Greenfield Talks Sundance Hit 'Queen of Versailles': A Microcosm of the 1%

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by Anne Thompson
July 19, 2012 4:18 PM
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David and Jackie Siegel in 'The Queen of Versailles'

Siegel is the narcissistic center of the film; when things get tough, she gets a face peel. "She's a lot of paradoxes," explains Greenfield, who remains fond of her. "She's not white trash. She's really smart, comes from the lower middle class." After earning a degree in engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, "she realized that her beauty would get her farther where she wanted to go than her engineering degree. She played into her choices. She lived in an infrastructure that gave her millions of dollars. The spigot got cut off."

With servant support reduced from 15 to one housekeeper, Siegel is revealed as a disorganized and overwhelmed mother of seven children who can barely cook, as pets die and dog poop litters the floors. Knowing these reduced circumstances, Siegel admits, "she never would have had so many children. She likes people, has a warm heart, has fun with the kids. Domestic skills are not her strong point."

Despite all the friction and tension between David and Jackie Siegel in the film, "they are still together," says Greenfield. Siegel almost took his business to the brink, but is fighting his way back to solvency. "David personally signed for everything, he could come back or be a pauper." And he remains determined to keep and build their Versailles, which is still on the market-- marked down to $65 million.

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