The Wharf is buzzing this week as our exciting new production of
Christopher Hampton's Les
Liaisons Dangereuses begins rehearsals.
To mark the occasion, we are taking a look back at some of the most
notable versions of the story over the years…
The original Royal Shakespeare Company production of Les Liaisons
Dangereuses opened at The Other Place in
Stratford-upon-Avon on 24 September, 1985. It starred Lindsay
Duncan as the Marquise de Merteuil, Alan Rickman as the Vicomte de
Valmont, Juliet Stevenson as Madame de Tourvel, and was directed by
Howard Davies. On the 8th January, 1986, the production moved to
the Barbican Theatre before shifting to the West End in October of
that year. Christopher Hampton won the Evening Standard Award for
Best Play and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play, and
Lindsay Duncan received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best
Actress. Duncan and Rickman reprised their roles for the Broadway
debut of the play, which opened on April 30, 1987. Christopher
Hampton was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play and the
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, but lost both to August
Wilson for Fences. Duncan
won the Theatre World Award and Davies won the Tony Award for Best
Direction of a Play. The show won the 1987 New York Drama Critics'
Circle Award for Best Foreign Play.
Hampton adapted the script into the screenplay Dangerous
Liaisons, which was directed by Stephen
Frears and starred Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle
Pfeiffer (as well as Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman in minor roles).
The 1988 film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including
Best Picture, and it won the categories for Best Adapted
Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Art Direction.
The plot for Dangerous
Liaisons was so irresistable that it
inspired another film the following year. Starring Colin Firth in
the title role, Valmont was
directed by Milos Forman and featured a screenplay written by
Jean-Claude Carriere, based on the original novel by Choderlos de
Laclos. Displaying an early knack for pulling off a white
neckerchief, which he later showed off again as Mr. Darcy in
Prejudice, Firth proved his leading man
potential alongside Annette Bening and Meg Tilly.
Ten years later, in 1999, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillipe and
Reese Witherspoon introduced a whole new audience to Laclos'
masterpiece with Cruel
Intentions. This contemporary spin on the
story was set in the cut-throat world of priviledged New York
teens, featured a famous kiss between Gellar and co-star Selma
Blair, and spawned two (best forgotten) sequels, the imaginatively
Intentions 2 and Cruel Intentions
International versions of Liaisons have
also been popular, with the Korean film version Untold Scandal
being released in 2003, and a new Chinese version Dangerous
Liaisons due to be released this
One of the most notable recent productions was on Broadway in 2008
starring Laura Linney and English actor Ben Daniels as Merteuil and
Valmont. The Roundabout Theatre production, directed by Rufus
Norris, was also notable as it starred Meryl Streep's oldest
daughter Mamie Gummer. The production was nominated for several
Linney and Daniels.
Daniels and Gummer.
As our new production is only starting rehearsals this week, we
can't give too much away about what you should expect. Although,
with a cast including Hugo Weaving, Pamela Rabe, Justine Clarke and
Heather Mitchell, we are sure you will be in for something very
Les Liaisons Dangereuses runs in Wharf 1
from 31 March - 9 June, 2012