Liev Schreiber, the Reluctant Rake

September 21, 2016

 Liev Schreiber, the Reluctant Rake



By Alexis Soloski
Sept. 20, 2016

On a recent evening, Liev Schreiber wandered through several rooms of 18th-century French portraiture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum had closed an hour before, allowing Mr. Schreiber private communion with the heaving bosoms and coy smiles, the swathes of silk and froths of lace. He wasn’t impressed. He dismissed a Fragonard painting of a woman reading a love letter as “chocolate box.”

Mr. Schreiber wanted scandal. He wanted perversity. He wanted outrage. Instead he got a powdered coquette and a petulant dog. “It’s not nearly risqué enough,” he said. He even disparaged the brush strokes.

He hopes to bring something more risqué and risky to the latest Broadway revival of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” the stage adaptation of the infamous 1782 novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, which begins performances on Oct. 8 at the Booth Theatre and is directed by Josie Rourke. Mr. Schreiber plays the Vicomte de Valmont, a notorious womanizer and the greatest rake in all of Paris, with Janet McTeer as his erotic adversary, the Marquise de Merteuil. (When Ms. Rourke’s production opened at the Donmar Warehouse last winter, Dominic West of “The Affair” played Valmont.)

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