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Helen Mirren Is Heading To HBO To Play Catherine The Great

Sarah Winchester Helen Mirren Winchester

HBO is on a roll lately with snagging veteran actresses. Just days after the network announced the casting of Meryl Streep in Season 2 of Big Little Lies, its been announced the network will also welcome another big name to a previously announced miniseries they're collaborating with European network Sky to make. Helen Mirren is headed to HBO to play the Russian Empress Catherine The Great in a project that follows the monarch near the end of her reign.

Catherine The Great will be told in four parts and feature one of the most powerful female monarchs in world's reign and romantic affair with Grigory Potemkin. Helen Mirren will play the monarch, who was known to be promiscuous, as the story details the two's affair and how they shaped Russia into the nation it is known as today. THR reported no casting has been announced for the role of Grigory Potemkin, who will likely have a sizable role in the miniseries alongside Mirren.

Helen Mirren's casting was hinted at earlier this month when it was revealed she was working with the series' director Phillip Martin on developing the Catherine The Great. Martin, who has done a fair amount of directing for Netflix's monarch series The Crown, has worked with Mirren prior on the crime series Prime Suspect, where he won an Emmy for directing. Mirren has also worked with Catherine The Great writer Nigel Williams, as the two both were a part of another historical HBO miniseries, Elizabeth I. This miniseries will mark the third collaboration between HBO and Sky, with HBO getting the rights to the series' airings in America and Canada. Production on Catherine The Great is set to begin at some point this year.

Helen Mirren's casting, while an amazing grab, should come as no surprise. Mirren has played various monarchs throughout her career, and has portrayed everyone from Queen Charlotte to Queen Elizabeth I & II. Mirren hasn't yet portrayed Catherine The Great, but her various past roles will have no doubt prepared her for the regal role she's about to take on. Mirren sounds jazzed to play the Empress, as her official statement regarding her casting talked about the traits of the monarch that will undoubtedly make Catherine The Great such an interesting series:

I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power. She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word 'Great' attached to her name, Catherine the Great. I am very grateful to have HBO and Sky as partners in this endeavor. There are no other homes on television that bring the support and understanding needed for this kind of project.

Helen Mirren has to be excited about the role, considering it was she that approached executive producer David M. Thompson with the idea for the series. Thompson mentioned the role was one Mirren has long been excited to play, and her statement above sounds as though she thinks HBO will allow her to portray the character exactly the way she wishes to. Mirren has a history of award show recognition when she plays a queen, so hopefully, Catherine The Great is no exception.

Catherine The Great is coming to HBO and is slated to enter production at some point this year. For a look at some shows that are out of production and ready to premiere on television, visit our midseason premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.