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Posted by admin on August 12th, 2020 / No Comments

Two years after director Yorgos Lanthimos turned Tony McNamara’s script “The Favourite” into a twisted, Oscar-winning look at the British court of Queen Anne, McNamara himself has applied the same sensibility to 18th-century Russia in “The Great.” The Hulu series stars Nicholas Hoult as the egotistical but inept Peter III and Elle Fanning as his young, naïve wife Catherine, who would go on to lead Russia for more than 30 years.

The opening credits to each episode call “The Great” “an occasionally true story,” and certainly there’s a distinctly modern sensibility and a load of deliberate anachronisms in the portrayal of the dysfunctional Russian court. The series is blackly comic feast centered on the delicious feuding between Hoult, played by “The Favorite” vet Nicholas Hoult, and Catherine, played by Elle Fanning with a breezy combination of innocence and steel. Fanning, who also served as an executive producer on the series, spoke to TheWrap about “The Great” on the day that Hulu renewed it for a second season.

You got involved with this before it actually was a TV series, right?
Yes, that’s true. I was sent a film script, which was written by Tony based off a (2008) play that he put on in Australia. Tony, I guess, had been thinking of me, but the young Catherine was just a small kind of sliver in that big script, because it really spanned her entire life.

And there’s so much information there, it just seemed right that this should be a television series. And I was allowed to hop on board as an executive producer of the show before it was picked up. It was stepping into that role behind the scenes, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but then also getting to play an incredible character with the best script I’ve ever read.

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Posted by admin on August 12th, 2020 / No Comments

“We actually pride ourselves on the lack of historical accuracy,” says Fanning of bawdy, satirical and not-so-accurate tale from the writer behind ‘The  Favourite.’

Lying atop the red velvety covers of an ornate four-poster bed in a gold-soaked set on a rainy day in London, a sickly looking Nicholas Hoult takes swigs from a bottle of water between takes.

“Men love me for my parties, women and … [gulp] … delicious food,” he splutters moments later after the camera begins rolling (bottle now hidden under the blanket), groaning and retching while Elle Fanning, in a corseted light-green gown and tightly curled blond wig, stands at his feet, feigning concern.

“And women love me for my massive cock.”

Welcome to the world of The Great, Hulu’s bawdy, satirical and not exactly (in many cases, not remotely) historically accurate retelling of the early years of Russia’s famed 18th century monarch Catherine the Great.

“We actually pride ourselves on the lack of historical accuracy,” says Fanning with a laugh, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter during the Nov. 26 set visit from a room just around the corner, this one littered with ornate chairs (most protected by plastic sheeting). In her first TV role, Fanning plays the pre-Great royal as a fresh-faced 20-year-old thrown into the “bonkers” universe of her feeble-minded, mistress-loving emperor husband, Hoult’s Peter III, and the maneuvering and plotting that would see her — eventually — ascend the throne.

“He’s a bad guy, but I don’t dislike him,” says Hoult, adding that The Great’s somewhat casual approach to the truth meant he didn’t feel the need to read up on his character, as he normally would for such a role. “He’s up-front and honest, and that is kind of likable. Sure, he does terrible things, but he’s very open about it.”

Later on in the scene, Peter III ruminates on the things he hoped to achieve in his lifetime as ruler, including renaming July after himself.

“Each line of dialogue is something you’ll probably never get to say on another show, or any other time,” says Hoult with a laugh.

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Posted by admin on August 12th, 2020 / No Comments

A grown-up child star finding her creative power in playing one of history’s most cunning female rulers — the metaphor would be a bit on the nose if it weren’t crafted as thoughtfully as Elle Fanning’s portrayal of Catherine II, the longest-reigning Empress of Russia, on The Great.

The actress steps strikingly into the Golden Era of the empire’s 18th century Enlightenment on the lauded Hulu series, though it takes her character a moment to see past the glitz and glamour. “She starts out as this romantic and very optimistic young girl,” Fanning tells ET of her Catherine, scripted to cunning perfection by The Favourite screenwriter Tony McNamara, who created the series, “and basically is slapped in the face with reality and realizes, ‘OK, this is not the life that I wanted, so I’m going to make the life that I want.'”

