Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Diane de Poitiers: Big Stars on the Small Screen

Fans of sixteenth century France, rejoice! A new miniseries about Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of King Henri II, is currently under production for France 2. Filmed on location at the Château de Septmonts near Soissons and various châteaux of the Loire, the cast features superstars of the French silver screen.

Photo credit: Georges Biard

Isabelle Adjani, who played Marguerite de Valois in the 1994 film La Reine Margot, stars in the title role as Diane de Poitiers.

Photo credit: Siebbi

Gérard Depardieu, a fixture of French historical drama (Germinal, Vatel, Le Retour de Martin Guerre) plays the seer Nostredamus.

Photo credit: Georges Biard

Samuel Labarthe (De Gaulle, La Forêt) portrays François I;

Photo credit: L.helas

Hugo Becker (Leonardo, Osmosis), François's son Henri II.

Photo credit: Georges Biard

Virginie Ledoyen (Les Misérables, Notre Dame) plays the part of François's mistress, Anne de Pisseleu, Duchesse d'Étampes.

Photo credit: Georges Biard

French rapper and actor JoeyStarr participates as the comte de Kervannes;

Photo credit: Georges Biard

Guillaume Gallienne (Cézanne et moi) has been cast as the famous surgeon Ambroise Paré.

Didier Ducoin, author of major television movies including Les Misérables, The Count of Monte Cristo, Balzac, and Napoléon, has penned the screenplay. Josée Dayan, of blockbuster TV series Dix Pour Cent fame, directs the miniseries. Anne Holmes, director of French fiction at France Télévisions, sees Diane de Poitiers as a "free, modern, feminist woman" who "incarnates certain of today's values." Although knowledge of the details of Diane's life remains limited, power, love, drama and jealousy--elements TV audiences gobble up--combined to produce her "exceptional destiny." The story of Diane's decades-long hold over the much younger king and her rivalry with his wily wife Catherine de Medici is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Filming runs through October, with broadcast planned for next year. Let's hope a streaming service quickly picks it up for diffusion to English-speaking audiences.

(Information for this post comes from Le Point, "Isabelle Adjani dans la peau de Diane de Poitiers.")

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