Ludivine Sagnier debuted in French cinema at the age of 9 and a few years later she shone in the excellent Swimming Pool, alongside Charlotte Rampling, for which she was once again nominated for a French Oscar as Best Supporting Actress.
Daughter of an English teacher and secretary mother, Ludivine always pleased the critics, since she was still a child and appeared in Cyrano de Begerac, alongside Gerard Depardieu, as well as in François Ozon‘s musical, 8 Women. With the director, she also starred in one of the biggest hits of her career, Swimming Pool, which took her to films like Peter Pan and series like Young Pope, The New Pope and even Lupin. In The Serpent Queen, Ludivine gives life to the icon of French beauty, Diane de Poitiers, with several challenges: playing her young and older, in the face of Samantha Morton and still imprinting sympathy and realism on a complex character such as Diane. Not only does it take away from the lyrics, but it is one of the great highlights of the series.
Graduated with merit in classical music at the Versailles Conservatoire, Ludivine moves through drama and comedy with equal ease. Diane de Poitiers has not been as villainized by history as Catherine de Medici, but she is far from a problem-free character. Manipulative, criminal (she started the affair that lasted a lifetime when Henry II was still a minor), Diane’s narrative was in many versions “a love story”, but, in Catherine’s eyes, “she” was the big villain, never the girl.
For Ludivine, this was the main attraction to star in The Serpent Queen and it’s sensational. “I was playing a bad guy in princess clothes and I loved it,” he said in an interview with Town and Country. “It is true that de Poitiers is a contrast to Catherine de Mecidi (played by Liv Hill and Samantha Morton), but the appeal of taking on the role is greater than that. I was really drawn to the opportunity to portray this part of French history, especially through a female gaze.”
Some of Diane’s placements in the series are genius. But it’s her look, wearing the traditional black and white that was her signature, that stands out even more. “I was so impressed with everything I could wear. Hair and makeup were also a big part of the work, it took almost two hours every morning.” “Diane was so obsessed with aging that she always protected her face to preserve her appearance.
With the death of Henry II, Catherine will – finally – banish Diane from her life. She was annoying, we recognize it, but we will miss her!