Oscar winner Helen Mirren, who’s previously played Queen Elizabeth I, will now take on the role o Catherine the Great in a new HBO miniseries, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The news comes hours after another major HBO casting has been announced: Meryl Streep’s role on Big Little Lies season 2.
Catherine the Great will follow the final years in office of the most powerful female monarch in history, focusing particularly on her tumultuous affair with Grigory Potemkin. The story is reportedly being described as one of “obsessive love.” Banned from being able to get married, the promiscuous pair defied convention and were able to greatly shape the face of modern Russia.
Mirren will be reunited with writer Nigel Williams, who penned HBO’s 2005 miniseries Elizabeth I (he was nominated for an Emmy for his work on that show, and Mirren won). In the director’s chair is Philip Martin, who picked up an Emmy for directing Mirren in Prime Suspect.
“I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power,” Mirren said in THR‘s report. “She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word ‘Great’ attached to her name.”
With Big Little Lies moving to the Drama category for season 2, Catherine the Great now becomes poised to sweep in the Limited Series category.