Jul, 6 Posted by Admin

Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult talk to On The Red Carpet about their satirical drama “The Great,” now streaming season 1 on Hulu.



Jun, 19 Posted by Admin

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTERHow does Hollywood see you, Elle? And is it how you want to be seen?

ELLE FANNING When I was 14, I was cast as Sleeping Beauty in Maleficent, and that phone call definitely changed my life and my trajectory and it differentiated me from my sister [Dakota]. That role is very important to me, but also it’s a Disney princess, and I’m this blond and it comes with a certain stigma, right? And that’s the biggest movie I’ve done, so I’m recognized most for it. What was exciting for me about The Great was getting to try out the comedy world. People think of me as doing these serious, dramatic roles or just playing the kid, and I feel like I’m a funny person in real life and I love shocking people and proving that I’m not exactly who they think I am.

Elle, there are a lot of sex scenes in The Great, but there’s considerably more male nudity than female. How does that change a dynamic on set?

FANNING Its interesting, Catherine the Great, in real life, was kind of the first woman who was slut-shamed. I mean, the whole horse rumor [that she possibly had sex with a horse] was created because she loved sex, she was very open and had multiple lovers. Obviously, our story is not a historical document, but a lot of truths are in it, and that’s a big part of Catherine’s character, so sex is incorporated into the show a lot. And of course it’s a period show, so we’re corseted up with multiple layers of skirts and just the logistics of actually getting naked — for the women, it takes a long time. So everyone’s just having fully clothed sex. It’s like, “All right, girls, we’re going to just lift-up your skirt, and that’s fine.” And there was an intimacy coordinator on set, which was new to me.

SEDARIS Wow.

FANNING Yeah, a woman who was there to make sure everyone felt comfortable and also made sure that the sex looked real. There would be times when Nick [Hoult] would be in the wrong position, and she’s like, “It doesn’t look like you’re doing it.” Her name was Ita, and she made sure all the monitors were off when there were nude scenes, and obviously made sure no one did anything that they didn’t feel comfortable with. But it was hard to keep a straight face during those scenes with Nicholas Hoult. He’s hilarious, and I’d be biting down on a pillow when he’s having to thrust and say these lines. And I’m so happy that I had someone that I felt comfortable with, and we could actually be embarrassed in front of each other. That was something that was new for me.

SEDARIS I could never do anything like that.

THEDE What, sex scenes?

SEDARIS Sex scenes or get naked or pose in your underwear. Never. It just doesn’t interest me. It’s just not fun to me.



May, 17 Posted by Admin

VARIETY – There’s something to be said, given all Catherine the Great did in her lifetime as the late 18th-century ruler of Russia, that the unfortunate bestiality rumor — you know, the one about the horse — remains.

“Fake news,” said Elle Fanning on the Variety After Show, presented by National Geographic, on Instagram Live. “It’s pretty sad [that] this extraordinary, almost — dare I say — first feminist icon has been reduced to this horse rumor,” she said.

Fanning plays the Russian empress in her new Hulu satirical series, “The Great,” which kicks off with Catherine’s arrival in the country to wed the mercurial, temperamental Peter (Nicholas Hoult). Her optimism about the union is quickly dissolved as Hoult’s Peter soon reveals his capacity for cruelty and selfishness, leading to her plans for a coup. The show, as Variety critic Caroline Framke puts it, “straddles the line between period drama and slapstick comedy with acrobatic ease.”

“We’re definitely in the pocket of that dark comedy, and [creator] Tony [McNamara]’s writing is so specific and witty and irreverent,” said Fanning. “It’s so fun to play with, but you have to get the tone right — especially the rhythm of the words needs to be at a certain pace. And I think it was so important for us — the whole cast is so gifted dramatically and comedically — so we were able to go back and forth and walk that tightrope.”

Read MoreFanning’s Catherine and Hoult’s Peter deftly trade barbs as she alternately pities him and plots the end of his reign. She and Hoult, who both got their start in the industry at a young age, work “in a similar way.”

“I don’t know if it’s because we were child actors, but we have the same relationship to set and scenes, and we love to challenge each other,” she said of Hoult. “We’re just not embarrassed, which is good for scenes in this show.”

Among Fanning’s other primary scene partners on the show is Phoebe Fox, who plays noblewoman-turned-servant Marial, egging on the Russian empress to take down the petulant Peter. Fox and Fanning became fast friends over the course of the series.

“I love watching those scenes, because we got really close and I think you can see that dynamic on screen that we love each other so much and respect each other,” said Fanning. “She’s so feisty, and Marial is truly the one that’s pushing Catherine forward, because sometimes Catherine’s very unsure, and Marial’s there to give her the confidence.”

Though Catherine and Marial endure a range of cruelties and indignities, from back-lashings to obligatory heir-inducing sex to the general limitations of being a woman in the 18th century, “The Great” doesn’t dwell on long-suffering female characters.

