Starz is planning quite the affair.
The premium cable channel announced Friday that it has ordered a series inspired by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s scandalous 18th century novel “Les Liaisons dangereuses,” or what is more commonly known to English-speaking audiences as “Dangerous Liaisons.”
The new series, which is written and reimagined by “Call the Midwife’s” Harriet Warner, is a prequel to the book and focuses on scheming and meddling lead characters Merteuil and Valmont when they were passionate young lovers who met in the Parisian slums.
Warner will also serve as showrunner.
The show will be told from the perspective of Merteuil, who in the novel is nursing a broken heart by seeking revenge upon her ex paramour. It is informed by her line from the novel that states: “Born to avenge my sex and conquer yours, I have succeeded in inventing strategies for doing so that before me had never been conceived.”
The series is executive produced by Colin Callender, Tony Krantz, Bethan Jones, Scott Huff and Christopher Hampton.
Hampton wrote both the 1985 stage adaptation that starred Lindsay Duncan and Alan Rickman and the 1988 film version with Glenn Close and John Malcovich as the leads.
The book received a teen drama adaptation with 1999’s “Cruel Intentions,” which changed the setting to focus on the spoiled children of New York City’s ruling class. Written and directed by Roger Kumble, it cast Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe as versions of the anti-heros. A prequel, a sequel, a musical and a failed television take on that story followed.
The “Dangerous Liaisons” news was announced Friday during Starz’s press day at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California.
The channel also announced at TCA that it had ordered a third season of the Steven Soderbergh-executive produced “The Girlfriend Experience.” Written and directed by Anja Marquardt, this season of the anthology will focus on a young female neuroscientist and will be set during the London tech scene. A premiere date has not been set.
Soderbergh is also executive-producing the new Starz series “Leavenworth,” a true-crime drama set in the military justice system. It follows an inmate and former Army lieutenant named Clint Lorance who is seeking to overturn his 19-year sentence for murder after he ordered fire on three local men riding a motorcycle in July 2012 while deployed in Afghanistan.
It was announced at TCA that “Leavenworth” would premiere October 20 on Starz.