If you’ve seen the fabulous movie, Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis, then you’ve seen popular French comedian and filmmaker, Dany Boon at his finest.
In 1966, Daniel Hamidou was born to an Algerian Kabyle father and a French mother from the north of France. As a child, Dany spoke very little French. The language spoken at home was Chtimi, the dialect of Picard (Langue d’oïl).
Taking inspiration from the American TV series, Daniel Boon, he created the stage name of Dany Boon.
He started his career dubbing cartoons and performing as a mime in the street. In 1992, French television personality Patrick Sébastien gave him his first break. Dany was invited to perform his comedy act on the show.
He began to achieve notoriety with his sketches and his one-man shows before being offered several movie roles. The film Joyeux Noël made it on the international scene in 2005 and Dany was able to use his Chtimi accent to play the role of Ponchel.
Boon is deeply attached to his native region, Nord-Pas-De-Calais. In 2003, he made a whole show in the local dialect of ch’ti. Despite the use of dialectal language, 600,000 copies of the DVD (with French subtitles) were sold, making it the best-selling one-man show DVD in France.
In February 2008, he released a film Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis. The comedy based on prejudices about the region, was co-written and directed by Dany. He also starred in this delightful movie. The hilarious, heartfelt film went on to break French box-office records. Within just 23 weeks, it had been seen by 20.5 million people.
In 2008, Dany Boon was the highest-paid actor in European film history, netting 26 million euro.