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A Little Chaos

A Little Chaos is a 2014 British period drama film directed by Alan Rickman. The story was conceived by Allison Deegan and she co-wrote the screenplay along with Alan Rickman and Jeremy Brock. The film stars Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Helen McCrory, Steven Waddington, Jennifer Ehle and Rupert Penry-Jones. The film is financed by the Lionsgate UK and produced by BBC Films.

It is the second film directed by Rickman, after his 1997 directorial debut The Winter Guest. It is the second collaboration of Rickman and Winslet after their 1995 film Sense and Sensibility. Production took place in London in mid 2013.

The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival as the closing night film on 13 September 2014.


Helen as: Madame Le Notre
Release Date: February 21, 2014 (UK)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Directed by: Alan Rickman
Written by: Jeremy Brock, Alison Deegan, Alan Rickman
Cast: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci etc.
Links: Official | IMDb

Plot Summary

A Little Chaos follows Sabine (Winslet), a strong-willed landscape designer who challenges sexual and class barriers when she is chosen to build one of the main gardens at King Louis XIV’s new palace at Versailles, causing her to become professionally and romantically entangled with the court’s renowned landscape architect André Le Notre (Schoenaerts).



Production began in March 2013. Producer Zygi Kamasa of Lionsgate said that “we are delighted to be working with the best of British actors and directors like Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman as we move forward in doubling our investment in British films in 2014.” Talking about the film, Rickman said: “The film is not just frills at the wrists and collars. It’s about people getting their hands dirty and building something in order to entertain the other world they serve. It’s about how one world maintains the other, often at the cost of women.”

Landscape scenes were shot at Blenheim Palace. On 17 January 2013, it was announced that Kate Winslet and Matthias Schoenaerts had been cast as the leads in the film. Rickman had Winslet in his mind for the lead role of Sabine de Barra and continued with her when two weeks into shooting, Winslet announced that she was pregnant. Apart from directing the film, Rickman also portrayed King Louis XIV in the film, about which he said “the only way I could do it was because in a way, he’s like a director, Louis, so you kind of keep the same expression on your face. As a director, you see everything somehow. It’s like a huge all-encompassing eye that sees everything, and it’s able to cherry pick; “Move that,” “Don’t do that,” “Do it this way,” “Change this colour”. And I don’t know where that comes from, but it does, once you’re given the job, and I have a feeling Louis probably would’ve been a great film director”.

Principal photography commenced on 27 March 2013 and continued over eight weeks in Black Park, Cliveden House, Pinewood Studios, Blenheim Palace, Waddesdon Manor, Hampton Court Palace, Ham House, Ashridge and Chenies Manor. Filming ended on 8 June 2013 in Richmond, London. Despite being set in France, complete filming took place in England.

According to Rickman, filming “wasn’t easy, though; throwing Kate into freezing water at 1am, the carriage crash, scenes with 80 extras, tight schedules in venues like Blenheim Palace. It’s a constant tap dance between control and freedom and of course the budget guides everything.”