'Piranha 3D' Helmer Alexandre Aja To Direct Period Drama 'The Marquis'

After establishing himself as a favorite of genre fans with films such as Haute Tension, Piranha 3D, and The Hills have Eyes, Alexandre Aja has been flowing below the radar lately. Not even a devilish Daniel Radcliffe could draw much attention to his adaptation of Horns, so for his next effort Aja is going in a totally different direction, like back into the past.

Aja will write and direct romance drama The Marquis, which centers on the passionate and doomed relationship between 17th-century couple Marquis Louis Henri de Montespan and his wife Athénaïs. Athénaïs became the mistress of King Louis XIV aka the Sun King, an act which many aristocrats saw as a source of great prestige. But the Marquis would have none of it, refusing all privileges and vowing to get his wife back at any cost, even if it meant defying the King.

Aja adapted the screenplay himself, drawing inspiration from Jean Teulé’s bestselling novel Le Monstespan which he has a clear admiration of.

“This is the story of an extremely passionate couple, who, for nearly 30 years sought to free themselves from the muck of this hypocritical society they lived in,” he said. “She, through her blind ambition to become the true queen of France and he, never ceasing to display his love for her, defying everyone, even the Sun King himself. With relentless dark humour and tempestuous sensuality, Montespan tells the tragic love story about a man, his wife and the king that came between then.”

He also wants to get away from the typical presentation of the period, which is one of great beauty and grace.

"It was the filthiest century in the history of France, with the doctors advising to never wash, with women peeing and defecating under their beautiful dresses… or their completely strange dental ‘hygiene’ which included filling their cavities with butter and honey that would ooze out every now and then during casual conversation."

Hopefully he won't go too far in depecting all of that. A little goes a long way, I think.

Filming on the $25M picture begins late this year or early next. [Deadline]