While her character on “The Great” is engaged in a coup against her husband for control of Russia in the show’s second season, Elle Fanning has some interesting thoughts about what it all means.
“I think the big theme of this [season] is parenting because we have our parents come in,” she told CNN. “Gillian Anderson plays my mom, Jason Isaacs plays [Nicholas Hoult’s character, Peter III’s] dad. There’s moms, dads, babies, motherhood, becoming a mother to a country.”
The new season of Hulu’s naughty – and mostly not historically accurate – depiction of Catherine the Great’s life as empress of 18th century Russia debuts Friday.
In it, Fanning and Hoult play battling spouses who are expecting a child and have a complicated relationship, to say the least.
Hoult said he knew very little about Catherine prior to taking on the role.
“I only knew the infamous horse rumor,” he said, referring to a false urban legend that Catherine the Great died attempting to have sex with a horse.
The series is as bawdy as that false story about the empress.
“That’s kind of a bizarre thing when you break it apart and realize that this woman achieved so many wonderful things, changed a country, moved science forward and education,” Hoult added. “She was so progressive.”
Phoebe Fox, who plays lady in waiting Marial, said “The Great” is as much fun to perform in as it is to watch.
“Most of the time it becomes about trying to mitigate how much fun you are having,” she said. “It becomes sort inappropriate or the time is ticking, we’re trying to get the scene and people keep laughing. It’s helped by the fact we really like each other.”
Sacha Dhawan plays Count Orlo and said the chemistry of the cast is magical because they didn’t do any testing together or even a table read of the first script.
“Our director who did the pilot was like ‘Ok, let’s just get up on our feet and run it like a play,” Dhawan said. “So you’ve got all these strangers coming together to do this first episode and it was such good fun. It just started this journey perfectly.”
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