The Great trailer

Tony McNamara, the writer of Yorgos Lanthimos’s razor-sharp 2018 movie The Favourite, is once again exploring a woman’s quest for power – this time as the creator, writer, and executive producer of a new Hulu series called The Great. The Favourite‘s Nicholas Hoult seems to enjoy playing a fool, because he’s at it again here as Peter III, the wildly unqualified Emperor of Russia, while Elle Fanning (Maleficent) plays his new wife, who quickly grows weary of her husband’s foolishness and plots to overthrow him. Check out the full trailer below.

The Great Trailer

McNamara has been writing professionally since the early 1990s, but The Favourite took his career to the next level, and he’s following it up with more palace intrigue and political backstabbing. He’s certainly proven to have a knack for that type of storytelling, and you can’t blame the guy for exploiting an underserved niche. But I’m curious to see if audiences will accept this show, which has all the trappings of a period piece but considerably more modern dialogue than The Favourite did and seems to play slightly fast and loose with actual history. (Reminds me a little of Brian Helgeland’s Heath Ledger-starring movie A Knight’s Tale, but thrown in a blender with Armando Ianucci’s The Death of Stalin.)

Still, it’s hard to deny the appeal of any show in which a dog is thrown out of a window with a parachute attached, or in which a supremely confident man has his confidence shattered after he mispronounces a word and is called on it by a woman he views as inferior. Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, Sacha Dhawan, Sebastian de Souza, Bayo Gbadamosi, and Belinda Bromilow round out the cast.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The Great is a satirical, comedic drama about the rise of Catherine the Great (Fanning) from outsider to the longest reigning female ruler in Russia’s history. Season One is a fictionalized, fun and anachronistic story of an idealistic, romantic young girl, who arrives in Russia for an arranged marriage to the mercurial Emperor Peter (Hoult). Hoping for love and sunshine, she finds instead a dangerous, depraved, backward world that she resolves to change. All she has to do is kill her husband, beat the church, baffle the military and get the court onside. A very modern story about the past which encompasses the many roles she played over her lifetime as lover, teacher, ruler, friend, and fighter.

The Great premieres on Hulu on May 15, 2020.

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