Grab some cake and get ready to feast your eyes on a new PBS series centered around the legendary Marie Antoinette. Dropping on March 19, the scripted period drama will tell the captivating and timeless story of the last queen of France. Starring Emilia Schüle (Berlin Dance School) as the titular historical icon, the series will also star Bridgerton’s Louis Cunningham as the dauphin-turned-King of France, Louis XVI.
Marie Antoinette will focus on the younger years of the future queen’s life just as she’s betrothed to the young Louis XVI. Just a teenager, Marie wants to enjoy her life and not give into the complexities of adult politics and duties that include child-bearing to continue the family name. Seen by some as a rabble-rouser and to others as a much-needed breath of fresh air, Marie Antoinette’s feminist leanings and free spirit will lead her to make some steadfast friends, and even more dangerous enemies. As she tries to break away from the cookie-cutter image forced upon her and mold Versailles into the palace of her dreams, her naysayers will do anything in their power to stop her.
Along with Schüle and Cunningham, the series will also star Marthe Keller (Marathon Man) as Marie Antoinette’s mother and the empress of Austria, Maria Theresa. Joining the leading trio will be an ensemble that includes Jack Archer (Call the Midwife), Gaia Weiss (Vikings), James Purefoy (Rome), Oscar Lesage (Dangerous Liaisons), Jasmine Backborow (Shadow and Bone), Roxane Duran (Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris), Caroline Piette (Beats Per Minute), and Crystal Shepherd-Cross (Chronicles of the Sun).
In the past, Antoinette has been the subject of many Hollywood features including Sofia Coppola’s colorful and decadent 2006 film, Marie Antoinette. The movie boasted a call sheet that included Kirsten Dunst as the title character with Jason Schwartzman playing Louis XVI. Not your run-of-the-mill period piece, Coppola’s film had a killer soundtrack that featured iconic artists such as New Order, The Cure, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
PBS’ eight-episode series was created and penned by The Favourite co-writer Deborah Davis with Pete Travis and Geoffrey Enthoven directing. Claude Chelli, Stéphanie Chartreux, Margaux Balsan, and Deborah Davis executive produce.
You can check out PBS’ latest period drama when the first episode of Marie Antoinette arrives on all PBS platforms on Sunday, March 19. Check out the trailer for Coppola’s reimagining of the tale of Antoinette below and keep scrolling for the official synopsis for Marie Antoinette.
Here’s the synopsis:
Marie Antoinette is just a teenager when she leaves Austria to marry the dauphin of France. When she arrives at Versailles, she must obey the numerous and complex rules of the French court. The princess quickly suffers from not being able to live her life the way she wants, while her mother, the empress of Austria (Marthe Keller, “Marathon Man”), keeps pushing her to continue the Bourbon line and thus secure the alliance between the two countries. However, faced with Louis’ avoidant and solitary character, the mission turns out to be more complicated than expected. As defamatory pamphlets and persistent rumors about her private life undermine her status, her opponents within the royal family will do everything they can to bring her down.