Legal thriller “Disobey” finds urgency in landmark abortion case

Premiered in Series Mania’s International Panorama section, the Quebec limited series Disobey treats the docudrama as an urgent thriller, finding echoes of suspense in the run-up to the 1980s, when women across Canada are guaranteed abortion rights.

With the visual glamor that has become a trademark for Montreal-based Also Productions, the premium six-part drama follows the true case of Chantale Daigle (Éléonore Loiselle), a 21-year-old woman who turns against an abusive ex-partner and two Injunctions followed, eventually leading to a Supreme Court ruling granting Canadian women bodily autonomy. And all of this in just a few weeks.

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“For us it was important [to hit that urgency], because that is exactly what happened,” says Also founder Sophie Lorain. “Chantale has gone through three tiers of courts and all the way to the Supreme Court in less than two months. As a child grew within it, these gentlemen conversed, undecided whether a fetus had personality. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking for her.”

Written by Isabelle Pelletier and Daniel Thibault and directed by Also co-founder Alexis Durand-Brault, Disobey moves along two parallel timelines, one following the young woman emancipating herself from both an abusive partner and a declining legal authority one looks back a year to see how Chantale got into this initially toxic relationship with the manipulative Jean-Guy Tremblay (Antoine Pilon, of “Matthias & Maxime”).



“Because this is a story about domestic violence and harassment, we had to put people first,” says Lorain. “Chantale was a young girl in love, overcome with naivety and with a full and open heart. And if Jean-Guy was manipulative, he was also very open at first, very charming. Of course you could see what was coming.”

With the results of the case just a simple Wikipedia away, the creative team wanted to play with the uncertainty of the moment while creating a time-accurate setting that didn’t feel too caricatured, for lack of a better word.

“The 1980s wasn’t a very nice decade,” admits Lorain. “So we had to be very careful not to overdo it, because things could quickly end up looking like a late-night sketch. [Because if] This story happened very close to us, it’s resonating around the world right now.”

Founded in 2019 by Lorain and Durand-Brault, Also Productions has quickly become a leading provider of scripted drama in Quebec. At this year’s Series Mania, producers will also present “Mégantic” – which follows the aftermath of a 2013 oil spill in the town of Lac-Mégantic – as part of the Coming Next from Quebec Showcase, while they’ve just started production at home in the third season of The Sketch Artist.

A police drama created by Lorain and Durand-Brault, starring Lorain alongside acclaimed playwright Rachel Graton and Quebec native Rémy Girard (of The Barbarian Invasions and Incendies) sold in more than twenty territories worldwide. Global Series Network’s boutique VOD service, Walter Presents, has secured broadcast rights in the US and UK, while Lorain and Durand-Brault are currently developing an English-language remake.

“We’re trying to spread our wings,” says Lorain. “We want to appeal to a wider audience because we think we have the talent and the know-how. What we need now are international partners.”



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