concerned with animal welfare.
Tigers replaced by avatars
If the real felines are retired, Fort Boyard however wanted to keep in the program those who have become, over the years, the emblem of the game. The tigers are thus present on the logo of the show, but also on the outfits of the candidates and, of course, represented on the masks of the Time Masters.
In the treasure room, where the final scene of the game takes place, the animals have been replaced by computer-generated animations. An innovation that viewers will be able to discover this Saturday evening, when the team led by Élie Semoun and Clémence Botino, Miss France 2020, will try to collect as many Boyars as possible for the benefit of the Chimpanzee Conservation Center and the Keep A Breast association. .
“At first, we thought of putting archival images of tigers but we thought it would be weird for the public, since they knew that the animals were no longer there”, explains to the HuffPost Guillaume Ramain, artistic producer of the show since 2011. “We finally opted for tiger statues in the treasure room and we decided to animate them to bring them to life like gargoyles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame or creatures in Fantastic Beasts.”
A sculpture was first designed in-house by the decorators, then it was adapted in 3D. In total, the project required four months of work, according to the production, which trusted Seed Factory, which specializes in 3D effects, for the creation of its tigers. The French studio is particularly known for its work on the programs of Stéphane Bern and Lorànt Deutsch, Let yourself be guided, broadcast on France 2.
Tiger shots were historically distilled into the show between each sequence in a cell. A way for the production to energize the program. With this computer-generated image solution, ALP hopes to keep this style. “The tigers will interact with the contestants during the show, sometimes it will be funny or disturbing. For example, they will lick their chops when the candidates run past them”, promises Guillaume Ramain, who indicates that the 3D avatars will remain in the treasure room… but could be required to wander in the corridors of the Fort in the next years.
Felindra always present in the treasure room
The mythical treasure room will always be guarded by the essential Félindra (Monique Angeon). If she will no longer have felines to fit into the cages, as in the past, she will continue to turn the tiger’s head to free the Boyars, as has been the case since 1991. At that moment, a statue of tiger will come to life and watch the well, as the candidates, specifies the production at the HuffPost.
The presence of tigers in the treasure room had been questioned by journalist Hugo Clément. He had taken advantage of his participation in the TV game in August 2020 to claim a version of the show without animals.
“Tigers don’t belong behind bars in the middle of the ocean and reptiles or insects are not objects I want to play with,” he said at the time.
For now, only tigers have been removed from the game. Snakes, rodents and insects will still be present this year. Asked about the possibility of replacing other animals with animations similar to those of tigers, the production indicates that they have not yet studied the subject for the moment.
See also on The HuffPost: This documentary on Fort Boyard shows the incredible construction of the fort