It was in April last year that Evan Williams traveled to Paris to meet his fans. For the third year in a row, Neverland Adventure allowed fans and actors of the series Versailles to meet for a weekend.
Only about TV
The actor who plays Chevalier de Lorraine in Versailles came to meet his fans. For the occasion, we had the opportunity to discuss with Evan Williams about the series, but also about his next projects.
The actor has also just been announced at the Royal Con of Nevastalgia Events, which will take place on May 6 and 7, 2023 in Paris. George Blagden (Louis XIV) and Alexander Vlahos (Philippe D’Orléans) will also be present.
Primarily, Versailles, of course. How would you describe the series to someone who does not know it at all?
I would say that Versailles is a notion of what goes on behind the closed doors of the Palace of Versailles; the things one does not learn from the history books. With scandals, intrigue, love and adventure. Something for everyone!
Can you tell us more about your character? How did you prepare for this role?
So I played Chevalier de Lorraine, a real historical figure who was the king’s brother’s lover. He and the king’s brother were a known secret, they were a gay couple at a time when homosexuality was punished with death. Everyone knew it, but no one would say anything for not accusing the king’s brother of treason. Chevalier led a very insecure life, because if he lost the relationship, he would probably have his head cut off. So he had to get his claws out. He was quite desperate, but also desperate that no one knew how desperate he was. He is a kind of liar and a bit of a pretender. And I think he suffered deeply from fraudulent syndrome. We see him trying to be at the forefront of this eerie shadow chasing him. You can see all the ways he is trying to succeed. And finally, he fails.
Like you said, he’s the king’s brother’s lover. How would you describe their relationship? which is very special.
I think the series has done a really good job of exploring all three dimensions of same-sex relationships at a time when same-sex couples are often referred to as cartoon characters. I think it was a toxic relationship. But at the bottom of this relationship was true love. So two people who really loved each other but like any relationship had a hard time. Especially because in the society they were in, as I mentioned, the relationship was delicate with power. Like Olympus, where everyone tried to stay on top. It was a very unbalanced relationship in terms of power. But I think they managed to make it work, because in the end, there was love. We see them take a meandering route and eventually end up falling in love.
All of your character’s emotions are really intense. How do you prepare for that kind of emotion? Love is really deep, but also fear as you said, anger, etc.
For me, it’s about making it personal, trying to understand where the things Chevalier went through reflect the things I went through in my own life, and trying to find poetic metaphors that allow me to connect my own heart. And when it happens, as soon as I make the connection, it’s about finding enough relaxation in my body that I do not turn off, because that’s what we do naturally in real life, we try to be civilized. But I think it’s natural, it’s what you have to do, you have to open up, use the instruments, all these things that we are trying to hide in life can actually be seen. So with Chevalier, it was a pleasure and a challenge because I was always looking for opportunities to “reveal” myself from all the hidden battles that I go through as any human being. I think many of these hidden things are universal. When you see actors take it on, viewers can understand what makes them fall in love with the characters because they see themselves, they say “ah, I have that too”. In life, I do not want to be THE guy, the one who sticks his foot in his mouth, the one who “zincs” when he has to “zag”. I would always try to hurry with the titles there, as Chevalier does. I let him make the mistakes I’m too scared to make in my life.
You recently participated Westworld. What can you say about this experience? It is the opposite of Versailles.
Westworld is such a giant series. The first day I was there, we visited the set, where they shot the entire first season, and the set was huge. I thought Versailles was great but this one is gigantic. I think I got lost in this setting. I can only say that I got to work with Ed Harris, who is one of the greats. It’s the first time I’ve really worked with an Oscar-nominated actor, but he was a total master and playful to work with, and he was so kind and supportive of me. What I noticed Westworld, is that they took their time because they had enough money. For the scenes we used e.g. all day on recording only one. We’ve done it so many times, and with Ed every time is different. He was so caring, he’s a total master and I felt that … I thought I knew a thing or two about acting, but after playing with him I was like “well … Man, I know no, no, I’m doomed. “It was really fun and he’s so generous he just led me around and we really got to play together, it was almost like theater. We were really able to play. I can not wait to see, I have not seen anything yet.
Have you performed in the theater? Do you miss it?
I started with theater. Yes, of course I miss it. I have not done much theater since I graduated from theater school, but I loved theater when I lived in Toronto. I especially like making the classics, I loved Shakespeare, I love the oratorical tradition. In America, the filmed game is really the opposite of that, it’s very “can-be”, very discreet, and I’m already a bit of a clown, so every time I have the opportunity to let go of the steam and not take myself seriously, I bet, because otherwise we can get a little / too serious, you know.
Do you have any upcoming projects you can talk about?
Of course ! Movie: I just finished one last month, it’s called One million followers, it is recorded in Thailand. It is in post-production now and should be out in about a year. It’s a thriller. That’s just about all I can say about this movie. I recorded a movie called Blonde, about Marilyn Monroe, which is coming out on Netflix. It’s a Plan B project, produced by Brad Pitt, with Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody and Bobby Canavale, and I’m excited and very lucky to be a part of it. It’s basically a story about Marilyn Monroe’s life through her own perspective, but it’s fiction, based on a book of the same name written by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Joyce Carol Oates. It’s going to be really beautiful. I can not wait to see it.