Asterix and the Actress is the 31st volume of the Asterix comic book series, by Albert Uderzo (story and illustrations).
The story starts with a few surprises: For Asterix and Obelix’ birthday party, their parents have decided to come from Condatum. Their mothers have already arrived, bringing a fabulous Roman sword and helmet as presents, and they immediately fuss about why their sons are still single; their methods to rectify the situation, however, bring little happiness to their offspring.
Meanwhile, however, Asterix and Obelix’ fathers – who run a ‘modernities’ store in Condatum – have inadvertently got themselves into a tight spot: an alcoholic legionary veteran (Tremensdelirius from Asterix and Caesar’s Gift) has pawned a helmet and a sword in their shop – the personal weapons of Pompeius, Caesar’s enemy, which are now in Asterix and Obelix’s possession. Of course, their rightful possessor wants them back, and to this end he employs one of his agents, Decurion Fastandfurious, and a gifted tragic actress named Latraviata. Disguised as Panacea, Obelix’s love interest, who is allegedly suffering from amnesia, Latraviata is to infiltrate the Gaulish village and retrieve Pompeius’s weapons.
However, the real Panacea and her husband Tragicomix soon discover that Asterix and Obelix’s fathers have been imprisoned by Pompeius, and they immediatedly travel to their village to warn their friends. On their way they run into Latraviata and Fastandfurious, who have left the village with Asterix and Obelix (who have not yet realized what was going on) in pursuit, and the game is exposed. Fastandfurious is “menhired”, Pompeius’s weapons are returned to the two friends (with some “slight” damage from menhir pressure), and Asterix and Obelix race to Condatum to free their fathers and to give Pompeius a run for his money. At the end of the story Latraviata is the first actress ever to receive an award for Outstanding Performance, which is believed to how the Academy Award was born.
- When Asterix and Obelix’s fathers warn Bogus Genius of their sons’ retribution, a legionary whispers that this is a “little quirk of theirs…they’re always quoting from that play, Waiting for Godotrix”, a reference to Samuel Beckett’s tragicomedy, Waiting for Godot.
- The award Latraviata receives parodies a César Award given by the French Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema (hence a golden Caesar). The first César Award for Best Actress was given to Romy Schneider in 1976 (who resembles Latraviata unmasked).
- This is the first time Asterix and Obelix’ parents have an appearance in the mainstream comic line.
- At one point in the story, Obelix hits Asterix in a temper. This is the first time he ever did this (though Asterix later repays the favour while in a hyperactive stupor).
- At the end of this book, Dogmatix finds a mate and has puppies, thus being way ahead of his two masters in getting a mate.
- In this book, Asterix and Obelix have a birthday on the same day. However, in the book Obelix and Co. and the live-action movie Asterix and Obelix take on Caesar, Obelix does not share a birthday with Asterix. This coincides with the retcon introduced in the short story Birth of Asterix, which was published in 1994, nearly 20 years after Obelix and Co., but seven years prior to Asterix and the Actress.
In other languages
- Catalan: Astèrix i Latraviata
- Czech: Asterix a Latraviata
- Dutch: Asterix en Latraviata
- Finnish: Asterix ja Latraviata
- German: Asterix und Latraviata
- Greek: Ο Αστερίξ και η Λατραβιάτα
- Italian: Asterix e Latraviata
- Norwegian: Asterix og Latraviata
- Polish: Asteriks i Latraviata
- Portuguese: Astérix e Latraviata
- Serbian: Астерикс и Латравијата