Starz may not have another Phillipa Gregory adaptation coming anytime soon, but the network isn't letting go of its premium-cable period-piece mantle anytime soon. Between Becoming Elizabeth and The Serpent Queen, there is plenty of historical royalty and female rulers. Plus, the channel has finally set a release date for its long-gestating remake of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' famous novel Dangerous Liaisons, which was a hit film in the late 1980s. The series will arrive just in time for the weather to turn cold this November to heat the screen.
Initially put into production in 2013 with Christopher Hampton, who did both the stage show and the 1988 film adapting, the series was supposed to be a BBC co-production with Colin Callender (All Creatures Great and Small) executive producing. But after languishing in uncertainty for six years, the BBC finally dropped off the project. In 2019, Starz announced it would go ahead alone with the project with Harriet Warner (Call the Midwife) writing and showrunning. (Hampton is still attached but only as executive producer.)
After six years in development hell, Dangerous Liaisons slammed headfirst into pandemic production delays in 2020. But after the series got back on track with filming late last year, things are finally moving ahead, with Starz presenting the show as part of its fall slate at the Television Critics Association press tour. The series also included the show's first-look images and the full-length trailer. The network promised the new version would retell the classic story of Merteuil and Valmont "in a fresh way." The series will start the story as a prequel to the original novel, with the two as young lovers in the slums of Paris and tracing their rise through the French aristocracy via a series of schemes, manipulations, and betrayals.
Here's the series synopsis:
Dangerous Liaisons is a bold prelude of Laclos’ classic 18th century novel focusing on the origin story of how his iconic characters, the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, met as passionate young lovers in Paris on the eve of the revolution. This modern take on a classic story takes audiences through wonder and terror, beauty and degradation, seduction and deception in pre-revolutionary Paris. Driven to right the wrongs of their past, the young couple’s survival depends on their skills of seduction and manipulation of not only the French nobility but of each other. Camille who is taken in by the current Marquise de Merteuil navigates her own path in a world of men, using the power of secrets to take back control, and Valmont who will stop at nothing to regain the title that was recently taken from him. Their on-again-off-again love story is the heart of the series. It’s not love, it’s war.
The cast is pretty stacked with Alice Englert (Top of the Lake) as Camille, Nicholas Denton (Witches of Blackwood) as Pascal Valmont, and Kosar Ali (Rocks) as Victoire. Lesley Manville (Magpie Murders) plays Geneviève de Merteuil, Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones) is Jacqueline de Montrachet, Paloma Faith (Pennyworth) plays Florence de Régnier, Michael McElhatton (The Wheel of Time ) is Jean de Merteuil. The series also co-stars Nathanael Saleh (Letter for the King), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Black Sails), Lucy Cohu (Torchwood: Children of Earth), Fisayo Akinade (Heartstopper), Maria Friedman (In Deep), and Clare Higgins (The Sandman).
Dangerous Liaisons premieres on Starz linear network at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, and will follow a weekly release schedule. It streams starting the same day on the Starz streaming service.