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Versailles as Youve Never Seen It: With Boobs, Raunchy Sex, and a Crossdressing Prince

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A new drama tells the story of King Louis XIV and two brothers, crossdressing bisexual Prince Phillipe, as they bedhop and strategy for power. It’s your raunchiest history lesson yet.”>

Actor George Blagden recollects analyse the 17 th century period in which King Louis XIV moved his royal court outside Paris to the opulent Palace of Versailles. The lessons were brief, but there was one unshakable takeaway: there was a hell of a lot of sex.

I analyzed this period for all of about three lessons in school, and even in those three hours one of the major things that one remembers from this time was that sex politics was rife in this building and this tribunal, says Blagden, who plays King Louis in Ovations new drama series about that time, Versailles.

You cant fault a splashy, expensive serieswhich has already aired in France on its Canal+ channel and in the U.K. on BBC2for trying to make a mark on a fledgling American cable channel for leaning into that lesson, with boob, bums, and bed-hopping as rampant in the early episodes of Versailles as blood, dismemberment, and brotherly bickering.

Liberty reigns in France, of course, so when it aired there not a lash was batted at the content of the reveal, about the power fight between King Louis, a notorious ruler about whom many have strong opinions, and his younger brother Prince Phillipe( played by Alexander Vlahos in Versailles ), a formidable military leader whom Louis all-but wrote out of his self-documented history. Oh, and, at least as portrayed in Versailles, Phillipe was a bisexual crossdresser.

But when the present premiered in the U.K ., British sensibility had critics clutching their pearls, branding the display as raunchy, saucy, steamy, and filthyfour racy scenes in just 17 minutes, along with gay sexuality, crossdressing and nudity galore, ” fretted The Daily Mailall the while marveling at its monster viewership ratings.

How hilarious, then, that as Versailles geared up for its American debut this Saturday, the press, perhaps describing parallels among British performers in fancy garb at grandiose estates, ventured that it might fill the void that Downton Abbey left for fans of period drama.

Its the complete opposite of Downton Abbey, Vlahos giggles. It wont be filling any void. The Dowager Countess is gasping at the very notion now.

While the premiere episode features no less than seven sexuality scenes and some unflinching gore, to boot, the casting and creative team watched no other way to accurately reflect the power play taking place at the pivotal time in French history. After all, this is a show in which the based-on-history female result Henriette, played by Noemie Schmidt, is married to Prince Philippe but having an affair with King Louis, all while Philippe is shedding his women clothing to have his knob polished by another man.

Blagden recollects his first meeting with the creative team and wondering how theyd ever be able accurately reflect the seediness that underwrite the Machiavellian glamour of this world, and being reassured that they were going to be bold and not censor it. He then went and had a pow wow with Mathieu da Vinha, the reveals historical consultant who had spent his career studying the brothers and the people around them. He asked da Vinha for his take, and he said, In the script Ive watched, youre not showing the half of it.

It was reassurance that they were never sensationalizing anything, Blagden says of having da Vinha on decide nodding along to a fight scene where Philippe is in a dress, stabbing someone in the eye, knowing thats only half as graphic as what might have really happened.

And while there is, in the grand tradition of, well, every indicate on TV, a stark imbalance to its implementation of female and male nudity, Vlahos insists that it does equal itself out as the series goes on. Season two, which is already in production, began with the news that Canal+ would now also permit full frontal male nudity on air. That was wonderful news for me, he jokes. My opening shot in season two was a lot of male nudity.

But Versailles offers more than just bodies to ogle at. In addition to being the most expensive French Tv production everreported at approximately $31 million, more than twice the cost of Downton Abbey, if were comparingthe Palace of Versailles and the Chateau of Versailles cooperated with production. The landmark, as any tourist knows( or frustratingly find out) are closed to visitors every Monday, so the cast and crew were allowed to use that date to cinema there on a weekly basis.

The first day Blagden shot at Versailles he was filming a dream sequence of kinds, in which Louis devotes a speech to a camera about his vision for the palace: this idea of sun and beauty and luxury and power. The entire day was grey and overcast, but with about six minutes left to shoot, the sunshine abruptly dipped under the cloud and an orange lighting inundated in, giving him just enough time to deliver his monologue.

Oh, and it happened to be the 200 th anniversary of Louiss death, too.

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