Arts & Culture

A TV Series on Russia's Catherine the Great, Starring Helen Mirren, Is Coming Soon

Here's your first look at the new HBO mini-series.
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Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen, and now, she'll play a fierce female leader of another sort. Mirren stars as Catherine the Great in a new miniseries on HBO, which will be released later this year.

Here's what we know about the project so far.

THE FIRST TRAILER IS ALREADY HERE.

The clip above features the Empress explaining her "absolute power." A shorter, earlier preview of the network's upcoming projects showed Mirren as the iconic royal in a military ensemble of some sort.

And a sneak peek, which aired during the Golden Globe awards, first revealed Mirren in full costume.

THE SHOW WILL FOCUS ON THE 18TH-CENTURY RUSSIAN EMPRESS DURING THE LATTER PART OF HER 34-YEAR REIGN.

"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," reads a plot summary of the program.

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"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."

Color us intrigued.

IN ADDITION TO STARRING IN THE PROGRAM, MIRREN WILL ALSO SERVE AS AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER.

“I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power," Mirren said of the role, Variety reports. "She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word 'Great' attached to her name, Catherine the Great."

HBO is teaming up with Europe's Sky to produce the series. It will be written by Nigel Williams, who also wrote the Mirren-helmed Elizabeth I. Philip Martin, who has directed a number of episodes of The Crown, has signed on as director. 

Other actors in the miniseries include Jason Clarke (The Great GatsbyMudbound), who will play Potemkin, Joseph Quinn (Howards End, Les Misérables), who will play Catherine's son, and Gina McKee (Notting Hill, Bodyguard), who has been cast as Catherine's confidant, Countess Bruce.

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Mirren said the experience of working on the show was "like going into a nunnery."

"When you go into this sort of work, it's like going into a nunnery, really," she told the Sunday Times. "You just have to go into a mode of proper diet, no drink, no partying, go to bed early. I should be knackered, but actually I feel great."

IT WILL AIR LATER THIS YEAR.

While a specific premiere date has yet to be shared publicly, in the Instagram post above, HBO confirmed the series will run sometime in the fall of 2019.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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