Count Fersen and Marie Antoinettes love affair went on for the rest of their lives. Whether or not it was consummated like it was in the film is up for speculation. But Louis XVI was very fond of Fersen and most likely knew of the affair but did nothing to stop it. Fersen helped organize a failed escape plan for the royal family after they were taken to Paris. He mourned the queen after she was beheaded.
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There is a scene towards the end of the movie shows many princes and princesses of the blood saying farewell to the Queen before fleeing the country, including her two favorite companions, the Duchesse de Polignac and the Princesse de Lamballe. The real Duchesse de Polignac did take refuge in Switzerland. Princesse de Lamballe did initially leave the royal family for safety in England, but returned later at the request of Marie Antoinette after she and her family were caught trying to escape. She remained with the royal family until her own arrest. After refusing to sign an oath renouncing the monarchy, she was mutilated and beheaded, and her head was mounted on a pike and paraded past the prison window of the doomed Queen.
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The French government granted special permission for the crew to film in the Palace of Versailles.
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Sofia Coppola refused to read the famous biography of Marie-Antoinette written by Stefan Zweig, which she judged too strict. She turned instead to the book by Antonia Fraser, which makes the queen a more human character, a young girl with no connection to reality who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Sofia Coppola had Spanish footwear designer Manolo Blahnik create hundreds of specially made shoes for the film.
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Even though the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles was in restoration - until spring 2007 - Sofia Coppola was allowed to film there a ball scene for the wedding of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI.
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The film crew were allowed to store most of their equipment in the real Marie Antoinette's bedroom.
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The part of Louis XV was first offered to Alain Delon. Allegedly, he met Sofia Coppola for dinner and brought the American director a huge bouquet of flowers and explained he did not think this was the type of role his fans would appreciate him in. Privately it has been speculated the French icon did not have confidence in the young American director to do justice to a film on this period of French history.
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There was a pair of pastel blue Converse in the shoe sequence. This was to show that despite the era, her being of royal blood, and immensely tasked with performing her royal duty to continue the royal bloodline, Marie Antoinette was still a teenage girl who was trying to find her place in the world.
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This movie was going to be produced before Lost in Translation (2003), but while Sofia Coppola was writing the screenplay struggling with historical truth and an imposing gallery of characters, she started creating another story in order to distract herself from the difficult enterprise. This parallel project - a small Japanese story - became "Lost in Translation", whose planetary success revamped the Marie-Antoinette production.
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A few quotes from the film are directly taken from Marie Antoinette's actual life and from the biography by Lady Antonia Fraser that the film is loosely based upon. Louis XV's comment about Marie Antoinette's bosom upon her arrival in France, Marie Antoinette's comment on having enough diamonds when presented with the opportunity of receiving some as a gift from Madame du Barry, Marie's comment to Madame du Barry about there being a lot of people at Versailles on the day of their infamous first exchange of words, and Marie's comment to her husband, Louis XVI, during a gambling party, explaining that Louis told her she could throw the party but never specified for how long are all actual exchanges of words and conversations from different events in the queen's life.
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Joseph II was an odd choice to teach Louis XVI about reproduction. All of Joseph's known children died in childhood, and he apparently never reproduced for the last 27 years of his life. He could, however, afford to rest on the laurels of his brother and heir-presumptive Leopold II, who had many children including Franz II (powerful sometime-rival-sometime-ally of Napoléon Bonaparte). Strangely enough, such a lesson really happened. Joseph visited Marie Antoinette in 1777 and, in a letter to his brother, boasted about his lesson to Louis. In 1778 Marie's daughter Marie Thérèse Charlotte was born.
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Marie Antoinette was fourteen years old and Louis XVI was fifteen when they were married in 1770. Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman were, at the time of filming, both in their mid-twenties.
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Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI had two sons and two daughters. The missing baby in the family painting that is removed and brought back is princess Sophie, who died of fever as an infant. Louis Charles, the second dauphin of France, is also missing. In the original portrait, he is sitting on Marie Antoinette's lap and Louis Joseph, the first dauphin, is pointing to the empty crib. Louis Joseph died of spinal tuberculosis as a child. Louis Charles is the dauphin in the film, and he was still alive when the royal family was removed from the palace.
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Sofia Coppola had originally wanted Angelina Jolie for the role of Madame Du Barry, but turned it down to star in The Good Shepherd (2006), then Catherine Zeta-Jones was considered. The role eventually went to Asia Argento.
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Although the film title is unhyphenated, the real life Marie-Antoinette was written with a hyphen.
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Wine was served during all meals for the cast and crew as is customary when filming in France.
