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France Goes Hip-Hop as 'Les Lascars' Gets Feature Film

French suburban hip-hop culture is coming to the bigscreen in an all-star animated feature voiced by the likes of Diam’s, France’s biggest-selling pop artist, according to Variety. Voice talents include Diane Krueger, mistress of ceremonies at this year’s Cannes, and Vincent Cassel.

The movie is based on the cult TV series “Les Lascars” — which aired on MTV as “Round da Way.” The 30 episode, 1-minute length French show was an instant hit when it aired on Canal Plus seven years ago, but has grown to become an Internet phenomenon, with pirated Arab and Creole-language versions, as well as the original French and English versions, popular on sites such as YouTube. The show was the most watched program on Orange and SFR mobile phones last year, with more than 600,000 hits.

Another 30 one-minute episodes recently wrapped, with Cassel and Diam’s voices and characters in some episodes.

The voice recording for the €10 million ($13.5 million) film, directed by Albert Pereria Lazaro and co-directed by Emmanuel Klotz, includes improvised humor and is practically finished, with animation to begin this summer.

The film will be distributed by Bac Films, a subsidiary of French production company Millimages, with funding from Canal Plus and co-production by France 2.

Millimages had been trying to develop a 26-minute series and a movie for years, but the concept seemed too edgy for French broadcasters. Now, though, French suburban culture has spread to the mainstream — Diam’s single “Confessions nocturenes” and album “Dans ma bulle” were France’s best-selling records last year — with French kids who don’t come from the suburbs speaking in suburban slang, complete with the distinctive accent.

Personalities like Jamel, France’s leading stand-up comic and actor, have helped popularize suburban culture.

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