EXCLUSIVE: After a worldwide talent search, Sennia Nanua has been cast as a lead opposite Samantha Morton in Starz’s The Serpent Queen, an eight-part period drama about Catherine de Medici, from writer and executive producer Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road), Francis Lawrence & Erwin Stoff. Production is underway in France.
Based on Leonie Frieda’s book Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France. The Serpent Queen is described as “a cunning account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown. Considered an immigrant, common and plain, Catherine de Medici (Morton) is married into the 16th century French court as an orphaned teenager expected to bring a fortune in dowry and produce many heirs, only to discover that her husband is in love with an older woman, her dowry is unpaid and she’s unable to conceive. Yet, only with her intelligence and determination, she manages to keep her marriage alive and masters the bloodsport that is the monarchy better than anyone else, ruling France for 50 years.”
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Nanua will play Rahima, the young servant girl who is assigned to wait on Catherine. She is abused and shunned by the palace staff but would prefer any such treatment to a one-on-one meeting with the evil Queen. And rightly so. We see that Catherine has an active interest in Rahima. She is not just looking for a willing ear for the defense she is making to the history books. She is intent on showing how a good, God-fearing girl like Rahima could also be corrupted to commit bad deeds if pushed around enough.
Stacie Passon will direct multiple episodes, including the premiere episode. Executive producers are also Francis Lawrence and Erwin Stoff. The Serpent Queen is produced for Starz by Lionsgate Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Eighteen-year-old Nanua first drew praise for her award-winning title role in The Girl With All The Gifts opposite Gemma Arterton and Glenn Close. Nanua was awarded Best Actress at the Sitges Film Festival for her performance, and was nominated for a Critics Choice Award and a British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Nanua was also selected as one of 2016’s Stars of Tomorrow, a prestigious honor awarded to young talent in the UK.
Nanua was recently seen in Ira Sachs’ Frankie, opposite Marisa Tomei and Isabelle Huppert, which premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and in Jessica Hynes’ writing/directing debut The Fight. She is repped by Paradigm, Hamilton Hodell, and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.
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