07.05.2002: Interview of Jean CHALOPIN at Japan Expo 2002
Is there a project for the Mysterious Cities of Gold series sequel? It is well under way?
Unfortunately no, not really. I was contacted by different people and the idea excited Deyriès Bernard and myself because he was our first Franco-Japanese "baby". It was a great adventure. Our relationships with people of NHK were quite extraordinary ... We found 50% of funding for this new series in Japan - which is not bad, anyway - but I found no French broadcaster. The Mysterious Cities of Gold 2 resumes the story where we left: they flight to the Northwest and there, the idea is that they stop in what was originally California and then they go through the Alaska to Japan, where they find the City of Gold. The script was written. It was accepted by the Japanese. Mitsuru Kaneko, who is now a professor at the University of Tokyo has recontacted people - because in the meantime NHK no longer existed - and found 50% of funding. I negotiated the copyright in New York - because you know the series was from a book - with the person who owns, because the author died by now. We agreed ... and then we came across a problem: French television has not kept pace. Yet I know many people but I had a cold reception: "It is nostalgia ..."," the public has changed ...". It has been a year since nothing appened. Yet there is a real potential. There is certainly room for a TV show with cartoons during one or two hours a week which could boost the production of series ...
And you can not produce without the French contribution?
No, without a French channel, the financial risk is too high and the project can not exist. The production is always like a house of cards: you built one side then if you do not build the other, everything collapses! We had prepared the project, we redid the bible, the development, Bernard has redraw all the pictures ... But here it is: we could not go further because there was no funding.
In your career, what series do you prefer?
There are two that I prefer to others: The Mysterious Cities of Gold and The Twins of Destiny (Les jumeaux du bout du monde, in France). Concerning The Twins of Destiny, I did everything by himself from one end to another. Concerning the Cities of Gold, I worked with the Japanese team. In both series, if you look closely, there is the idea of a world tour. In the Cities of Gold, they depart from Spain, they go to South America and then they come back to Japan. In the Twins of Destiny, they start from Marseille, they go to Switzerland and they go around the world, on the other side! It is a series that Dorothée (very famous french presenter) had support a lot. It is thought that Dorothée was a presenter. This is not true, it was someone who worked hard. When she believed in a project, she fought to broadcast it.