“Do you know what I hold in my hand? Absolute power,” says Helen Mirren in her new trailer for Catherine The Great. Mirren is set to star in HBO’s upcoming four-part historical drama as Catherine the Great. The series will follow the end of Catherine’s rule during the 18th century as she has an affair with a Russian military leader named Grigory Potemkin, played by Jason Clark. Her rule led to the future redevelopment of Russian politics. According to IndieWire, the series seems likely to explore her legacy as a ruler. Catherine the Great was Russia’s longest-serving female ruler, and she proceeded to help modernize and transform the country into a world power. However, she deepened the class divides and built an economy that relied on serfdom.
Executive producer of the show David M. Thompson stated, “Helen Mirren came to me with the idea for Catherine the Great when we were working with her on Woman in Gold, saying it’s a part she’s always wanted to play. I’m delighted we’re now making the series and indeed we can’t think of anyone better for the role.”
Helen Mirren stated, “She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word ‘Great’ attached to her name.” Mirren is not new to playing powerful queens. She played Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George, which landed her an Oscar nomination. She also played Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen for which she won an Oscar, and later played Elizabeth I in the mini-series Elizabeth I, which she won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her portrayal of the queen. Given her extensive practice in playing royals as well as her Russian heritage it seemed like the perfect match.
The trailer for the show was recently dropped and hinted to the early stages of Catherine’s rule that started out with her overthrowing her husband. As Mirren says in the trailer, “When I was young I dreamed of freedom, I dreamed of breaking chains. But, as you get older your choices narrow. So, instead I gave us an empire. But I knew exactly what I was doing.”
According to IndieWire, the series was created by director Philip Martin and writer Nigel Williams, and also stars Georgina Beedle, Thomas Doherty, Andrew Rothney, Antonia Clarke, and Phil Dunster.
The show is expected to be released sometime in the fall.