The paranoid patient

French filmmaker Dany Boon is here to promote his new comedy, ‘Superchondriac.’

Danny Boon in ‘Superchondriac’. (photo credit: JEAN-CLAUDE LOTHER)
Danny Boon in ‘Superchondriac’.
(photo credit: JEAN-CLAUDE LOTHER)
We’ve all been there. Late at night, alone in front of the computer, browsing medical websites for possible explanations for that lingering cough or strange bump on the back of our arm. Does this make us hypochondriacs or just health-conscious human beings? “People are becoming more like hypochondriacs all the time, thanks to the Internet,” says comedian, actor and filmmaker Dany Boon. Seated at the front of a classroom at the Institut Francais on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, Boon takes a moment to reflect on his own tendencies towards hypochondria.
Boon is in Israel promoting his new movie, Superchondriac, which will be released internationally in the coming weeks. In the film, he plays the part of a neurotic hypochondriac named Romain, who pesters his doctor (played (Kad Merad) to madness.
“Of course it’s autobiographical,” laughs Boon. “I am a hypochondriac. I always thought that I had Parkinson’s disease because I have a little spasm above one of my eyes every once in a while. So I went to the doctor, convinced that he was going to tell me that I indeed had Parkinson’s. It turns out I just have a magnesium deficiency.”
Boon was born and raised in the Nord-Pas-De-Calais region in France. His affair with comedy began at the age of five, in an attempt to cheer up his mother. At 17, Boon hit the streets, performing as a mime for spare change. From miming he progressed to stand-up, creating one-man-shows.
“For most of my career, I was alone on stage,” he says.
At 36, Boon took his first leap into the film industry. His 2008 film Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis) broke French box office records.
“Film is very much a family affair. What I mean is that you need a whole group of people to make it happen,” he explains.
Regardless of the medium, Boon’s work is characterized by his ability to laugh with his audience about basic human topics.
“Laughter is a way to accept stupidity in life. You have to be human to laugh. I always speak about human topics. I choose things that are timeless and universal,” he says.
In Superchondriac, Boon is loony in a deeply relatable way. At once boyishly charming and selfpossessed, Roman is a character everyone has met somewhere, sometime.
Though this is his first work engagement in Israel, Boon is quite familiar with the country.
“I’ve visited five or six times in the past. My father-in-law lives here,” he explains.
Boon converted to Judaism 12 years ago for love. His third wife and mother of three of his five children, Yael Harris, inspired the change.
“I just recently discovered the golf course in Caesarea. It’s fabulous,” he says with a boyish grin, going on to list some of his other favorite spots in Israel, which include Eilat and Ramat Aviv.
‘Superchondriac’ opens in Israeli theaters on December 25. For more information, visit