The new Off-Broadway musical adaptation of the 1999 teen drama flick “Cruel Intentions” (which is currently running at (Le) Poisson Rouge in the West Village) marks the latest incarnation of “Les Liaisons dangereuses,” the late 18th-century novel of lust, love, deception and death. Below is a user-friendly timeline to its evolution over the years.
Just a few years before the start of the French Revolution, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ French-language novel (in which the Vicomte de Valmont seduces a convent-educated young girl and then a virtuous married woman) is published.
Roger Vadim (best remembered for his romantic relationships with Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Jane Fonda) writes and directs a French-language film version, which is updated to the present day and contains music by jazz great Thelonious Monk.
Christopher Hampton (“Atonement”) pens a stage adaptation, which travels from the Royal Shakespeare Company to London and then Broadway. The original cast is led by the late Alan Rickman. It is revived on Broadway in 2008, starring Laura Linney and 2016, starring Liev Schreiber.
Stephen Frears (“High Fidelity,” “Victoria & Abdul”) directs an Oscar-winning film version of Hampton’s play, now titled “Dangerous Liaisons.” The starry film cast includes John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman.
Miloš Forman (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Amadeus”) directs the film adaptation “Valmont” with Colin Firth and Annette Bening.
A ballet adaptation using music by Vivaldi premieres in Berlin.
An English-language opera adaptation premieres in San Francisco with Renée Fleming in the cast.
In a decade of teen flicks like “Clueless,” “Scream” and “Can’t Hardly Wait,” the novel becomes the source material for the film “Cruel Intentions.” The cast includes Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillipe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair and Joshua Jackson. It wins multiple MTV Movie Awards and Teen Choice Awards.
“Cruel Intentions 2” (a prequel) is released on home video. It is followed in 2004 by “Cruel Intentions 3” (a sequel with new characters).
Catherine Deneuve and Rupert Everett lead a French TV miniseries that updates the story to 1960s Paris. The same year, a South Korean film adaptation is released.
John Malkovich directs a modernized French-language stage adaptation in Paris. The same year, a Chinese film adaptation is released.
The iBook “Dangerous Tweets” converts the original text into tweets written by the characters.
A “Cruel Intentions” TV series is revealed to be in development.
A “Cruel Intentions” stage musical receives a three-performance “pop-up” premiere and later returns for an extended Off-Broadway run. Its score is made up of songs from the film’s soundtrack and other ’90s pop hits.