“We’re showcasing how the Brits do this”: The cast of Ten Percent on the English remake of comedy-drama Call My Agent!
Call My Agent! was the French sitcom that caught the imaginations of streaming audiences around the globe for its hilarious peek behind the curtain of the showbiz world, from the perspective of workers at a boutique talent agency desperately trying to keep their A-list and not-so-A-List actors happy. Its popularity has since spawned multiple remakes in other languages – the product of which on UK shores is Ten Percent, a more direct translation of the original French title Dix Pour Cent, alluding to the cut the agency takes a commission on the earnings of its celebrity customers.
There’s always some controversy around remaking films and series, not least when they are remade in another language (as Parasite director Bong Joon-ho famously pointed out, is a one-inch-tall line of subtitles really that much of a barrier to enjoying a film in its original tongue?), but also when they are transplanted to another setting, particularly where culturally specific humour is at stake. Take the American remake of Ricky Gervais’s The Office: it was assumed to be just too British in its DNA to ever make sense in a USA context – but it was a runaway success.
So, for Ten Percent, the pressure is on for it to prove the need for its existence. Thankfully, in the hands of W1A and Twenty Twelve writer John Morton, it seems to have managed to tread a careful line between capturing the quick-witted essence of the original and injecting homegrown references and a generous dollop of oh-so-English self-deprecating comedy. It also benefits from a line-up of veteran British talent in Jack Davenport, Jim Broadbent and Maggie Steed, who lead a brilliant ensemble cast. The highly-anticipated cameos don’t disappoint from the outset, with Helena Bonham-Carter and Kelly Macdonald putting in gung-ho performances as versions of themselves.
Though diehard fans of the French show might not be calling out for a British version, Ten Percent arguably stands alone as a genuinely funny satire of a side of the entertainment industry we are not usually privy to, while not shying away from its darker sides, be it the pressure on women to maintain their youthful looks to land roles or the merciless and fickle nature of fame.
The Upcoming had the chance to chat with the cast of the series ahead of its launch. Prasanna Puwanarajah and Lydia Leonard explained a bit about their characters, Rebecca and Dan, and the appeal of being involved with the show.
Hiftu Quasem and Harry Trevaldwyn, who play Misha and Ollie, gave some insight into the fun they had on set.
Rebecca Humphries and Maggie Steed, who play Julia and Stella, also shared their reflections on the themes the series touches upon.
Ten Percent is released on Amazon Prime Video on 28th April 2022.
Watch the trailer for Ten Percent here: