In Sury-aux-Bois, go to Muriel Bec, who breeds animals, movie stars

Far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, invaded by screens and the concerns specific to humans, another world exists : quiet, green, rural, expensive. To find out, just go in Sury-aux-Bois.

In this Loiret village of just under 800 souls, located forty minutes from Orléans and 1-30 from Paris, an area of ​​about twenty hectareshome to more than 200 animals. A Noah’s Ark where about forty species live: dogs, cats, wolves, panthers, deer, stags, fallow deer, wild boar, squirrels, birds, elephants… Animals, wild or tamewhich has the special to burst the screen, in the cinema as on television.

Whether panthers or fallow deer, the animals, as visitors to the Sury-aux-Bois property discover, have many dogs. Pictures Christelle Gaujard

Muriel Beck holds the reins in this atypical center. For more than thirty years, this specialist in animal staging – as she defines herself because she dislikes the term trainer – has been training animals to achieve feats, facing the camera. She has more than thousand shots to his credit, including his friend Nicolas Vaniers: Belle and Sebastian, Skip school Where give me wings.

Link text A year after imprisonment: Muriel Bec has changed pace and created new projects in Sury-aux-Bois

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“Understand that they love them”

For a long time, Muriel Bec remained a lone wolf. “I fiddled with my animals in “pépèreland” mode”, smiles the one who has lived in Sury for eight years. But in 2015, the idea of ​​”Rendez-vous en terre animal” was born, a new concept aimed at open the doors of its domain to the public.

“Many people found it unfortunate that the site was only available to an elite of film professionals.”

The hyperactive therefore launches various unusual activities one weekend a month, such as discovering her wolf pack. With a credo that will never let go:

“Meet them to know them, know them to understand them, understand them to love them, love them to defend them.”

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic arrives and with it the interruption of filming. Stops a frantic race. Thanks to his brother’s help, the animal lover takes advantage of this break to devote himself to his domain Sury-aux-Bois.

She describes it like this his autobiography titled animalswritten with Virginie Jouannet and published last June:

“Sury is a completely renovated and enlarged house, surrounded by twenty hectares of land, where the enclosures flanked by their “dormitories” are offset, outbuildings, which contain a set with a blue background intended for filming, circulation corridors for the fiercest of our animals, horse boxes, a riding school, fenced meadows and a small forest where the animals can frolic as they please.”

Muriel Bec has published her autobiography, “Animal(e)”, written with Virginie Jouannet. Photo Christelle Gaujard

Respect for animals

In this space, where respect for animals is an essential value, Muriel Bec wants to “positively human presence. The loss of freedom is compensated by well-being and learning. There is no obligation – and especially no aggression?! –, only incentives and a good deal of complicity.”

This dog cuddling his trainer Mélanie Rabin, a mastiff, is none other than the one who plays Pupuce in the series With family, broadcast on M6. Photo Christelle Gaujard

Among the “meetings in animal land” offered in Sury-aux-Bois (from 140 euros), film study tour?; the discovery of the professions of caretaker and trainer; introduction to falconry?; the ride with the elephant Beiby?; the encounter with the felines?; or the climax of the performance, immersion with European wolves : Jen, Chem, Veen, Horst and Vlad. The stars of the film Mysterydirected by Denis Imbert and released last December, tells the story of a little girl from Cantal who likes a puppy who turns out to be a wolf.

By attending the preview of this feature film, the Lafon family, who live in this ward, became aware of the center founded by Muriel Bec. And would immediately find out. Élodie, Aurélien and their daughters slept in a hut, accommodation opened in July 2020 (from 340 euros), overlooking these wild but domesticated beasts. “The wolves sang at night. It was a beautiful sight,” they say with stars in their eyes.

From their lodge, guests can watch the animals being fed. Photo Christelle Gaujard

A sense of happiness enhanced by the immersion in which these Auvergnats participate, in the company of a dozen other people. two hours during which time stands still.

“They are not dogs”

Before entering an area of ​​two hectares, visitors carefully listen to the recommendations of the specialist, Jean-Yves Bouard :

“Don’t walk in front of them, stay together, don’t carry a bag, don’t drop anything on the ground. If they come towards you, don’t shout, don’t make a sudden gesture. Get carried away.

The animals get used to people quickly. They stare at them and approach them. Customers manage to photograph them, even iron them. But once again, Jean-Yves Bouard insists on caution: “They are not dogs.”While visiting the center, members of the public participate in animal training exercises, such as wolves, normally reserved for filming. Photo Christelle Gaujard

Muriel Bec’s team, who work with twenty employees and service providers, recovered the carnivorous mammals born in captivity when they were ten days old. As Jean-Yves Bouard explains:

“They are fearful animals. In the wild, their parents would have taught them to fear man. Since we are talking about acting wolves, we did just the opposite. We immediately set up immersions to get them used to the human presence, especially with the young actress from the movie Mystery, Shanna Keil.

During the entire course, the participants participate training exercises, usually reserved for filming, such as static mark positioning. Wolves obey.

The walk ends with an astonishing scene which was to forever mark those present. “Sit down and sing the cry of the wolf. We’ll see if they will communicate with you,” says the professional. Affirmative. For several minutes, now on the same level as them, the beasts navigate howling between the visitors. “Incredible”blow the latter.Among the activities offered by “Rendez-vous en terre animal”, a two-hour immersion with a pack of European wolves that starred in the movie “Mystery”. A walk that ends with a song with them. Photo Christelle Gaujard

For all these animals, who play in films, series or commercials, contact with the public is essential. “It drives them. Because there are often around thirty people behind the cameras”, he remembers Jean-Yves Bouard. His colleague Melanie Rabina dog specialist, agrees: “When we go to a set, we take the puppies so that they get to know the film equipment and that they feel positive.”

“The most beautiful film of my career”

As explained Muriel Beck“our method is to make them tame the Man. Everything is based on the relationship of trust established between humans and animals.” The owner of the Sury-aux-Bois estate has just finished shooting the film. next film by Luc Besson, titled Dog manthe story of a man broken by life who rebuilds himself thanks to the love of his dogs.

A long-term project that started in January, for which no less than 130 canines were hired. “A huge challenge. This is the first time I have toured with Besson. It is impressive. It is without a doubt the most beautiful film in my career,” says Muriel Bec.

The enthusiast is exhausted by this intense film adaptation comfort with his animals. As she writes in her autobiography: “The earth carries me, the animals speak to me and suddenly I feel, I understand, I am connected.”

Visitors can experience a blue screen movie set. Photo Christelle Gaujard

In the Loiret, push the gate to La Ferme du bonheur, which collects abused and abandoned animals

Anne-Laure Le Jan

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