January 25, 2018
Article taken from Vanity Fair.
Not too long ago, Helen Mirren pre-emptively rejected a role in Netflix’s The Crown, in which she would obviously be expected to play Queen Elizabeth II during a future season. But just because she’s not interested in playing that particular monarch again doesn’t mean she’s ready to rule out royal roles completely. Case in point: the Oscar winner has just signed on to play the lead in HBO and Sky’s upcoming mini-series Catherine the Great, according to Variety. The four-part series will revolve around the 18th-century Russian monarch toward the end of her reign, as well as her affair with Grigory Potemkin.
“I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power,” Mirren said in a statement to Variety. “She re-wrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word ‘Great’ attached to her name, Catherine the Great.”
And Mirren isn’t the only royal-obsessive attached to the project. Catherine the Great will be written by Nigel Williams, who wrote and produced the 2005 Emmy-winning mini-series Elizabeth I, which aired on HBO in the U.S. and starred—who else—Helen Mirren. It will also be directed by Philip Martin, who most recently directed seven episodes of The Crown. So perhaps this project is the closest we’ll get to having Mirren star in the sumptuous Netflix show, since she insists on never taking on Elizabeth II again: as she said when asked if she planned to join The Crown, “We must all move on, and me most of all. They’ll find many wonderful actresses and they’ll have a grand time.” So shed a single tear for what could have been, folks, and satiate yourself by watching Mirren’s Oscar-winning turn in The Queen instead—and, perhaps, this new HBO mini-series.
It’s also worth pointing out that Mirren jumped to HBO just hours after the network announced that Meryl Streep would be joining the second season of Big Little Lies. While Mirren has dipped her toes in the TV waters more frequently than Streep, it’s still a magnificent coup for the premium cable outlet to pull in two of the biggest actresses working today.