Advanced Television

Disney+ announces cast for Kaiser Karl

March 9, 2023

Disney+ has unveiled the star-studded cast of its original series “Kaiser Karl,” which chronicles the rise of Karl Lagerfeld through the world of 1970s Parisian high fashion. In 1972, a 38-year-old Karl Lagerfeld aspired to become the most famous French fashion designer, at a time when Yves Saint Laurent reigned supreme.

After meeting and falling in love with Jacques de Bascher, a young dandy, he found himself in competition with Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, the head of the most prestigious fashion brand around. Full of clan rivalries and ego battles, partying and decadence, tragic love affairs and magnificent friendships, this is the story of Kaiser Karl, and his frantic quest for recognition.

For the first time, a series will lift the veil on a supremely enigmatic fashion designer who nonetheless became one of the industry’s most high-profile figures. Dubbed “Kaiser Karl” by the American press, the name of Lagerfeld continues to boost the reputation of Paris as the fashion capital of the world.

The six-part series will feature a stellar cast that includes Daniel Brühl (“All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Rush,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Good Bye Lenin!”) as Lagerfeld; Théodore Pellerin (“Continental Drift (South),” “Underground,” “Watchdog,” “It’s Only the End of the World”) as Jacques de Bascher; Arnaud Valois (Most Promising Actor laureate at the Lumières Awards in 2018 – “BPM (Beats per Minute),” “The Girl on the Train,” “My Best Part,” “Spring Blossom”) as Yves Saint Laurent; Alex Lutz (César Award for Best Actor in 2019, Molière Award for Best Standup in 2016 and 2020 – “Vortex,” “Guy,” “Une comédie romantique,” “Baron Noir”) as Pierre Bergé; and Agnès Jaoui (César Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1998, 2001, and 2016 – “Singing Jailbirds,” the French version of “In Treatment,” “The Sweet Escape,” “The Taste of Others”) as Gaby Aghion, the founder of the Chloé brand, who helped elevate Lagerfeld.

Pauline Dauvin, VP Programming and Production, Disney+ France, is delighted to announce this new collaboration between Disney+, Gaumont and Jour Premier. Bringing together outstanding talents, it will result in a unique viewing experience for the platform’s subscribers. Director Jérôme Salle (“Kompromat,” “Totems,” “The Odyssey,” “Zulu”) will be the artistic mastermind behind the series. Isabelle Degeorges, who will executive produce for Gaumont, and Arnaud de Crémiers, executive producer for Jour Premier, are thrilled to be working with him again. They will put together a team of renowned actors and technicians, to deliver a premium production. Jérôme Salle will direct episodes one, two, and six; Audrey Estrougo (the forthcoming Disney+ Original series “Tout va bien,” “Authentik,” “Héroïnes”) will direct the other three.

Steeped in queer subculture and the oh-so-Parisian world of fashion, “Kaiser Karl” was created and adapted for television by Isaure Pisani-Ferry (“Ganglands,” “Vampires,” “Kaboul Kitchen”), Jennifer Have (“Unfaithful,” “The Red Band Society”), and Raphaëlle Bacqué, author of the eponymous biography, published by Albin Michel in 2019 and translated into several languages. Pisani-Ferry is headwriting this season, for which she co-wrote all the scripts with Dominique Baumard (“Ganglands,” “The Bureau”), Jennifer Have, and Nathalie Hertzberg (“Malaterra,” “Farewell, De Gaulle, Farewell”).

“Kaiser Karl” features some of the biggest stars and media personalities of the era, from Marlene Dietrich (Sunnyi Melles, who recently starred in “Triangle of Sadness,” winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2022) to Paloma Picasso (Jeanne Damas, seen in “Sincerity”), Loulou de la Falaise (Claire Laffut, a high-profile Belgian singer and artist), and Andy Warhol (Paul Spera, seen in “Something in the Air,” “White Soldier,” and “SK1”).

Féodor Atkine (Antony de Bascher), Caroline Archambault (Armelle de Bascher), Victoire Du Bois (Anne de Bascher), Lisa Kreuzer (Elisabeth Lagerfeld), Anouk Féral (Rosemarie Le Gallais), Mehdi Kerkouche (Juan Ramos), Julia Faure (Francine Crescent), and Clara Bretheau (Diane de Beauvau-Craon) round out the cast.

“Kaiser Karl” will feature more than 2,200 extras, over 40 different sets, and some 3,000 costumes, 160 of which will be created from scratch by our sewing studios.

To conjure up the Parisian atmosphere of the flamboyant 1970s, the artistic team brings together cinematographers Mélodie Preel (the French version of “In Treatment”) and Mahdi Lepart (“L’Absente,” “Grown Ups”), with costumes—an essential aspect of this series—by Pascaline Chavanne (eleven César nominations for Best Costume Design and two wins, for “Renoir” in 2013 and “An Officer and a Spy” in 2019, and two Magritte Awards nominations and a win in the Best Costume Design category for “The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun” in 2016), hair by Sébastien Quinet (“The French Dispatch,” “Marie-Antoinette”), and make-up by Valérie Chapelle (“Lost Illusions,” “Simone Veil, A Woman of the Century”).

Jean Rabasse (six César nominations and two wins in the Best Production Design category, for “The City of Lost Children” in 1996 and “Vatel” in 2001, which also earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration) will be in charge of set design, including the recreation of apartments, fashion shows, iconic party venues, and couture houses.

The intimate, emotional moments in the series will be enhanced by the original soundtrack written by Sacha and Evgueni Galperine (“Oussekine” on Disney+, “Gagarine,” “By the Grace of God”, “Loveless”).

“Kaiser Karl” is currently shooting in France, Monaco, and Italy.

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