In “Dangerous Liaisons”, John Malkovich plays the Viscount de Valmont, a libertine in the throes of love. A landmark role for the actor, who saw fiction overtake him during the filming.
After a modern adaptation by Roger Vadim in 1959, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuill made their return to cinema thirty years later. In 1989, Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen) brought to screen Christopher Hampton’s play based on Choderlos de Laclos’s epistolary novel with Dangerous Liaisons. In the roles of two conspirators determined to sow trouble in the sentimental lives of those around them, Glenn Close and John Malkovich succeed Jeanne Moreau and Gérard Philipe.
The starting point of their diabolical plan, and of their fall, is a proposition from the first to the second. In 18th-century France, the Marquise de Merteuil instructs her former lover to seduce Cécile (Uma Thurman), her cousin’s very young daughter, in order to avenge another of her conquests with whom she is supposed to marry. Valmont initially refuses, preferring to try to delight the heart of the virtuous Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer).
The libertine accepts the request of the Marquise de Merteuil secondly, when he learns that Cécile’s mother has tried to warn Madame de Tourvel about her deceitful nature. A challenge that causes a cycle where only cruelty can win.
Keanu Reeves, Mildred Natwick, Swoosie Kurtz and Peter Capaldi complete the cast of this drama shot entirely in Île-de-France. The year of its release, which is also that of Valmont – another flagship work inspired by the novel directed by Milos Forman – Dangerous Liaisons wins three Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Artistic Direction and Best Costumes.
In the film, a devouring passion gradually arises between Madame de Tourvel and the Vicomte de Valmont, to the point of consuming them both. An exciting relationship that owes a lot to the chemistry between its performers. Behind the scenes, an attraction between Michelle Pfeiffer and John Malkovich emerges. The two actors find themselves at the heart of a true affair. A situation that Stephen Frears remembers.
Asked by the New York Times in 2003, the filmmaker said of John Malkovich, with whom the collaboration was often turbulent:
Her marriage was falling apart. And during the movie, he had an affair with Michelle Pfeiffer. Dangerous Liaisons is about betrayal, lies and unraveling relationships. It was one of those times when reality and art intersect. It was upsetting for John.
In an interview with Critics at Large for the release of the feature film, the Method-enthusiast actor recalls a grueling shoot, with which he remains satisfied because of the result. Asked about his relationship with Stephen Frears, whom he described as a “nightmare” and “pervert”, John Malkovich said:
We could argue a lot, but whatever is good about the movie, I credit it. I’ve never been challenged like this before. I didn’t always like it – people don’t like challenges. It upsets their balance. (…) And that’s what Stephen does wonderfully. He drove me crazy a lot, but so what?
A landmark role in which the actor is therefore fully invested. Shortly after the filming of Dangerous Liaisons, John Malkovich and his wife Glenne Headly divorced.
Barbaque: the film with Marina Foïs and Fabrice Éboué is revealed in a crazy teaser
If everything goes as planned and as the teaser announces, we should have a good laugh in front of “Barbaque”, a new comedy by Fabrice Éboué with Marina Foïs, where they play a couple of butchers who specialize in human meat. the meat of vegan activists! A comedy whose dark and uninhibited humor is revealed in the first images.