The Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult comedy drama is coming back for another 10-episode run after its first season debuted on May 15. The streamer said that The Great was “one of the top performing original comedies” on the service, without giving ratings information.
The satirical show tells the story of the rise of Catherine the Great from outsider to the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history with only a few occasional facts.
Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, Sacha Dhawan, Sebastian de Souza, Bayo Gbadamosi and Belinda Bromilow also star.
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The series comes from The Favourite’s Tony McNamara, who created, wrote and exec produced. Other exec producers include Marian Macgowan, Thruline’s Josh Kesselman and Ron West, Echo Lake’s Brittany Kahan Ward, Doug Mankoff and Andrew Spaulding, Elle Fanning, Mark Winemaker and Matt Shakman. It is produced by Civic Center Media in association with MRC Television.
At Deadline’s recent Contenders event, McNamara revealed that the idea for The Great came to him by chance. “I didn’t know much about her except that maybe she banged a horse,” he said of the famous rumor circulated about Catherine. “And then I heard something about her keeping the Age of Enlightenment alive. So, I read up on her and she seemed to be an amazing character—really complicated and really modern in a lot of ways. That made me want to write about her, and I thought, well, how do I write about her in a way that would make me want to watch it?”
Fanning similarly said that she knew little about the real-life Catherine. “Like Tony, I knew her for the horse incident,” she said, “and I knew she was Empress of Russia, but through this I learned so much more about what she did and how she truly is a feminist icon. She took down The Man. She did it, and that was just so fascinating and exciting to me—to show how she became the person who was able to do that. Because, of course, she was born with those qualities inside her, but she had to learn how to use those qualities.”
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