‘Marie’ docudrama to air on France 2

TV version differs from Coppola film

PARIS — A year after Sofia Coppola’s Cannes-selected “Marie Antoinette,” France’s queen is getting the TV treatment.

“Marie Antoinette,” a e3.5 million ($4.6 million), 90-minute docudrama will air in primetime on pubcaster France 2, probably on or around Bastille Day, July 14.

Show was produced by GMT’s Jean Pierre Guerin, the man behind such high-end Gallic fiction as last year’s Euro miniseries “Napoleon,” and co-produced by Canadian Emergence. Canuck Yves Simoneau helmed from a script by Jean-Claude Carriere.

“We couldn’t compete with Coppola in budgetary terms, but nor were we aiming to when we began this project before the feature film came out,” Guerin says. “The Coppola film is about youth, and although it is entertaining and wonderful to look at, there isn’t much of history.

“We try to explain, with as much historical accuracy as possible, how a woman who had been so loved by the French ended up having her head cut off in the guillotine.”

The predominantly voice-over docudrama covers the years between her arrival in France in 1770 to her execution in 1793, during the French Revolution.

Action takes place in parts of Versailles that have never been filmed before, including the queen’s bedroom. But the Canuck thesps never set foot in the palace. Versailles footage was used as a backdrop for action shot against a green background in Canada studios. Canuck Hybrid did the f/x. For added authenticity, Marie Antoinette expert Chantal Thomas was a consultant.

Guerin hopes the drama makes a splash. “Marie Antoinette is a legend like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana. There is a continuing fascination with her and a desire to understand what really happened to her.”

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