At the heart of the filming of the Disney + series “The Missing from the Station”

At the heart of the filming of the Disney + series “The Missing from the Station”
At the heart of the filming of the Disney + series “The Missing from the Station”

Immersion on the huge set installed at a breeder in Montbazin for the Disney + series “The Missing from the Station”.

An old vintage black Citroën in a huge field of tall grass and a large lavogne in the middle. The land set in a green basin opens majestically onto the Mediterranean. This exceptional site on the Mas d’Antonègre estate on 600 ha in Montbazin, was chosen for the filming of the six-episode series “The missing from the station”.
Between the end of the 90s and until the 2000s, in Perpignan, in the station district, Tatiana Andujar aged 17 and several other young girls disappeared. Three will be found murdered. For 20 years, three investigators will hunt down the serial killer.

The Disney + series (release 2025) retraces this case from the point of view of the victims and their families’ fight for the truth. In particular that of Tatiana, whose body has still not been found, while the killer of several victims, Jacques Rançon, has been convicted. Mélanie Doutey plays the young girl’s mother, Marie-Josée Andujar and Patrick Timsit plays Félix Sabueso, an off-the-charts investigator, recalled to this extraordinary affair.
After three weeks of filming in Perpignan last April, the film caravan set up its projectors in Hérault in June. Between Montpellier, Sète, Balaruc and Montbazin (read below). This Thursday, June 12, the day is devoted to several outdoor scenes, including a reconstruction of a crime scene near a farmhouse, in a bucolic setting.

Three months of filming between Perpignan and Sète, with a four-star cast

Filming for the Disney+ series is coming to an end. It lasted almost three months. After Sète, Montpellier and Montbazin, the actors made a final stop in Balaruc to film scenes at the edge of the pond. After three weeks in Perpignan between March and April, the teams in the series chose Hérault, particularly for certain outdoor atmospheres.
The department was also strategic for producers. “It was well placed compared to the many studios present in the department thanks to series like DNA. There were quite a few technicians”, indicates Jeanne Granveaud, the production director. At the beginning of April, they took over the Pub at Maryse and Lulu in Sète, to produce scenes in a vintage 90s setting with Patrick Timsit who plays a police officer in the story. In the cast, Mélanie Doutey who plays the role of Tatiana’s mother, Hugo Becker, a police officer like Patrick Timsit, Camille Razat (Emily in Paris) and Kévin Azaïs. Finally, Ludovic Berthillot will play Jacques Rançon, the station killer.

“We had to recreate a lot of sets from the 90s”

Jeanne Granveaud, the production director, guides us on set. She talks about one of the challenges of filming: “Our series began in 1997, so we had to recreate a lot of things, like the Perpignan police station, the costumes, the police cars. The furniture was sometimes found abroad. We scoured the resource centers, the junkyards. attics, calls on specialized professionals”.
Under an already overwhelming sun, in front of the camera, actor Kévin Azaïs, who plays one of the police officers. A few meters away under a black tent, surrounded by technicians kept silent, Virginie Sauveur the director is in turmoil, behind her monitor (read below).

Director Virginie Sauveur: “This series can perhaps shake things up”

How did you experience this shoot?

This is the longest of my life. I am directing all six episodes of the series. I had already made a mini-series for Arte called “Virage Nord” (a news item in the world of football, Editor’s note). There we shoot for 72 days without a break. The greatest responsibility on this project was towards Tatiana Audujar’s family. They agreed to use their real first and last names. For Tatiana Andujar, who has disappeared since 1995, there is still no answer (the file was sent to the cold case center in Nanterre). Maybe this series can shake things up. In any case so that we don’t forget Tatiana.

What prompted you to accept this project?

I am passionate about news. I’m even obsessed with it. I watch all the Bring in the Accused, Additional Investigations, etc. I’m interested in ordinary characters who do monstrous things. As in the Johnattan Daval affair. Understand how we suddenly commit horror. Ransom (serial killer convicted in the Perpignan missing persons case), psychological misery is at the heart of his personality. This series also tells the story of the evolution of the police. We scan a period which goes from 1998 to 2014. In the meantime, there was DNA, the progress of the SRPJ. There was only one computer at the beginning. So we see how modernity has entered police stations.
And then we also have a police heroine in a masculine world, quite misogynistic who will succeed in being accepted by the group. It’s a case where the cops are slipping but they are committed to the point of sometimes losing their family life. No matter how much they search, because they will travel across France, it is only with DNA that they will find Jacques Rançon. Even though they had already questioned him.

How did you research the case?

I already knew it by heart. But when I watched the first Bring in the Accused, Ransom wasn’t yet on the radar. This case was the Bermuda Triangle. Everyone thought Andres Avelino Palomino Barrios was the culprit, but no. There could have been a potential miscarriage of justice.

How do we approach such a heavy story for a platform like Disney +?

We don’t work like we do for Arte or Canal +. We create entertainment with a true story, a terrible news item, it’s a challenge.

A team of scouts

“I can’t stop! That look on Kévin is beautiful”, she blurted out after the take. It’s in the box. Franck Martins returns his weapon and his badge to a props specialist. He is a real cop, formerly of the PJ of Lille, retired since 2022, become police technical advisor on the series. “I started on HPI, since then I’ve done a few others. And sometimes I’m given a small role”. It’s almost 3 p.m., lunch time. In the afternoon, the cameras will be installed in the sheepfold, where owner Richard Saltel’s sheep generally rest. “It was thanks to our team of location scouts that we found the location,” confides Jeanne Granveaud. “We were offered sites for the decor and the director came to see and chose. There we really fell under the spell of this natural cistern decor, on our first visit in October 2023. But this should not have too much impact on the activity of the owner who has a breeding farm”.

“I have incredible luck”

Richard Saltel raises a herd of 900 animals on these lands. He regularly receives filming.“I had the chance to know a few actors like Gérard Lanvin or to eat with Romane Bohringer. She is incredibly kind. I saw these people at the Césars. So I am incredibly lucky”. He has been receiving beautiful people since Covid. “DNA shot for six days. It was huge. They wanted a scene in a cave. I have one. But they ultimately decided to create a fake one!” The breeder now collects anecdotes about the 7th art: “I saw them make a polystyrene rock. I really believed it! On the set of DNA, the production spotted my 4X4. I offered to clean it, they told me “absolutely not”! Last January, for “Balle perdu”, they flew a helicopter, it was really tip-top!”

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