Script Bandits: La Maupin


Script Bandits: La Maupin

In our first installment of Script Bandits we examine the life of a female sword fighter turned opera singer who lived in France during the 1600s. She became famous, wooed men and women alike, and was briefly sentenced to death for infiltrating a convent and sneaking out her girlfriend using a dead nun and arson as a distraction.

But that was just in her early days. In this podcast episode we overview the plot points of her life and discuss the possibilities of adapting her life for the big screen. Or maybe a six season Netflix series.

Show Summary


The Early Life of Julie d’Aubigny

  • Raised by her father and trained as a page in the shadow of Versaille
  • She becomes very skilled with the sword
  • Comte d’Armagnac, her dad’s boss, takes her as a mistress at a young age, moves her to Paris
  • He arranges her marriage to Sieur de Maupin of Saint-Germain-en-Laye
  • It’s mainly a marriage of convenience and he is “on the road” as a tax collector
  • She trains with a man named Sérannes, they start a relationship
  • He kills a man in a duel and they flee together
  • On the road to Marseilles they sing and perform sword fighting exhibitions
  • She joins Pierre Gaultier’s music academy and is identified as a contralto voice
  • Julie falls in love with a merchant’s daughter, who is hidden away in a convent in Avignon by her family
  • Julie infiltrates the convent, waits for a nun to die, puts the body in her girlfriend’s bed
  • She starts a fire and they escape, are on the road for three months
  • In the meantime, tried in absentia (and tried as a man), she is sentence to burn by the Parliament of Aix

La Maupin’s Rise to Fame and Infamy

  • On the road back to Paris she trains with an old opera drunk
  • She is rudely accosted by some drunk men and defeats them all in duels
  • One man, Louis-Joseph d’Albert de Luynes, the son of a duke, becomes her friend and lover
  • D’Albert returns to military duties, and she meets wannabe actor Gabriel-Vincent Thévenard
  • Julie appeals to d’Armagnac in Paris, and her talks to King Louis XIV and her sentence is vacated
  • Julie joins the Paris Opéra, she and Thévenard make it together
  • There are affairs, infatuations, fights and duels
  • She dresses as a man and beats up fellow actor Duménil
  • At a royal ball she kisses a woman and is challenged to duel by three suitor
  • Julie defeats the suitors but is effectively exiled to Brussels by the king for dueling
  • She joins their opera company, has an affair with Maximilian Emanuel, things end poorly
  • Julie returns to the Paris stage, is most well known as La Maupin, but also Mademoiselle Maupin
  • She has an affair with Madame la Marquise de Florensac
  • Her lover dies in childbirth, she dies a few years later
  • Some stories describe her as returning to a convent in her final years

Some Anecdotes

  • She may not have had any confirmed kills
  • Engaged in a “duel of wits” with Thévanard
  • Dressed as a man though did not disguise as one
  • D’Albert used the worst pickup line in the world which ended up working

Adaptation Discussion

  • Could easily be an arthouse, french language production
  • Disney could ruin this story, but shouldn’t
  • Music obviously would be featured, this could be a musical in the style of Evita
  • This could be a graphically violent Bonnie and Clyde style story, similar to Natural Born Killers
  • In a comedy, Jeff Goldlum could play King Louis XIV

Historical Context

  • France was at the height of its power
  • The uneasy bedfellow that were the royal family and the nobles
  • Versailles was a crazy plan that came together
  • Marriage and relationships for nobility
  • The small and strange world of the nobles
  • The 20 million commoners
  • The Catholic Church and the cardinals

Wrapping Up

Links and Media

The Adventures of La Maupin on

Rejected Princesses covers Julie d’Aubigny.

What would we all do without Wikipedia?

Goddess by Kelly Gardiner is a fictionalized retelling of the life of La Maupin which is well sourced.

Disclaimer: Midmost Coast may make a commission from this Amazon link.

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