‘Dangerous Liaisons’ Puts Famous Lovers in a ‘Real Place of Struggle’

Nicholas Denton and Alice Englert in 'Dangerous Liaisons'

This smart, steamy series may share a title with the Oscar-winning 1988 film starring Glenn Close and John Malkovich, but the equally lush Starz production of Dangerous Liaisons is a prequel.

Gritty and glamorous pre-revolutionary Paris is home to the younger, more naive Marquis de Merteuil, here known as Camille (Alice Englert), a sex worker, and her lover Valmont (Nicholas Denton), a disinherited aristocrat turned mapmaker who wants his title back. He hides from her his side hustle of seducing rich women who provide him with the finer things in life.

Lesley Maville and Alice Englert in 'Dangerous Liaisons'

(Credit: Starz)

“We meet them at a real place of struggle, in lives that they want out from,” says executive producer Harriet Warner, who drew inspiration from the timeless 1782 novel. “It’s a journey from innocence to experience, to corruption, especially for Camille.”

The two are ready to run away together when she discovers letters from his many lovers and brokers a deal with one of them, Geneviève de Merteuil (Lesley Manville): Camille will keep her secrets for a place in her house. “Geneviève’s a powerful female figure who delivers the mantra ‘Avenge our sex; invent strategies that were unheard of before me,’” says Warner.

Camille’s a quick study. She asks Valmont to prove his love by seducing aristocrat Jacqueline de Montrachet (Carice van Houten), whose cruel actions led to Camille’s life in the brothel. It’s their first wicked game of revenge. Says Warner, “They are utterly connected but also very destructive of each other.”

Dangerous Liaisons, Series Premiere Sunday, November 6, 8/7c, Starz