For nearly thirty years, Alan Rickman has established himself as a respected actor, whether it’s from playing a role like Hans Gruber in the original Die Hard or as Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” films. One thing he might not be as well known for is his directing.
Having directed 1997’s The Winter Guest and lots of theater productions since then, Rickman has returned to being the man behind the camera for A Little Chaos, a fictionalized look at the design and construction of Louis XIV’s greatest masterpiece, the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, during the 17th Century.
While Rickman himself takes on the role of the French monarch, it’s Oscar winner Kate Winslet who is the focus of the story, playing Sabine De Barra, a landscape designer and gardener commissioned by Versailles’ principal architect André Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts from Rust and Bone) to design and construct the Rockwork Grove, an outdoor theater and water fountain that would be hidden within the gardens. While Sabine struggles with getting the workers to do her bidding, gossip starts going around court about her relationship with the married André, forcing her to prove herself even more than she might have to as a woman doing predominantly a man’s job.
The last time Rickman and Winslet worked together, it was appearing in Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning Sense and Sensibility twenty years ago, for which Winslet received her first of six Oscar nominations even before exploding with the mega-blockbuster Titanic. Being able to reunite for A Little Chaos allowed them to explore a different dynamic with some of the best scenes in the movie being the quieter and more intimate moments between King Louis and Sabine.
In the video interview below, you can hear Rickman and Winslet talk about reuniting after nearly 20 years, Winslet talking about their other co-star Matthias Schoenaerts, and Rickman talking about what it took to recreate the gardens of Versailles and the Rockwork Grove on a fairly modest budget.
A Little Chaos opens in select cities and On Demand on Friday, June 26.