She was as nervous for this shoot as her character is fearless! In the series Around the world in 80 days, broadcast on France 2 and available on France.tv, Leonie Benesch embodies a character who does not really exist in Jules Verne’s masterpiece. The German actress, who lives in the UK, is just perfect in the role of Abigail Fix, the journalist follows and covers the adventures of Phileas Fogg (David Tennant) and Jean Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) around the globe.
To create the figure of Detective Fix in his novel, Jules Verne was visibly inspired, in a light tone, by the Javert des Miserable. In his novel, Fix is an English detective who will pursue Phileas Fogg in all the countries he crosses, believing that he is the author of a bank robbery.
“We wanted a strong female character”
In the France 2 series, no detective Fix, but a journalist, who happens to be the daughter of one of the friends of the club that Phileas Fogg attends. “Abigail Fix is our invention. We wanted a strong female character. As a reporter, she somewhat represents the public. When Phileas Fogg is rude to his hosts in India, she puts him back and reminds him of good manners. Putting forward your feminism serves us, both as a theme, but also to bring humor as when she balances “a woman needs a man as much as a fish needs a bicycle” “, Ashley Pharoah, the writer and co-creator of the series, tells about him that 20 Minutes met at the Canneséries festival.
Around the world in eighty days, Léonie Benesch has never read it. “Because of Abigail Fix! I know who the character was originally, but I didn’t read it because there were so many other things I wanted to sort out and I was pretty terrified. I really wanted to use the storyline as a basis for building the character. I didn’t want to have another model. But I’m going to read it, a friend of mine gave it to me, ”says Léonie Benesch.
“Every time I started to think about it, I wanted to throw up”
The actress, who appeared in the roles of Greta Overbeck in Babylon Berlin on Canal + and Cécile de Grecie in The Crown on Netflix, confides having ardently desired this role: “But it was the kind of role that I wanted so much that at the end of the long process of audition, every time I started to think about it, I wanted to throw up. . “
If the role of Abigail Fix is so dear to her heart, it’s because the new heroine of the Around the world in 80 days reminds him of those of his childhood. “She is exactly like the characters I admired during my childhood in Germany. I don’t know if you know Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, but Pippi Longstocking and Ronya, Brigand’s Daughter were my heroines, and Abigail Fix is the perfect combination of her daughters. Abigail Fix is in the lineage of these characters of strong women. So, yes, I wanted to play it with all the fibers of my body, ”she explains.
“I’m a little jealous of his insurance”
The actress particularly appreciates her fearlessness. “I’m a little jealous of the self-confidence with which she mingles with every conversation. I love it, although it’s very annoying, but I love it because I don’t do that. I tend to sit down and listen, if I don’t know a topic I don’t say anything, while she launches anyway, and I like her like that, ”says Leonie Benesch.
Abigail Fix is a sort of feminine Tintin, who vibrates in the field of her reports with much more enthusiasm. “She’s stubborn, she’s going, isn’t she?” , laughs his interpreter. And she finds out what happened and she writes her report… It’s probably far from the reality of journalism. If Leonie Benesch does not share the fearlessness of her character, no doubt she communicated her enthusiasm to him, with which we immediately empathize.