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

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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