A New Adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons Is Coming to Starz

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Photo credit: Dusan Martincek
Photo credit: Dusan Martincek

If the long Outlander hiatus has got you craving a new sexy literary adaptation, you may want to take note. Starz—the network behind Outlander, Howards End, The White Queen and more—just announced that a reimagining of Dangerous Liaisons is on the way.

First published in 1782, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses is one of the most celebrated novels of its era. It follows two narcissistic young lovers turned rivals in pre-Revolutionary France, who ruthlessly seduce and manipulate those around them in their quest for power.

Alice Englert and Nicholas Denton will star as the central lovers, the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont. Per Starz's synopsis, the series is "a bold reimagining" of the novel, and will tell the origin story of how Merteuil and Valmont first meet as passionate young lovers in pre-Revolutionary Paris, and how they "rise from the slums of Paris and scale the heights of the French aristocracy, seducing and manipulating both the nobility and each other to survive." The series is pitched as "the story of a young woman who negotiates love, sex, class and power to navigate an oppressive, unjust establishment on the brink of collapse."

The series is created, written and executive produced by Harriet Warner, a writer for shows including Call the Midwife, The Alienist, and Mistresses, and this new adaptation has some big shoes to fill. Les Liaisons Dangereuses has been adapted numerous times, perhaps most notably for American audiences in the 1999 teen classic Cruel Intentions, which transposed the action into modern-day New York City. Stephen Frears also directed an acclaimed 1988 version, which starred John Malkovich and Glenn Close.

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