The Great’sfirst season portrays just a fragment of Catherine’s fictionalized story — spanning from the moment she meets her husband-to-be, Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult, who expertly toes the line between stupidity and sadism), to the moment she makes her move to overthrow him and take the country for her own. The part was originally conceived as a smaller section in a McNamara play encompassing Catherine’s entire life, but carving out a few years of her early reign — just as The Crown does with Queen Elizabeth II — allows viewers to dive deeper into the details of the monarchy. Unlike The Crown, however, The Great plays fast and loose with historical accuracy, with colorblind casting and a bawdy, Favourite-esque tone.

“Historians probably don’t like us very much, the way that we tell it,” Fanning admits with a laugh. “I did a bit of research, but to be honest, that wasn’t where my attention mainly was. I learned that the real Catherine the Great invented the roller coaster and I was like, OK, she’s a fun person. Seems like someone I would like to be friends with.”

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Posted by admin on August 12th, 2020 / No Comments

The star and executive producer of the bawdy historical comedy on boundaries, blood, and bare bottoms.

As Emmy nominations approach, Vanity Fair’s HWD team is once again diving deep into some of the shows that struck us most, and asking actors and creators how the season’s greatest scenes and characters came together.

The Character: Catherine the Great, The Great

In The Great’s first episode, a pink-cheeked Catherine (Elle Fanning) pilots a flower-entwined swing and burbles to a friend about how romantic her wedding to Russian Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) will be. But after Catherine is delivered from her sleepy German village to the Russian palace, her girlish dreams are dashed when she meets the tyrannical and narcissistic Peter. As she solemnly presents him with an evergreen as a symbol of their love, he turns to one of his minions and barks, “She gave me a twig. She’s not another inbred, is she?”

It’s the abrupt end of her innocent imaginings, as well as the start of a young woman’s campaign, aided by her wit and charm, to plot a putsch—after Catherine learns that if Peter just happens to be killed, she can claim the throne.

“It’s been phenomenal to watch Elle grow into this character as a performer, to balance a tightrope in bringing her to life as this woman who is naive but strong, and also powerless at times,” says Hoult. “[She’s] understanding this new world she’s been thrown into, and also her raison d’être.”

Fanning brings great depth and dimension to her character’s evolution, holding fast to Catherine’s humanity and vulnerability even as she grows ruthlessly cunning—particularly in the season’s final episode, when she learns just what her power grab will cost her. Below, Fanning explains what drew her to Catherine, the toughest part of filming The Great’s intimate scenes, and the surprising request she made as an executive producer of the show.

Vanity Fair: As Catherine immerses herself in court intrigue and consolidates power, she wavers between confidence and naivete. Was that a hard balance to strike?

Elle Fanning: [The role] challenged me in a way that I haven’t been challenged before. As a character, Catherine has one of my favorite qualities, which is that she’s extremely arrogant. She has a huge ego and doesn’t apologize for it, which was so fun to play. But she also questions herself, and has these weaknesses—these moments of really not knowing if she’s up for the challenge too—which was important to me. I’m not interested in playing “She’s strong all the time. She’s the bravest and she always makes the right decisions!” I don’t want to watch that.

I also love that she’s very romantic, but she learns that her love affair over the whole season is really her love for Russia. Which was interesting. Her most important quality, too, is her youth. Youth is such a big factor in the decisions she makes—and sometimes they’re a bit rash, but she’s young and she’s learning. And she’s a different woman at the end of it.

You have known your costar Nicholas Hoult since you were 14 and costarred in the film Young Ones. Did that familiarity make things easier during the sex scenes?

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Posted by admin on August 12th, 2020 / No Comments

The English actor Sebastian de Souza knows a thing or two about making an entrance. Take, for example, his first scene on Hulu’s The Great, in which Peter (Nicholas Hoult) asks—well, orders—Leo, De Souza’s character, to pull his pants down to assess his, er, talents. Leo’s role is to please and entertain Catherine the Great, played deliciously by Elle Fanning in the series that draws loosely from the life of the infamous Empress of Russia.

The 27-year-old British multi-hyphenate—on top of acting, he’s a singer, songwriter, and screenwriter—is no stranger to edgy roles that flirt with recklessness. De Souza worried mothers worldwide with his portrayal of Matty Levan on the grimy teen series Skins. Soon after, he dove deep into the world of period pieces, appearing on Showtime’s The Borgias and the medieval Italian drama Medici, alongside Richard Madden. Lately, the actor has been seen in Normal People, Hulu’s buzzy adaptation of the hit Sally Rooney novel. Though it’s a small role, his intervention in the central romance has turned his character into “enemy number one,” he says, for fans of the show. Luckily, his sensual portrayal of Leo in The Great has won over many hearts—and the praise of critics. De Souza got on the phone with Fanning to discuss his dream of becoming the next Elton John, spinach dip, and that peach scene. Huzzah!

