“It’s about ambition and desire”

Harriet Warner, creator of “Dangerous Liaisons,” said she was initially wary of the show.

“Because I was thinking of an adaptation, it has [already] done… So I really wanted to be sure that there was something new to say or a new way to take the novel through,” she told the Post.

Warner, also known for Tell Me Your Secrets and The Alienist, found a new take on Dangerous Liaisons after revising Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ 1782 novel of the same name.

Airing Sundays (8pm on Starz) and already renewed for a second season, Dangerous Liaisons is a drama set in Paris in 1783 and follows young lover Pascal Valmont (Nicholas Denton), a impoverished cartographer who was cut off from his inheritance and sex worker Camille (Alice Englert). The book on which it is based follows the characters when Camille is a Marquise and Valmont a Viscount, while the former lovers-turned-rivals find pleasure in ruining those around them.

Camille (Alice Englert) and Valmont (Nicholas Denton) in "Dangerous romances" almost kissing while wearing white 19th-century wigs.
Camille (Alice Englert) and Valmont (Nicholas Denton) in Dangerous Liaisons.
Dusan Martincek
Pascal Valmont (Nicholas Denton) in "Dangerous romances" look at a map.
Pascal Valmont (Nicholas Denton) in Dangerous Liaisons.
Dusan Martincek

“They are amoral and wonderfully corrupt, but I would love to go on this journey to see how we made enemies of these two people who were once passionate lovers and also how they came into this world [of the elite]’ Warner said. “So let’s go through the character of Camille to understand how she becomes this extraordinary iconic Marquis de Merteuil of the novel and the novel [1988] movie, I thought, ‘Yes, we have something here.’”

Dangerous Liaisons was also adapted into a 1988 film starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman, and Cruel Intentions, the infamously modernized 1999 story starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Philippe. and Reese Witherspoon.

Valmont (Nicholas Denton) in "Dangerous romances."
Valmont (Nicholas Denton) in Dangerous Liaisons.
Dusan Martincek
Camille (Alice Englert) in 18th-century Paris "Dangerous romances"  To go upstairs.
Camille (Alice Englert) in 18th-century Paris in Dangerous Liaisons.
Martin Mlaka

“I did [re-watch them]. I watched the novel first and then the Christopher Hampton film because I think that’s the landmark adaptation,” Warner said. “And I wanted to stay true to that era. I’m very aware of Cruel Intentions and other iterations, but I didn’t want to get too close to any of them…really, it was an attempt to find that essence [of the story] within the book.”

Warner said she also drew inspiration from history, as the French Revolution took place in 1789, just a few years after the novel was published.

Camille (Alice Englert) a "Dangerous romances."
Camille (Alice Englert) in Dangerous Liaisons.
Dusan Martincek
Pascal Valmont (Nicholas Denton) is holding a large scroll "Dangerous romances."
Pascal Valmont (Nicholas Denton) is a cartographer on Dangerous Liaisons.
Martin Mlaka

“I wanted to read the novel, but also read what it meant when it was published…it’s always cited as one of the reasons for the revolution in France. People read what they believe to be the real behavior of the Ancien Regime,” she said.

“I was very interested in the world of sex workers in 18th-century Paris. I was interested in the way the early formation of what would later become the police, and how so much was banned and censored… All of this is reflected in a deeply divided society. Paris was so fascinating back then. This is a story that will always be that oscillating relationship with Camille and Valmont. We are following her ride, and we are in a world that we know is moving towards great changes historically. So there is a natural drive and a natural structure. Everything gets bigger in Season 2 – the missions, the world. It’s about ambition and desire that gets even hotter.”

https://nypost.com/2022/11/16/dangerous-liaisons-creator-on-new-starz-show-its-about-ambition-and-desire/ “It’s about ambition and desire”

Emma Bowman

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