Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Les Liaisons on film

Many people know Les Liaisons Dangereuses from the Oscar winning film released in 1988. Called Dangerous Liaisons and directed by Stephen Frears, the film featured Glenn Close as the Marquise de Mertuil and John Malkovich as the Vicomte de Valmont. The film script was also written by playwright Christopher Hampton, who basically adapted the stage version to the screen, but did make some changes to the story. 

Some fun trivia about that film: 

- Sarah Jessica Parker was originally offered the role of C├ęcile but turned it down. 

- Michelle Pfeiffer was offered the role of the Marquise de Mertueil in Valmont but she chose to play Mme de Tourvel in this film instead. 

- Alan Rickman, who played Vicomte de Valmont in the Broadway version, was offered to reprise the role for the film, but turned it down to make Die Hard, which was released a year later. 

- Annette Bening was considered for the role of the Marquise de Merteuil and ended up playing that role in the film Valmont

- This was Keanu Reeves' first major film role as Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was released a year later. 

Madonna wore one of Michelle Pfeiffer's costumes from the film at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards during her 18th century themed performance of 'Vogue'. 



Dangerous Liaisons won 3 Oscars for Best Art Direction - Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, and Best Screenplay (adapted). It garnered 4 other nominations for Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as Best Music - Original Score and Best Picture. It won 2 BAFTA awards - Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Best Screenplay - Adapted.

A year later, a film version entitled Valmont, was released, and featured Colin Firth as Valmont and Annette Bening as Mertuil. This was Ms. Bening's first major film appearance. Valmont was directed by Milos Foreman and was only nominated for 1 Oscar, and that was for costume design.

Ten years later, a version centered around rich American high school children appeared on film under the title Cruel Intentions. The film featured a number of rising teen stars, including, Ryan Phillipe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Reese Witherspoon among others. The movie made enough money to spawn not one but TWO additional films - one a prequel, the other following a college age cousin of Mertuil.

More recently, in 2012 there was actually a Chinese version of Dangerous Liaisons. It featured Ziyi Zhang (from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as essentially Madame Tourvel. You can see a trailer for it here, as it's pretty interesting to watch:


There was also a contemporary version filmed in 1959 called Les liaisons dangereuses that involved seduction at a ski resort. Because I guess in the '50s that's where the ultra rich would play.

Which version/s have you seen? Did you prefer it to the stage version? If you've seen the Glenn Close version, were you surprised by how the ending differed?

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