By: Valerie Milano
“At Ovation, we believe that art has the power to inspire us,” said Liz Jannemann, Executive Vice President of Network Strategy for Ovation at the TCA Press Tour held on Saturday, July 29th, 2017 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Jannemann, series producer Aude Albano, and four of the series stars (Anna Brewster, Jessica Clark, Suzanne Clement, and Elisa Lasowski) presided at the VERSAILLES panel.
According to Albano, “It was our creative desire and really our take on history to depict and defend women, female characters that were strong, and to make each one of them unique and singular and complex.” The women are the beating heart of VERSAILLES and make the story move forward in Season 2. They stand up and fight for what they believe in, for what they want to achieve in Versailles, and for themselves!
As Season 2 opens, the atmosphere of decadence has started to spread everywhere at Versailles. Queen Marie Thérèse (Lasowski) steps up and decides to take action against lead mistress Madame Montespan (Brewster), who is madly in love with the king and envied by all at court.
Princess Palatine (Clark), brought to Versailles from Germany, is brand new to Season 2. She has left everything behind and is set up to become the new wife of the king’s gay brother.
Palatine is an iconoclastic young woman who speaks her mind. Take it or leave it!
Madame Agathe (Clement), also brand new to Season 2, is a sorceress who creates potions and poisons. She sees poison as the only weapon that women have to survive in a very cruel and brutal environment. She is dangerous because she has no limits and is afraid of nothing and no one–a serial killer!
This epic tale was told in English rather than French to make it international enough to attract the level of funding necessary to put Versailles on screen. Showrunner David Wolstencroft famously said that if Louis XIV had been alive today, because he had such grand visions to take over the world, he would have wanted the show in English! (The scenes from the palace of Versailles truly must be seen to be believed, so this money was well spent).
Clark and Clement enjoyed joining the VERSAILLES
family for Season 2 just as the darker side started to emerge. All the women loved playing dress-up in the luxe period costumes.
“Palace intrigue” has of course become part of the American political landscape as well. International audiences may be locating parallels between Louis XIV, Trump, and Putin.
Perhaps that is why VERSAILLES has been so popular! The palace seemed like a 17th century Las Vegas packed closely with ambitious and self-serving people. But in fact it was a prison!
“That brings its own sets of madness,” Lasowski rightly observed. Clement added that the young souls of Versailles were ignited by the excitement of power.
The Halls of Mirrors reflect the psychopathic character of despots perfectly. Haute couture and haute cuisine also fed the grand visions of Versailles. Ballet and opera added to the opulence.
The men may have held the power, but Louis VIV liked to surround himself with strong-willed and witty women. Can so much passion be contained in one place, even one as elegant as ? We shall soon see! VERSAILLES