Bille August, director of Oscar and Palme d’Or-winning film “Pelle the Conqueror,” is adapting Karen Blixen’s “Ehrengard” as a Netflix feature film.
“Ehrengard” is one of the last works from Blixen (1885-1962), the author whose autobiographical memoir was filmed as “Out of Africa.”
The story is set in the fairytale kingdom of Babenhausen where a young, self-appointed expert on love, Cazotte, is hired by the scheming Grand Duchess to help her secure an heir. While searching for a suitable future Princess, Cazotte teaches the timid and introverted Crown Prince the art of seduction and lovemaking. But their plan soon backfires, when an heir is conceived out of wedlock and the royal family has to seek refuge in the castle of Rosenbad. As rivals within the royal family close in on their scheme, Cazotte himself falls in love with Ehrengard, the maid of honour, and gradually learns that in fact, he’s no expert on love at all.
The Danish feature film is written by Anders August (“The Marco Effect”) and Marcella Dichmann at SF Studios is producing. The project has been developed over the last decade by Jacob Jørgensen and JJ Film.
“Ehrengard” will feature set design by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Since 1970, The Queen has been actively engaged in painting, church textiles, watercolours, prints, book illustrations, scenography, decoupage and embroidery. She is an honorary member of the Association of Danish Scenographers for her work as a set designer in Danish film, television and theater.
“’Ehrengard’ being realized as a Netflix film is a grand opportunity – and I’m really looking forward to introducing this fascinating story of seduction and desire to a global audience,” said August. “The Queen has created the most fantastic decoupages for the occasion, and they will be the dominant feature of the film’s overall scenographic expression. ‘Fantastic’ (in the most literal sense) is our starting point for the film; we wish to use humour and elegance to create a devil-may-care, burlesque, fabulous and autonomous visual universe.”
“Karen Blixen’s stories have always fascinated me, with their aesthetic tales, their imagination and their, to me, image-creating worlds – and I’m very happy to be part of this project,” said Queen Margrethe II. “I have tried to interpret Blixen’s fantastic universe in the creation of the decoupages and costumes and I’m looking forward to seeing the tale of Ehrengard come to life in this film.”
Lina Brounéus, director co-production and acquisition EMEA at Netflix, said: “With such a strong creative team in Bille August and Anders August, our close partners SF Studios producing combined with the extraordinary decoupages from Queen Margrethe II, I feel confident that this timeless tale will be just as epic, ingenious and witty as Karen Blixen’s masterpiece from 1962.”