Character Analysis: Versailles’ Evan Williams on Chevalier de Lorraine
Ever since George Blagden’s character (Athelstan) was killed off HISTORY’s Vikings back in 2015, his fans have been anticipating his new project, the historical drama known as Versailles.
Well, the show finally premieres on Ovation tomorrow. In the new series, Blagden portrays the Sun King a.k.a. Louis XIV. Versailles tells the story of Louis’Â quest to turn the beautiful palace into a center for art, fashion and decadence.
One of the show’s supercouples in the making involves Louis’ married brother, Monsieur Philippe d’Orleans, and his male lover, the supremely sexy schemer, Chevalier de Lorraine. The chevalier’sÂ main weapons are his looks, charm and his ability to take advantage of situations that will ultimately benefit him.
“The character that I play, the Chevalier de Lorraine, is actually a real guy and was basically flaunting his freedom under the nose of the King because he was protected by the fact that he was the lover of the king’s brother,” said Evan Williams during our recent phone interview.
It’s clear Williams, whose TV credits include the Canadian series DeGrassi, MTV’s Awkward and the Starz comedy, Baxter, relishes playingÂ thisÂ complex character. The actorÂ told us what we need to know about the Chevalier de Lorraine at the beginning of the season.
Chevalier’sÂ raison d’ÃªtreÂ is to be where the power is
“His goal is to stick around and to get as close to the center of power as possible. It’s sort of like King Louis really is the sun, and everybody else orbits around and the further out you are the colder it is and so people are always trying to get to the center.”
Chevalier relies on some much neededÂ defense mechanisms
“There’s this huge facade of knowing everything and the witty retorts and the backhand comments and the imperiousness which is true to the real guy,” said Williams. “The historians talk about him in very glowing fashion. They say he’s greedy as a vulture and entirely without scruples. So it’s totally fun to play that guy but also to defend this behavior because he really believes that he has to do that.”
Despite the character’s ambitions, he willÂ need to be careful. The position he’s in is a bit precarious.Â
“Chevalier’s the only one who doesn’t really belong there. He’s not a royal. He doesn’t have a job. He wasn’t directly expressly appointed to be there by the king so he’s very exposed. So he has to do whatever he can to get his claws in there and do whatever backstabbing or backdoor dealings he can to make himself necessary and stay one step ahead of this ominous demise which he feels is chasing him around the corner.”
Another reason he needs to be cautious is Chevalier’s relationship with Philippe
“The question at the beginning is what is the nature of the relationship,” Williams said. “And that’s one of the themes that is ongoing between Monsieur (Philippe d’Orleans) and Chevalier. And the fans have come up with a charming nickname for us, which is MonChevy.”
“This was a time when homosexuality was punishable by death,” he continued. “It was sort of this known secret but I also knew that this guy had to stay on the right side of his lover, Philippe, the brother’s king. If not, it could be a very swift departure for my character. It lead to a lot of desperation, I think.”
MonChevy’s relationship can be described as beautifully toxic
“I think they realize it’s a true love situation. And just because it’s true love doesn’t mean that it’s functional,” explained Williams. “It’s an entirely true and entirely dysfunctional relationship because it’s built on uneven ground.”
“At the end of the day one of these people is going to be there no matter what and the other one is entirely dispensable with the snap of the fingers and that’s something that’s always tearing at the roots of the relationship,” he analyzed. “But you can’t keep a good love down and I think through and through these two characters, they can’t live without each other. And so with all the codependence and with all the tearing apart that happens, there’s also a ton of sweetness under there because they both need each other.”
Chevalier’s going to have to watch himself around Louis
“It’s definitely a bit of a cat and mouse game, it’s almost like Chevalier convinces himself he’s safe so he can go ahead and do what he feels he has to do. But probably underneath everything, if he’s honest, he probably knows that he’s not safe. And there’s a certain amount of insecurity there which I think he’s desperate to hide and results in him going to even greater lengths to keep the facade up.”
HisÂ facade isn’t going to fool everyone
“Probably the only one who really sees through every inch of the facade is Louis. Since Louis sees right through Chevalier, he is incredibly dangerous. The person who sees right through you happens to be the one who holds a hundred percent of the power. It’s definitely a dynamic place to be, it requires a certain kind of dance from Chevalier, which is very taxing and I’m sure is very tiring.”
One thing that helped Williams get into character was the wardrobe. “I really didn’t find my character until I put the wig on for the first time. And then it sort of jumped out and never went away. It’s worth the 2 Â½ hours it takes to get the costuming and the wig and the makeup on and get suited up.”
It didn’t hurt that the cast was able to shoot in various castles around Paris including Versailles itself. Some of them aren’t even accessible to the public. “There’s some crystal moments when I would be alone in costume in some of these historical settings and there’d be no one else around. I know that I’m sort of playing a guide and I’d walk down the hallway at Versailles and see the painting of the guy I’m playing.”
Versailles premieres on Ovation tomorrow night at 10/9c.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…