Praised and condemned in equal measure, famed twelfth-century queen Eleanor of Aquitaine faces the struggle for self-determination in the historical drama series AQUITAINE. She must fight for her place in a marriage and kingdom that want to control who she is while struggling with the cutthroat politics and family drama of the medieval French courts.
- Gold Prize for TV Drama Pilot, 2018 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards
- SemiFinalist, 2018 Big Break Screenwriting Contest
- NewEnglandFilm.com Fellowship Honorable Mention 2018
- 2018 Stowe Story Labs accepted project
AQUITAINE is an hour-long historical drama series that tells the story of how one woman built an empire and shaped a century. Eleanor – twelfth-century Duchess of Aquitaine and Gascony, Countess of Poitou, Queen of France and later Queen of England – is a legendary figure. Historical chronicles and literary depictions have painted her as either a beautiful and brilliant political mind, or a flighty and selfish seductress. Modern portrayals of her in films like The Lion in Winter frequently position her as a secondary figure to the famous men in her life: Henry II, Thomas Becket, Richard the Lionheart, even Robin Hood. Yet she deserves to stand alone, as a flawed but resolute woman who oversaw a cultural movement that embraced female empowerment at a time when she was fighting to determine the course of her own life, facing restrictive societal expectations and a whole palace full of medieval mansplainers. In the series AQUITAINE, Eleanor and her lifelong quest for agency take center stage.
The facts of her life are remarkable enough. The death of her father the Duke of Aquitaine in the year 1137 leaves Eleanor the richest heiress in Europe, a position that makes her both powerful and vulnerable. After narrowly escaping an attempt at marriage-by-rape by a supposed ally, she is forced to choose between her security and her freedom. At the age of 15, Eleanor marries and becomes Queen of France. She scandalizes the Parisian courts of her husband King Louis VII with her intelligence, her audacity, and her rule-breaking retinue of impious ladies, seductive troubadours, and biracial and queer knights. While struggling to find her footing in a hostile political environment, she literally renovates the palace and oversees the flowering of an intellectual and creative renaissance. She encourages a civil war to allow her sister to marry the man she loves. She goes on Crusade. She divorces the husband who never understood her and promptly weds his greatest rival Henry Plantagenet, becoming Queen of England and launching the Angevin Empire that would solidify her legacy as a political powerhouse.
AQUITAINE is both a coming-of-age story and an extraordinary epic of political intrigue, hidden affairs, brutal warfare, and the birth of an empire. Though the action takes place in a time far from our own, in places both familiar and foreign, the themes of the series are recognizable: the fight for self-determination; loss of innocence; revenge; friendship; love; compromise. Through the interweaving of multiple characters’ storylines, these universal themes find particularity and resonance in the lives of diverse and compelling women and men.
At the heart of them all is Eleanor of AQUITAINE.