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Monday, April 22, 2024

Harriet Warner on ‘Dangerous Liaisons’: ‘I had to make sure there was something new to say’


Published since 1782, the epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, dangerous relationship (Dangerous Liaisons), has been adapted for stage, print, opera, television and film, including Stephen Frears’ dangerous relations (1988) starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman. cruel intentions (1999) moved the action to modern New York, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Selma Blair and Reese Witherspoon.

Now comes an eight-episode mini-series, dangerous relations, created by Harriet Warner and starring Nicholas Denton, Alice Englert and Leslie Manville, among others. When she joined the project, Harriet said she wanted to know what stories had prompted the various adaptations over 300 years.

300 years of obsession

“I came back to the book because I had to make sure there was something new to say, especially in the medium of television, where you have ample time to explore the characters, but there’s a group of extremely The scrutiny of a sophisticated audience.”

When Harriet read Lacrosse’s novel again, she was struck by these universal themes. “It’s about class, sexuality, power and desire, and ultimately about a woman navigating a man’s world in this remarkable, provocative love story. I thought, wow, those themes are still very relevant.”

Historically speaking, we live in a very different time, she said. “There’s a divide between rich and poor. Strangely enough, there’s still a real connection, politically and personally. That’s the power of eternity dangerous relations. Human nature is unchanged, so this novel still has such a great influence. “

Nicholas Denton as Pascal Valmont and Alice Englert as Camille in Dangerous Liaisons

Nicholas Denton as Pascal Valmont and Alice Englert as Camille in Dangerous Liaisons

contemporary line

Harriet wanted the show to be an authentic reflection of the era, and she wondered if she should go the modern route cruel intentions Or faithful to time. “The only thing I did to change the time was to move it back a little bit to the same time the book came out, about 20 years after the novel was set.”

Staying true to that era satisfies audiences, which she says offers an opportunity to escape into a very immersive world. “I didn’t want to use language that was out of place. Camille (Englert) has a modern feel to it because of her character. The words should feel as if we could extract them from a Laclos text that itself feels very Modern.” According to Harriet, there is an immortal energy to the whole piece.

Nicholas Denton as Pascal Valmont and Alice Englert as Camille in Dangerous Liaisons

Nicholas Denton as Pascal Valmont and Alice Englert as Camille in Dangerous Liaisons | Photo: Dusan Martincek

Attention to detail

When filming a historical drama, Harriet said she had to get every element right. “All the little details have to come together so that your end result is a world that stands up to scrutiny; one that makes you feel like you’re in it so you can connect with the characters and follow the emotions, A character-driven story.”

According to her, finding department heads who can bring that vision to life, directors who know how to shoot, and actors who feel like they’re wearing clothes rather than them, all contribute to an engaging experience.

mission statement

The 81st letter in the novel was chosen as the entry point for the series. “This is the mission statement of the show and of Camille. It was written by the Marquise de Meteuil to Valmont. In it, she describes herself as a construct. She creates a version of herself to manage an extremely rigid patriarchy among the nobility world.”

While reading it, Harriet felt that the Marchioness did not share the values ​​of that world. “It felt like she was trying to subvert them. In my reading of that letter, she didn’t feel like she was from that world. So, where did she come from? How did she come? Why didn’t she feel part of it? That It was so exciting because it occurred to me that maybe what we had was a prelude. I could explore the beginning of this love story.”

Harriet felt the letter provided a structure to the show. “It takes these characters from innocence to experience to the depravity of those characters that we meet in the novel. There is an end, but I want to go on this journey with them, so that I want the audience to connect with them ways to understand them and connect with them.”

Paris to Prague

Since 18th-century Paris no longer exists, she said Prague was chosen to represent the City of Light. “A lot has changed since the revolution. There were no maps of Paris at the time. It was in a chaotic creative phase. Prague gave us a close version, giving us a great look at Paris at the time when our scene builds were enhanced. Compared.”

Nicholas Denton as Pascal Valmont and Alice Englert as Camille in Dangerous Liaisons

Nicholas Denton as Pascal Valmont and Alice Englert as Camille in Dangerous Liaisons

With all the steamy scenes dangerous relations, the relationship coordinator’s job was canceled. “Intimate scenes are hard for everyone. It’s great for directors that they can focus on the story told through intimate scenes and not have to worry about the logistics.”

Harriet added that it was reassuring that the cast had a safe space. “The role of the Intimacy Coordinator is not just to coordinate the scene, but to make sure people feel heard and that they feel comfortable with what they are doing. We were lucky to find Ita O’Brien, who does a fantastic job and is key to the show. “

Dangerous Liaisons is currently streaming on Lionsgate Play


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