“It’s funny talking about ‘strong female characters’ — sometimes I’m allergic to that term, because I don’t know what that means,” said Fanning. “Of course I think Marial’s strong, Catherine’s strong, but we all have our moments… I think TV especially has carved this amazing area for ‘Fleabags’ and ‘Killing Eves’ and ‘Russian Doll’ — to see these juicy women — but they have different sides, and they don’t always know the right answer. They’re not necessarily the bravest person in the room, either.”

Fanning’s version of Catherine starts out sweet but eventually comes into her own as a political and cultural catalyst for change, and it is those “girlish qualities” that make the Russian ruler “really strong, and get her through to the end.” Fanning’s Catherine “has a bit of an ego and an arrogance that I really love. I don’t know, I feel like I apologize for that. I feel like guys are allowed to have a little more ego than we are… But I think there’s something beautiful about Catherine that she doesn’t apologize for that, she just has this way and she always has a Plan B, C, D.”

The Great” marks Fanning’s debut as an executive producer for a TV series. Having grown up on sets, she has been itching to get behind the scenes of a production. Feeling “very much like” Catherine as she was learning the ropes as a producer, Fanning recalled being on production phone calls and watching cuts and the “nerve-wracking” process of having to offer input on those edits.

“There’s a lot of execs, and it’s a big production, so I was trying to get my voice heard,” she said. “I think I grew in confidence with that, and realized that I have some good points and was able to speak up on those phone calls as it went along. When you’re a part of it and you’re so passionate about it, it just makes it all the better. You want to watch every edit, you want to listen to every music cue, you care about it so much when you’re with it from the very beginning.”

Part of her executive producing role included two days in about seven pitch meetings around town, meeting with various streaming services to hawk “The Great.”

“That was new,” she laughed. “Sometimes you’d walk in, there’d be a lot of men in suits. You’re like, ‘Okay.’ … It felt like a circus, a bit trying to sell ourselves… We all had our own little roles. It was fun. I actually enjoyed it. But you do kind of have to memorize your little thing. It almost feels like school.”

The Great” may be Fanning’s producing debut in television, but she doesn’t mean for it to be her last.

“I hope it will lead to directing,” she said. “I’ve been on the lookout for articles and books and things like that, to get to produce.” Read Less



May, 11 Posted by Admin

Elle Fanning has friends in high places! “The Great” star tells Access Daily’s Mario Lopez and Kit Hoover that she and sister Dakota get a special treat from Tom Cruise every Christmas – and the superstar also sends Dakota a new pair of shoes for her birthday! Elle also reveals why the chance to work with Angelina Jolie on “Maleficent” was so special and teases that her upcoming series, in which she portrays Catherine the Great, is “not your classic period piece.”
The Great” premieres May 15 on Hulu.



Apr, 24 Posted by Admin

Vanity Fair – Oscar-nominated writer and showrunner Tony McNamara doesn’t reckon he’ll get any warm, fuzzy letters from historians about his upcoming Hulu series The Great, a deliciously a-historical take on the rise of Catherine the Great. The series, which stars Elle Fanning as the titular Russian monarch, traces the outline of Catherine’s life, then colors it in with lurid details and wild dialogue dreamt up by McNamara—who also wrote 2018’s The Favourite, a punk period piece about Queen Anne.

“I find period shows too polite on the whole,” he said. “They’re so drowned in their own historical facts.”

In a new trailer for the series, available exclusively on Vanity Fair, Catherine begins settling into life with her new husband, the immature Peter III, played by Nicholas Hoult. “She’s an extreme optimist in the beginning, and has this kind of beautiful look on life and love—and then is in for a real big rude awakening when she gets to Russia,” Fanning said of her character.

Read More In keeping with McNamara’s laissez-faire approach, both Fanning and Hoult said that they didn’t really do any research on the figures they’re playing. (“To be honest with you, absolutely, pretty much nothing,” Hoult emphasized.) Instead, they leaned heavily on McNamara’s dense scripts, as well as on the show’s disclaimer—which proclaims that The Great contains “occasional historical facts and clothes.” One of Hoult’s favorite examples of McNamara’s pithy brilliance can be seen in the trailer, when Peter hires a lover for Catherine, then glances down approvingly at his nether regions and simply quips: “Marvelous.

The actor, who also starred in The Favourite as a haughty court adviser, is quickly becoming a go-to muse for McNamara. “His timing was incredible,” the show creator said. “He had an ability to be likable unlikable, and get away with outrageous things.”

Fanning, on the other hand—also an executive producer on The Great—is a new collaborator in McNamara’s life. “She’s such a wonderful person, and she’s always looking for character work,” he said. “She’s really smart, really funny, really spirited…she’s really an original.”

Prior to writing the series, McNamara knew some broader details about Catherine’s life. But he was captivated by her story as he began to do more research. “She was a young woman who took over an empire. She kept the Enlightenment alive in Europe when it was dying. And she invented the roller coaster,” he pointed out.

Still, he stressed, The Great is more about “the essence of the woman, rather than every historical fact about what happened.” The writer wanted to emphasize who Catherine and Peter might have actually been, on a messy, molecular, day-to-day basis. In other words: “I expect historians will be angry.”

The Great will be available to stream on Hulu on May 15.

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