‘Vikings’ Actor George Blagden to Play Louis XIV in ‘Versailles’

'Vikings' Actor George Blagden Play Louis

PARIS — “Vikings” thesp George Blagden is set to play Louis XIV in “Versailles,” the high-profile series directed by “Yves Saint Laurent” helmer Jalil Lespert for French pay TV network Canal Plus.

Repped by Zodiak Rights and produced by Paris-based Capa Drama, the English-language “Versailles” will also star Alexander Vlahos (“Merlin,” “Privates”), Dominique Blanc and Amira Casar. Completing the international cast will be Tygh Runyan, Stuart Bowman, Noémie Schmidt, Evan Williams, Anna Brewster, Sarah Winter, Anatole Taubman, Lizzie Brocheré, Elisa Lasowski, Maddison Jaizani, Peter Hudson and Gilly Gilchrist.

“Versailles” was created by Simon Mirren (“Criminal Minds”) and David Wolstencroft (“The Escape Artist”), who also serve as showrunners and exec producers on the series, along with Claude Chelli (“Braquo”) at Capa Drama and Anne Thomopoulos (“Rome,” “Borgia”). It’s co-produced by Fabrice de la Patelliere at Canal Plus Creation Originale, Capa Drama, Zodiak and Incendo.

The key crew is led by set designer Katia Wyszkop (“Saint-Laurent,” “Farewell My Queen”), costume designer Madeline Fontaine (“Amelie”) and cinematographer Pierre-Yves Bastard (“Maison Close”).

Series, comprising 10 one-hour episodes, opens in 1667. Louis is 28 years old and the sole commander of his kingdom following his mother’s death. Burdened by insecurity brought on memories of his childhood trauma — a bitter coup attempt known as “the Fronde” — he creates a trap at Versailles to ensnare and disempower the nobles who threaten him.

The first season sees Louis evolve from a young King into an absolute monarch, a 17th century rock star with the mind of Machiavelli.

The show also delves into Louis XIV’s ambivalent relationship with his younger brother, an openly gay warrior who was known as Monsieur, and the king’s affair with his sister-in-law, Henrietta of England, explained Claude Chelli, head of Capa Drama.

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  1. Susan says:

    I don’t think Athelstan will be dying. Michael Hirst has said again and again that Athelstan is the Vikings witness.
    I think it’s more likely to be Siggy, because she is the one character who has no historical significance.
    We who watch Vikings know what is in store for Rollo in France, & that’s bigger, better, & with someone who is French.

  2. Lenora says:

    I feel happy for the actor, he deserves all possible recognition, but I can’t even begin to express my sadness about Athelstan possibly and probably dying. I’m very fond of the character and I hope they found some way to keep our dear priest in the series. I don’t think I can go on watching Vikings without my favorite character in it. To quote Athelstan, “Mary, mother of God, listen to me. Do not let this man die!”. :(

  3. Anne says:

    So excited for this! Although, Variety, you might want to do a tiny bit of fact-checking before translating from a French article: Alexander Vlahos was in two separate series: “Merlin” and “Privates”, not a single series called “Merlin et Privates” (heaven knows what that would be about).

  4. OMG! NO! He is perfect as Athelstan on Vikings! Love Athelstan so much! This is terrible news for Vikings! Athelstan is my favorite character after Ragnar and Lagertha! Just hate the thought of Athelstan dying. I will definitely lose interest in Vikings with out the Priest!

  5. Very, VERY excited about this news! George is a great actor and this is likely going to be a perfect role for him (even if it is very opposite of how he actually is).

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