A daring bet on a jaw-dropping theme! Runaway, broadcast this Thursday at 9:05 p.m. on TF1, a miniseries in six episodes, adapted from the successful eponymous Canadian television series in twenty episodes, tells the descent into hell of Lea (the revelation Romane Jolly). This uneventful 16-year-old girl is going to fall into prostitution under the influence of an older man. “It takes daring to do that. It’s even crazy enough to think that the question of teenage prostitution will be asked on TF1, the first French channel, in prime time. I myself am surprised ”, greets Michaël Youn, who plays Léa’s father, whom 20 Minutes met during the last La Rochelle TV Fiction Festival. Why runaway will give many parents insomnia?
“It’s very difficult not to be touched, whether you are parents, teenagers, children or grandmother by this story and the way it is told”, estimates the actor. At the start of the miniseries, Léa appears as a studious young girl, passionate about dance, surrounded by attentive and loving parents (Sylvie Testud and Michaël Youn) and a grandmother (Fanny Cottençon). “It can happen to anyone, to any family. I liked the idea that it was a normal family, with love, dialogue, but also a family with unspoken, anger, stumbling blocks ”, comments Michaël Youn.
“Lea prostitutes herself on escort sites that do not verify age”
Through Léa’s journey, the series focuses on the classic themes of adolescent discomfort and the difficulty of communicating with parents, but brought up to date. The series thus addresses the issue of easy access to pornographic images and the devastating role of social networks. Michaël Youn, father of a family in the city as on the screen, is worried like many parents: “I watch my children and the screens a lot. I have found that my 10 year old daughter is three clicks away from unwittingly watching porn. What can we do ? “
In Runaway, Léa’s life turns into a nightmare when she meets Nico (Willy Cartier), an older rapper with whom she falls madly in love. Not realizing the manipulation of which she victim, she will sink into prostitution barely four months later. A story that recalls that of this Brussels gang, suspected of having “bought” and prostituted a 16-year-old French teenager, who would have been sold for the sum of 2000 euros by her own boyfriend. Among the suspects were two rappers from the Brussels scene, Le You and Aze2dine.
“With digital, nothing disappears. You have to take responsibility for all that when you grow up ”
How can this young girl, well in all respects, sink like this? “There are more and more young women, who sell their nude photos on the Internet, who are paid per click. There is only one step before prostitution. And with digital, nothing disappears. You have to take on all that when you grow up, ”emphasizes the actor. And to deplore: “We do not realize it, it has become so easy and simple. There is no longer a moral problem with that. “
“Léa prostitutes herself on escort sites which do not verify age, which make money with minors who sell their bodies!” Before the police arrested pimps in the street, today, how do you go looking for someone stashed in Palo Alto who is making hundreds of millions online? “Asks Michaël Youn, who” really militates for the end of anonymity “on the Internet.
“Stéphane is nourished by how I will react in this situation”
To camp Stéphane, the father of Runaway, Michaël Youn did not seek inspiration very far. “There are two ways of approaching a character, either you build it, you imagine it a way of speaking, an approach, a psychology, a family environment, or, as was the case here, you see that it is 25-30 cm from you, in this case, you pull it towards you, ”explains the actor.
Michaël Youn spoke a lot with the director Jérôme Corniaud, with he already shot the film Crossing, the story of a father who is looking for his missing daughter. “Stéphane is nourished by how I will react in this situation”, relates the actor. In the scenario, it was initially planned that the parents would go to look for their daughter in a brothel in Brussels armed with a tear gas canister, in the series, a gun: “I said to Jérôme ‘Me, if my daughter disappears, I go look for it in Brussels with a hunting rifle not a tear gas canister ”, remembers Michaël Youn.
The first two episodes of Runaway are broadcast this Thursday as part of a special evening presented by Harry Roselmack, and will be followed at 11:10 p.m. by an unreleased documentary entitled Prostitution: teens in danger. “I would like this series to raise awareness,” hopes Michaël Youn, especially “among young people. This series is not going to change the world, but it opens a dialogue ”. And to conclude: “It’s rare that I am so happy to have taken part in a project. I am very proud to speak about it. It’s a necessary story. “