Starz is expanding its slate of historical dramas, which includes “Outlander” and “The Spanish Princess,” with a series order for another period piece.
The network has committed to an eight-episode season of “Dangerous Liaisons” which is based on the 18th century French epistolary novel of the same name by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
“Dangerous Liaisons” the series will tell the origin story of the novel’s iconic characters Merteuil and Valmont, exploring their early years and when they meet as passionate young lovers in the slums of Paris. “Call the Midwife” writer Harriet Warner will pen, showrun and executive produce the series.
The novel has been adapted variously for the stage and the big screen, most famously in 1988 by Warner Bros. and British director Stephen Frears. That starry iteration was headlined by Glenn Close as Merteuil, John Malkovich as Valmont and won three Oscars for adapted screenplay, costume design and production design.
Starz’ series is told from the perspective of Merteuil and follows the dangerous liaisons of the rich and powerful in the court of Louis VXI, as they wreak havoc on society, and each other along the way. The series’ lineup of executive producers have plenty of historical drama experience and includes Playground’s Colin Callender, Tony Krantz, Bethan Jones, Scott Huff, and Christopher Hampton, who wrote the Tony-nominated theatrical version of the book. Coline Abert, James Dormer and Rita Kalnejais will write for the series.
Season 3 will change location and plotline yet again. This iteration is set amidst the London tech scene where a young female neuroscientist begins to explore the transactional world of The Girlfriend Experience, only to find herself deep inside the Uncanny Valley with the relationships she creates. Soderbergh and Philip Fleishman return as executive producers with Jeff Cuban also serving as an EP. Anja Marquardt is writing, directing and co-exec producing the 10-episode scripted anthology series which hails from Transactional Pictures of NY LP in association with Populist Pictures and Magnolia Pictures.
The original season of “The Girlfriend Experience” was a reimagining of Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 critically acclaimed movie of the same name. Season one followed Christine Reade (Riley Keough), a second-year law student. Working hard to establish herself as an intern at a prestigious law firm, her focus quickly shifts when a classmate introduces her to the world of transactional relationships. The second season of the anthology series followed two parallel stories with new characters and relationships, exploring the price of intimacy and its emotional consequences and alternating between Washington, D.C. and New Mexico. Season 2 starred Anna Friel, Louisa Krause and Carmen Ejogo.
In a second piece of Starz and Soderbergh related news, the network has issued an order for a docu-series entitled “Leavenworth,” which the “Ocean’s 11” director is exec producing alongside Paul Pawlowski, David Check.
“Leavenworth” centers on a controversial true-crime story playing out in the military justice system involving Clint Lorance who is serving a 19-year sentence for murder at The United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth. While deployed in Afghanistan in July 2012, the former lieutenant ordered fire on three local men riding a motorcycle, killing two of them and outraging his platoon. In a first-hand account of a soldier navigating the U.S. Army’s legal system, Lorance seeks to overturn his conviction, provoking emotional debate between supporters and detractors that rises to the national stage.