Ideas are everywhere. Last night I was recording the new episode of my podcast, Paura & Delirio, about the 2001 French movie Brotherhood of the Wolf, by Christophe Gans. And as we were chatting about the two leading ladies on the movie, my friend and partner in crime Lucy enthused about the blade-tipped fan used by Sylvia (Monica Bellucci), and we both lamented the fact that the main character at the end decides to go away with the pretty but rather insipid Marianne (Èmilie Dequenne) instead of accepting the offer to work as a secret agent for the Vatican teamed up with Sylvia.
And I pointed out I’d pay to watch a series of movies – or a good, high budget TV series – based on that concept.
Or, missing that, write it.
No, really, follow me…
Gregoire de Fronsac (portrayed in the movie by Samuel Le Bihan) is presented as a fop, a smartass and a libertine, but he’s actually an all-around badass.
He is a naturalist and a taxidermist, a hunter and a veteran of the Anglo-French war for Canada – where he rose through the ranks to a position as captain. He’s been to America and Africa. He knows savate (a French form of martial arts) and he’s at home with gun, musket, bow and arrows, and with twin short swords. Being a gentleman, he can also certainly hold his ground with a rapier. He’s a deft hand at sketching, he’s a good conversationalist, and a keen detective. Being a natural philosopher and an Illuminist, he’s all for rationality and finding solid proof. Does not believe in the supernatural, but is willing to investigate it.
Sylvia (no family name known, portrayed by Monica Bellucci) appears as a high-class prostitute of Italian origin, possibly Florentine.
In fact she’s the field agent of a particularly secret branch of the Vatican authorities – possibly some emanation of the Sant’Uffizio (the guys in charge of the Inquisition). She knows her poisons and drugs, is a consummate seductress (obviously) and handles with competence both daggers and combat fans. I would not discount her with a rapier, either. She’s the sort that will stab once or twice a dead body “just to make sure”, and she has no compunction when it comes to killing. Probably an expert in codes and ciphers, has access to a network of informers and “helpers”.
Dresses preferentially in black and silver, because… hey, have you seen her?
She is most certainly NOT a damsel in distress.
Now imagine letting loose this duo in 18th century Europe (possibly with a quick jaunt to the Ottoman Empire or Russia sometimes), acting as troubleshooters where strange mysteries and conspiracies pop up. Missions from the Vatican, but also occasionally working on their own (especially when De Fronsac finds some weird mystery worth investigating).
They could move from the French Court to the criminal underground, and back. They could go places, meet people, and kill the bad guys.
Imagine, if you will, an 18th century crossover of The X Files and The Avengers (the Steed/Peel TV series).
So, tell me you would not watch the hell out of it.
Or, should someone (say, someone with my general look and tastes) write stories about these characters, tell me you would not read them.
And the point, of course, is always the same: I should simply stop sleeping.
A few six-packs of 36-hors-long days might also help.
But for starters, let me get some solid resource about 18th century Europe…