The Film So Far
Bob Byars, producer
I discovered the Marquise de Sevigne for the first time in early 2010 and I became intrigued immediately. Soon I found myself reading biographies and collections of her letters, as well as researching France in the 17th Century: the reign of Louis XIV, life and politics at Versailles, fashion and architecture, music and art, famine and wars and plague, taxes and revolts and genocides.
Within this great sweep of history, I found the Marquise’s life to be a unique and very personal story. Her voluminous extant letters provide a remarkable insight into the life and times of an educated woman who was charming and witty, who was deeply devoted to her family and friends, and who wrote frankly about everything she experienced.
Soon the concept of a full-length film shot on digital video began to take shape. To-Ree-Nee joined me as dramaturge and lead actress. She and her husband Patrick came on board as co-creators and co-producers. My good friend Deborah agreed to play the Marquise. Other actors were approached and cast. Screentests and preliminary shooting began that summer here in Tucson. Biographies and research materials were studied and discussed among the cast—particularly by the two lead actresses.
Deborah, To-Ree-Nee, Patrick, and I traveled to France to shoot some dream sequences. We explored the extravagant estate built by the Marquise’s close friend Nicolas Foucquet, and we spent several days at Les Rochers, the Marquise’s principal residence in eastern Brittany. We learned a great deal there and we got some very poignant footage—the trees you see Deborah walking amongst in the trailer were planted by the Marquise herself.
Over the next several months, additional scenes were shot in Tucson until enough footage existed to create a promotional trailer representing the film-as-envisioned.
All this was done with private funding.
Now we are seeking underwriting for the entire production.