HBO's Catherine the Great Promises Empire, Helen Mirren's Heaving Bosoms

Screenshot: HBO

Helen Mirren’s new turn as Catherine the Great looks steamy, which makes sense, considering how history has treated Catherine the Great and also given that you legally can no longer make a costume drama without sex, I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules.

HBO has announced that its limited series starring Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great—apparently she’s going for the EGOT of playing famous queens, having already done Elizabeth I, Elizabeth II, and Charlotte—will premiere October 21, just in time for you to assemble an incredibly slapdash Halloween costume. The plot, for those who’ve a little fuzzy on world history, via Deadline:

The drama is set against the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of Russian empress Catherine the Great (Mirren) who wielded supreme power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th century. The series follows Catherine towards the end of her reign during her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin (Clarke). Amid scandal, intrigue and immense conflict, they develop a unique and devoted relationship, overcoming their adversaries and together serving as the architects of modern-day Russia through a series of liberalizing reforms.

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Apparently the role was written just for her; Vanity Fair, which debuted the trailer, said:

The project was apparently kick-started when Mirren said in an interview that she would one day like to play the monarch, who ruled during Russia’s Golden Era and had a notoriously rocky marriage to Peter III. Producers David Thompson and Charles Pattinson heard the word and quickly made it so. Now Mirren hopes the four-part miniseries will help people see Catherine in a new light.

I assume that means she wants to correct for all the horse jokes.

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