Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Billionaire wife Jackie Siegel was on hand this morning for Bravo’s panel promoting the April 29th premiere of the surprise box-office hit doc The Queen Of Versailles, the DGA Award-nominated feature from photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield that made its original mark at the 2012 Sundance Fest. (The film earned Greenfield that festival’s best director prize.) Greenfield said the film wound up at Bravo by design and that selling to Magnolia Pictures for theatrical and Bravo for TV was “our dream scenario.” It traces the story of Jackie and David Siegel, who are building their outrageously ostentatious dream home in Florida when the economy crashes in 2008. The home, modeled after France’s famed Palace of Versailles, was to be 90,000 square feet and include 10 kitchens, a bowling alley, a 6,000-square-foot master suite, two tennis courts and a roller rink. It’s designed to be the largest home in America, dwarfing even the famed Spelling estate. The film left the impression that construction might be permanently derailed. But Jackie Siegel assured this morning in Pasadena that it’s back on track. Construction resumed four months ago, and the plan is now to have the first phase completed in two years in time for her husband’s 80th birthday.
Siegel maintained that The Queen Of Versailles was somewhat misleading in that it left the impression the project was hopelessly dead. “The moral of the movie was to live within your means,” she said. “And that’s what my husband learned. But I need to add that things on the house are going great, Versailles is totally paid off — we pay it off with each phase of construction — and we even gave everyone (working on the house) raises this year.”