Starz has announced their prequel series called Dangerous Liaisons, a reimagining of the classic novel following a young Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, will be led by Alice Englert and Nicholas Denton, respectively. Set in Paris on the eve of revolution, Merteuil and Valmont will star as passionate young lovers, and, naturally, rise to up the ranks of the aristocracy through their favorite pastime — sexual and social manipulation.
Starz is the perfect home for a Dangerous Liaisons series, since they have a fantastic track record when it comes to sexy period pieces (Outlander and The Spanish Princess ringing a bell?). However, in this version of Dangerous Liaisons, Valmont seeks to regain his title that was previously stolen by his stepmother after the death of his father. Using his good looks to seduce and blackmail the court, he will betray anyone who stands in the way of his goals. Merteuil is a nobody with a mysterious past who gets caught up in Valmont’s games and is eventually betrayed by him, eventually seeking revenge upon him and the aristocracy.
Written in 1782, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ Les Liaisons dangereuses is a timeless tale of love, sex, deception and power in one of the most stylistic and resplendent periods in French history. It has famously been adapted twice on screen — the first being the 1988 film based on the play by Christopher Hampton, in which Merteuil and Valmont were played were by the deliciously tempting Glenn Close and John Malkovich. In 1999, a teen adaptation titled Cruel Intentions and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe as the same characters brought 18th-century France to the modern aristocracy of New York City private high schoolers.
Englert and Denton have a lot to live up to, as both versions of Merteuil and Valmont are quite iconic and distinct in their own ways. Englert is best known for playing Lena in Beautiful Creatures, and has recently appeared in The Serpent, Ratched and Top of the Lake. Denton may be a bit more unfamiliar to audiences, best known for playing Angus Fitzgerald in Glitch, an Australian paranormal drama.
The Starz series of Dangerous Liaisons is currently in pre-production in the Czech Republic, but you can currently catch the 1988 version and Cruel Intentions on HBO Max.