Apr 15
2019


Dame Helen Mirren was on hand at yesterday’s BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, and has said she was “scared” and “frightened” by her new role as Catherine the Great, according to The Independent. The actress – who stars as the titular Russian queen in the Sky Atlantic drama – described the show’s creator’s decision to write the part for her as a “terrible mistake”. Speaking at the festival, the veteran actress explained that a pair of producers she had previously worked with had read an interview in which she had mentioned wanting to play the powerful monarch. She said: “I made the mistake when I was doing an interview and someone said, ‘what would you like to do next?’ Maybe it was after Elizabeth. “I said, ‘Well, I’d quite like to play Catherine the Great, actually. That would be an interesting character’. “People heard that, producers David Thompson, who was involved in Elizabeth, and Charlie Pattinson – and they went off and raised the money. “It’s really bad. I was, ‘oh no, that’s a terrible mistake’. But then I was committed. I couldn’t wriggle out of it.” Dame Helen, who also starred as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, said being responsible for kick-starting such a vast project had worried her. “I think I was nervous. I think was frightened,” she said. “I don’t know why but I was. You set yourself up to fall flat on your face. I’ve always been very wary of saying ‘I’d like to do this’, because it is a recipe for disaster. “It’s better to allow things to come randomly and brilliantly.” The Oscar-winner’s induction into the Radio Times hall of fame closed three days of panel discussions and talks at the festival. Dame Helen also defended Catherine the Great against claims of promiscuity and that she had had sex with a horse. She said: “That was calumny thrown at her by history because history doesn’t like very successful, very powerful women. “They have to drag them down and history tried to drag Catherine down. I hope we are going to reinstate her reputation as the incredible leader that she was. “I’m not saying she didn’t have her faults. She made mistakes and finished up quite tyrannical but she was originally a reformer and a Westerniser, if you like, of this vast, vast country.” Catherine the Great is set to air on Sky Atlantic this autumn.

Apr 12
2019

A couple of fantastic production stills from the upcoming HBO miniseries “Catherine the Great” have been added to the photo gallery.

Oct 21
2018

The November issue of Harper’s Bazaar (US) has a great interview with Helen Mirren as well as a new – very fitting – photoshoot picture for “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”. She talks about this, the recent filming of “Catherine the Great” in Russia, and the recently wrappred “The Good Liar”. Here’s an excerpt from her interview, scans can be found in the photo gallery.

Obviously I play her at the height of her power,” Mirren goes on, “but she was very straightforward, a very clever and ambitious person. And of course Russia at that time was amazingly complex, violent, and difficult country to govern. But she felt she could handle it”. She is also intrigued by Catherine’s sexuality. “In our slightly puritanical, Prostestant world, it’s shocking the way she behaved. It was extraordinary for that era. She had four children by four different men”.

Oct 04
2018

The first-look photo above captures Helen Mirren in all her glory as the famous Russian ruler, Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, aka Catherine II, aka “Catherine the Great.” You can view the picture in full resolution in the photo gallery. HBO has partnered with Sky to produce the four-part limited series, which is currently shooting across Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Directed by Philip Martin (who helmed Mirren’s last Emmy-winning performance in “Prime Suspect: The Final Act”) and written by Nigel Williams (who wrote and produced “Elizabeth I,” which won Emmys for both he and Mirren), “Catherine the Great” also stars Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”) as Grigory Potemkin and Joseph Quinn (“Howards End”) as Paul, Catherine’s son and heir. New cast members have also been announced, including: Gina McKee as Countess Bruce, Catherine’s lifelong friend and confidante; Rory Kinnear as Minister Panin, a skillful politician, advisor and governor to Catherine’s son; Richard Roxburgh as Grigory Orlov, one of Catherine’s former lovers, who helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power; Kevin R. McNally as Alexei Orlov, who, with his brother Grigory, helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power; and Sam Palladio as Alexander Vasilichikov, Catherine’s young lover. Focusing on the final years of her three-plus decades in power, “Catherine the Great” is produced by Origin Pictures and New Pictures and is an HBO/SKY co-production. No release date has been set. Here’s the official synopsis, courtesy HBO:

Set against the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of Russian empress Catherine the Great, who wielded supreme power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th century, the limited series follows Catherine towards the end of her reign during her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin. Amid scandal, intrigue and immense conflict, they develop a unique and devoted relationship, overcoming their adversaries and together serving as the architects of modern-day Russia.

Jul 19
2018

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO has cast Jason Clarke to star opposite Helen Mirren in its upcoming miniseries Catherine the Great. The four-part limited series will follow Russian empress Catherine (Mirren) toward the end of her 36-year reign in the late 18th century and the intrigue and conflicts that surrounded her. Clarke will play Grigory Potemkin, a Russian military commander who has a love affair with Catherine and becomes both her “favored statesman and life-long friend.” Clarke and Mirren recently co-starred in the film Winchester. The Chappaquiddick actor earned a SAG Award nomination in 2018 as part of the ensemble for Mudbound. His other credits include Zero Dark Thirty and The Chicago Code. Upcoming projects include First Man and Aftermath. Catherine the Great is a co-production between HBO and British broadcaster Sky. Nigel Williams (HBO’s Elizabeth I) is writing the miniseries, and Philip Martin (The Crown) will direct. Mirren, Martin David M. Thompson of Origin Pictures and Charlie Pattinson of New Pictures are executive producers.