Gaumont and Paris-based LGM Cinema have brought on the French genre specialist to direct what is being described as an “epic, sensual and riveting” 17th period romance based on the life of the Marquis de Montespan. 

The Marquis will shoot in English and is being earmarked for a winter 2016-17 production start.

Aja is adapting the screenplay inspired by Jean Teulé’s novel Le Montespan.

The project, which the parties say is budgeted at $25m, will depict the ill-fated passion between de Montespan and his wife Athénaïs, a beautiful and ambitious woman who became the mistress of Louis XIV.

The marquis dismissed the prestige associated with one’s wife being a lover to the monarch and tried at all costs to reclaim her.

“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,” said Aja.

“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.”

Aja’s upcoming The 9th Life Of Louis Drax will open via Miramax in the US in September.