Home » Eric Cantona portrayal of sensitive issue makes French TV debut

Eric Cantona portrayal of sensitive issue makes French TV debut

by Adam Leadbeater

Former Manchester United legend Eric Cantona hopes his TV film portrayal of a Rugby player who was raped will help raise awareness of child abuse in sport.

According to The Daily Star, the Old Trafford icon took on the role in Le Colosse aux Pieds d’Argile with the goal of offering support to the many young people often targeted by pedophiles within the world of sport.

Broadcast in select parts of Europe throughout 2022, the thought-provoking film has finally been released on French TV.

Cantona plays Frenchman Sébastien Boueilh, who was actually sexually assaulted in his early to mid-teens by a family associate while being driven home from training.

The TV drama took inspiration from Boueilh’s book that reflects upon his struggles also called Le Colosse aux Pieds d’Argile – or The Giant with Feet of Clay.

In the story, Boueilh meets another boy who is suffering abuse which ultimately leads him to face his own past and eventually confront his attacker.

France has been thrust into the spotlight in recent times with a series of scandals surrounding coaches from various sports including tennis, skating, swimming and football being accused of abusing young people.

One of the most high-profile cases involved Didier Gailhaguet, head of the National Ice Sports Federation for over two decades, who was forced to resign following accusations of rape within figure skating.

United’s famous No 7 became an actor following his retirement from football and says he sees his latest role as a ‘public service’ to shine a light on abuse in sport.

Cantona has expressed his desire for the film to be seen as a new way to speak to youngsters targeted by pedophiles in sports clubs.

“These torturers are very strong,” Cantona insists. “They are manipulators. They’re always the perfect guy, the real mate, the perfect uncle that no-one suspects.”

Boueilh has set up a charity that campaigns for victims of child abuse and even advised Cantona during this most recent performance.

“We want this film to be seen in the maximum number of homes and I think we have the ingredients for that,” Boueilh said.

It is now expected that further victims will emerge following the film’s availability on French TV and its importance has been recognised with a noteworthy French TV award win.


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