Times being what they are CW execs went into their half-day at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 braced for some scorched-earth questioning about the teenage-girl-masturbating-in-castle-hall scene of the network’s first crunchy-gravel drama Reign, which purports to be a drama series about the teen years of Mary Stuart (aka Mary Queen of Scots). Imagine their surprise when, instead, they found themselves being grilled with questions about the show’s historical inaccuracies. Reign is enormously important to CW this fall; the network will use its biggest hit, The Vampire Diaries to launch Reign on Thursday nights because VD is CW’s most viewed series among young women. Bodice-ripper Reign takes enormous liberties with the 16th century history of Mary Queen of Scots. As told by CW, Mary arrives in France to marry the French king’s hot son, Prince Francis. In the real world, Francis was a sickly young teen who died after less than two years on the throne. The CW’s Francis, however, is a hunky guy who has a “history” with a lady of the court which, of course, was hardly worth mentioning back in those days but looms large, plot-development-wise, in 2013. Adding to the fun, Mary is also attracted to Francis’ “roguish” illegitimate half-brother, Bash — who never existed, notes the actor playing him, Torrance Coombs.
“In each episode we’ll educate people on what element of history helps our story,” exec producer Laurie McCarthy explained this morning when one of the early what-the-heck history questions came in. “There is a certain amount of latitude,” she acknowledged. “It’s TV so, you know, we can take creative license with it,” chimed in star Adelaide Kane, adding, “It’s entertainment – it’s not the History Channel.” And how cute is she that she thinks History Channel still is about history?
“How many teenage girls do you know who are obsessed with history — I wasn’t at that age,” Adelaide interrupted again, when one TV critic noted that the series story, while fascinating, was not Mary’s fascinating story, and asked McCarthy, “Why don’t you think CW audience is interested in the story of the real person?” Adelaide is CW’s new Blake Lively (read: Handful). One of those beautiful chicks Hollywood gobbles up – all hair, legs and accent — Adelaide is one of those people who goes to great lengths to make sure to answer your every question — even questions not directed at her. When castmate Megan Follows was asked to describe her Queen Catherine role, Adelaide interrupted her thoughtful answer to note, “She’s such a bitch!” which stopped Follows cold.
“I don’t think she’s a bitch,” Follows disagreed.
“I mean to me!” said Adelaide, as if that was all that really mattered.
Adelaide said she “did quite a lot of research on” her Mary character and discovered she was “really a remarkable woman… very witty, charming, spoke six languages, played two different instruments…played golf. She was an incredibly vivacious young woman” who was married three times, and widowed twice, by age 26. If, in her extensive research, Adelaide came upon any mention of hubby Francis having been a sickly, short-lived teen, Adelaide has decided to ignore it. “I don’t know how sickly he was…They went hunting together… I couldn’t imagine her having any patience for a man who couldn’t keep up with her,” Adelaide insisted, historically.
Adelaide wants you to know she got the part because “I’m half Scottish” on her mother’s side, and that her mom’s family tartan is Stewart plaid. On the strength of Mom’s plaid, the actress (whose credits include the Australian soap opera Neighbours and MTV’s Teen Wolf), was the only actor who auditioned for the role, and got to pick her own scenes to read which, as any “acting wonk” like her knows, is like totally awesome. Another bit of Reign fun: Nostradamus, who should have been 50-60-ish in the show, is instead part of the series’ Hunk Herd. McCarthy said she auditioned a bunch of older actors, but then Rossif Sutherland walked in and, well…”It’s a television show. We took some liberties. My job is to tell stories persuasively,” she explained. And, she vowed she would not give her Nostradamus the ability to fly.