Interview with VERSAILLES star CATHERINE WALKER, who plays Madame de Maintenon. She talks about France expanding, King Louis and her dream character.
Series 3 of Versailles (available on DVD from 13 August) shows Philippe returning to court with the spoils of war whilst the King struggles to keep the peasants from revolting.
Walker says power is at the forefront, “France is expanding its empire and Louis is unstoppable in his ambition. He comes up against the church. There is a growing unrest of the protestants and the people of France who are suffering economically as a result of these ambitions.”
“Maintenon is integral to this as she guides Louis to the path of absolutism with her unwavering and zealot like belief in the divine right of kings.”
“There is also a mystery of the man in the iron mask, a secret which could unravel the very bedrock of the throne.”
King Louis has fallen hard for Maintenon, who was originally employed as governess to his children. “When I first read the scripts of Versailles, I was fascinated by this woman. She was nothing more than a nanny, during this season she becomes the most powerful woman in Europe.”
“It is a fascinating trajectory. She was a nobility, but there was a very true love. A meeting of minds and equals. Maintenon was the great strength behind the throne.”
The show's third season also stars George Blagden, Alexander Vlahos and Evan Williams.
Vlahos recently confirmed Series 3 concludes Versailles, but Catherine says fans have been loyal throughout. “It picked up a strong following because it is such a rich story with brilliant well drawn characters. When you are working on historical figures, they are so far beyond what could be imagined fictionally.”
“It is also such as aesthetically beautiful and sumptuous period. It’s a visual feet for the audience and the attention to detail is unparalleled.”
She admits learning the role of Maintenon was challenging, “I had to get into the mind-set of someone who is zealot-like in their beliefs. It was important to get the root of that, because all her decision making comes from there and that can lead to some very dark places.”
So why should somebody new watch Versailles? “It’s a world that has to be seen, to be believed. Much of it is based on truth. It is a rich story, beautifully told and with a great cast of characters. It’s filled with intrigue and darkness.”
Telly Binge spoke to Catherine Walker in July 2018. View her other work at IMDb.