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One antique harp built in Paris in 1783 was borrowed from the Italian "Museo dell'Arpa Victor Salvi", in order to have a realistic environment.
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Sofia Coppola discovered in 2000 the Marie-Antoinette biography by French historian Evelyne Lever, acquired the book rights and asked its author to accompany her on a first tour of Versailles in 2001. Coppola later turned to the queen biography written by Antonia Fraser, more popular in the United States. Lever was later asked to work as an historical consultant for the movie, writing a dossier on the queen in order to avoid mistakes and approximations.
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Marianne Faithfull's mother, Eva von Sacher-Masoch, Baroness Erisso, was originally from Vienna, Austria, with aristocratic roots in the Habsburg Dynasty. In the movie, Marianne Faithfull plays Empress Maria Theresa, a member of the Habsburg Dynasty and ruler of the Austrian lands.
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Ladurée was chosen by Sofia Coppola to make all of the brightly colored pastries and cakes for the film.
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The original script of the movie briefly mentioned the Diamond Necklace Affair, a pivotal case in Marie Antoinette's life, but it ends up never being mentioned in the movie.
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The red gown with three jeweled buttons Asia Argento wears, the red satin bejeweled gauntlets Kirsten Dunst wears, and the black and pink cloak Dunst wears in the coach returning from Paris, were all worn by Hilary Swank in The Affair of the Necklace (2001). The birdcage hat Rose Byrne wears is the same one Joely Richardson wears in that film.
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In addition to Louis XV and XVI, two other French monarchs and two more theoretical monarchs are depicted in the film. Louis' and Marie's younger son was regarded by loyalists as being Louis XVII from 1793 (XVI's execution) and until his death from abuse and neglect in 1795, even though he was never really a king. The Comte De Provence was then regarded as King-in-exile Louis XVIII, and truly became king in 1814 to reign until 1824, with a brief interruption in 1815 from Napoléon Bonaparte's bloody comeback tour. Louis' brother the Comte D'Artois then succeeded as Charles X and reigned until his forced abdication in 1830; his son the Duke D'Angouleme (shown in the movie as an infant, when Marie is saddened by her childlessness) was called Louis XIX by some loyalists but never made any attempt to take power, so is rarely mentioned in lists of French kings.
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The blue and gold robe a la Francaise Shirley Henderson wears as Aunt Sophie was previously worn by Geraldine Somerville as Lady Emily in Aristocrats (1999) (during the scene of Lord Kildare having dinner at Richmond House). The same gown also appeared previously in Doctor Who (2005) on Sophia Myles in the final ballroom scene of Doctor Who: The Girl in the Fireplace (2006).
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Was ranked #3 on US Weekly's "Top Ten Films of 2006".
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Marie Antoinette was 38 when she was executed. At the time the movie was made, Kirsten Dunst, who portrays the doomed queen, was just 24.
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Director Sofia Coppola, the daughter of The Godfather (1972) director Francis Ford Coppola, included in her cast many performers who are also children of famous film professionals: her cousin, Jason Schwartzman, is the son of actress Talia Shire and producer Jack Schwartzman; Asia Argento is the daughter of Italian horror director Dario Argento; Mary Nighy is the daughter of British actor Bill Nighy; Katrine Boorman is the daughter of British director John Boorman; Danny Huston is the son of American director John Huston and the grandson of actor Walter Huston; and Io Bottoms, who played a lady-in-waiting, is the daughter of actor Sam Bottoms (brother of Ben Bottoms, Timothy Bottoms, and Joseph Bottoms) and Susan Arnold.
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This is Jamie Dornan's first movie role.
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Danny Huston who plays Marie Antoinette's brother is actually distantly related to them. He would be their seventh cousin 13 times removed through their common descent of John Neville and Maud Percy who lived in the 1300s.
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According to a BBC radio interview, several of Rose Byrne's costume pieces were previously worn by Marisa Berenson in Barry Lyndon.
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Judy Davis, who plays the Comtesse de Noailles, was initially considered for the Maria Theresa role (played by Marianne Faithfull).
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As is shown in the movie, Marie Antoinette was not allowed to keep her pug, Mops, when she entered France. However, later on Count Mercy arranged for the pug to be sent to her after her marriage.
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According to some history accounts, when Marie Antoinette met the rioters on the balcony of the palace, she had her eldest daughter with her. This was supposedly in order to augment a sense of sympathy for the doomed queen.
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The last line of the film, "I am saying goodbye," was actually said by Louis XVI youngest sister Princess Elisabeth. She is one of the little girls that Marie Antoinette is with when she's opening her boxes when she arrives at her private apartments. She was with the king and queen till the end and was put to death after their trials.
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