1707939214 IXE 13 and the Race for Uranium Quebec spies caught up

“IXE-13 and the Race for Uranium”: Quebec spies caught up in the Cold War that began in Montreal in 1945

The historical spy series IXE-13 and the race for uranium tells a little-known part of Quebec's history. At the end of World War II, the Cold War was born in Montreal as the Russians tried to solve the secret of the atomic bomb.

To achieve this, Stalin's men, well established in our country, were ready to do anything to obtain enriched uranium, a chemical element that the country then possessed.

IXE 13 and the Race for Uranium Quebec spies caught up

Marc-André Grondin shines in the role of former spy Jean Thibault, aka IXE-13. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CLUB ILLICO

This is the raw material for Club illico's new offering, a powerful and ambitious work that focuses on a critical moment in our history. We had just made peace, which had cost millions of lives, but another war was looming.

There are several reasons why we are fascinated by this fiction by Gilles Desjardins (Les pays d'en Haut, Mensonges), an author who conducts thorough research before telling stories. In particular, he consulted statements from former spies and interviewed some of them before their deaths.

In addition to the scenario full of twists and turns, there is the inspired direction of Yan Lanouette Turgeon and the photography direction with references to the film noirs of the 1940s, without forgetting the costumes, the hairstyles, the accessories – such as the hats, etc. – the cars – the taking us back to the mid-1940s. We believe in it because the series has a strong identity, even without the big money from Netflix.

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Julie Le Breton, Marc-André Grondin and Vincent Leclerc in a scene from the series. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CLUB ILLICO

Marc-André Grondin stands out

But above all, Marc-André Grondin, an actor of the highest level, plays the main role. The star of the films CRAZY and The Successor is in better shape than ever in this work whose tone is, to quote him, “between realism and comic strips.” He plays the role of the spy Jean Thibault alias IXE-13, who has returned traumatized from the war and, like his fellow misfortunes, is trying to build a new life far away from the bombs.

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David Savard, Hugolin Chevrette, Marc-André Grondin, Vincent Leclerc and Julie Le Breton on set. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CLUB ILLICO

When an incident occurs between the former spy Roxane Racicot (Julie Le Breton) – the secretary of the Foreign Minister and a knife expert – and her new husband, the singer Roland Renaud (David Savard), he doesn't care. He needs more than that the whole gang can return to work.

In addition to Thibault, who retrained as the manager of the Crystal Club in Red Light, and Racicot, the former commando counts in its ranks Marius Lamouche (Hugolin Chevrette) and Colonel Victor Laporte, who is head of the counterintelligence service. These veterans all eliminated Nazi generals during the war.

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Maxime Mailloux and Martin Dubreuil. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CLUB ILLICO

Gilles Desjardins took liberties when introducing Quebec Nazis, such as former soldier Rick Gallaher (Martin Dubreuil), who also wants to obtain enriched uranium to conquer the planet.

We are also fascinated by the character of Loulou (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie), a singer who is in reality a former soldier. The author was inspired by an American soldier who played a singer in smoky red-light cabarets (yes, cigarettes are omnipresent in the series for reasons of historical realism). We also like the music and the gadgets and other tricks typical of secret agents, such as the key hidden in a sole.

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Author Gilles Desjardins on set in November 2022. MARIO BEAUREGARD/AGENCE QMI

Gilles Desjardins created IXE-13 based on a real spy, he said on Tuesday on the sidelines of the screening of the first two episodes. This moves away from the original model developed by Pierre Daignault in his series “The Strange Adventures of Agent IXE-13”. At that time, more than 900 short novels were published, including the very first before the creation of a certain James Bond…

The first two of eight episodes will be released on Club illico on February 15th. Two more are added every Thursday.