SEBASTIAN DE SOUZA: Hi, Elle. How are you?

ELLE FANNING: I’m good. Did you make any pies today? I watched you making that pie the other day. It looked so good.

DE SOUZA: No, you didn’t.

FANNING: Yes, I did. I’m cooking-obsessed.

DE SOUZA: What are you cooking these days?

FANNING: I did lamb recently, and I’ve made some really good spinach dip. I did that in the oven.

DE SOUZA: What do you dip into the spinach?

FANNING: Well, bread or pita chips.

DE SOUZA: Delicious. Well, I’ve got lots of questions for you, Elle.

FANNING: Oh my gosh. I have questions for you, too. I’ve never really asked you this, but why did you decide to act? When did you realize that you were going to follow this artistic life?

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Posted by admin on June 21st, 2020 / No Comments

Deadline’s Contenders Television, which just wrapped its nine-hour telecast, broke ground in multiple ways. An invitation-only event held annually at a large theater, it went virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The live-streamed presentation also set a record with its largest roster of participants ever, 44 shows from 22 studios and networks.

You can explore Deadline’s extensive panel-by-panel print coverage here.

In another first, Deadline on Monday will launch a Contenders Television streaming site featuring all the panel videos, which were pre-recorded with talent video-conferencing from locations around the world — from the Australian Bush (Russell Crowe), Rome (Willem Dafoe), and London (Cate Blanchett, among others) to the East Coast, the West Coast and all points between.

The impressive talent roster also includes Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Anderson, Ramy Youssef, Trevor Noah, Jim Parsons, Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Steve Carell, John Malkovich, David Harbour, Jerrika Hinton, Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Hailee Steinfeld, Lucy Liu, Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, Derek Waters, Pedro Pascal, Claire Danes, Forest Whitaker, Rita Moreno, Will Arnett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale, Sarah Paulson, Robin Thede, Kathryn Hahn, Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Niecy Nash, Pamela Adlon, Marcia Gay Harden, 50 Cent, Monica Raymund, Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy as well as a slew of A-list creators, showrunners and producers.

They were interviewed by Deadline writers Pete Hammond, Dominic Patten, Peter White, Antonia Blyth, Dino-Ray Ramos, Anthony D’Alessandro, Amanda N’Duka and Joe Utichi, the latter of whom also hosted the virtual event.

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Posted by admin on June 21st, 2020 / No Comments

How 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 It’s 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.

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Posted by admin on June 16th, 2020 / No Comments

I have added some more new magazine scans featuring to Elle Fanning. More are coming!




Posted by admin on June 10th, 2020 / No Comments

Fanning discusses her new Hulu series, TikTok dances, how to perfect the poached egg and her reality TV obsession

In late March, Elle Fanning was supposed to go off to Budapest to film The Nightingale, based on Kristin Hannah’s bestselling novel about two sisters struggling to survive in Nazi-occupied France. Her co-star—for the first time since they made plays together at home as toddlers—was meant to be her older sister, Dakota, who is four years her senior.

But, as happened with most Hollywood movies and television series in production during the COVID-19 crisis, just a few days before the siblings were set to depart from Los Angeles for Hungary, shooting on The Nightingale was canceled, its release date postponed indefinitely.

“We’ve dreamed of this for a long time, and we talked for a while about what project could get us together,” says the 22-year-old Fanning, who underlines that they will star in The Nightingale at some point in the future. “We thought maybe we didn’t want to play sisters, but we’ve grown up in this industry and have a unique understanding of what it means to be sisters. So, at least the sister part we’ve got down.”

Though they were already quite close, at the moment, they are closer than ever, hunkered down at the family home in California’s San Fernando Valley, where Fanning usually lives with her mother and grandmother when she’s not filming somewhere on location. Now, Dakota, who was recently living in New York City, is bunking there, too.

“It’s a rare occasion that we get to be together,” Fanning says. “So we’re enjoying each other’s company.”

It will be easy, then, for the entire Fanning family to have a premiere party for her new series, The Great, which they can all binge together on Hulu. On the show, Fanning stars as a young Catherine the Great, sowing her seeds in a new marriage to Russia’s Peter III, played by Nicholas Hoult.

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Posted by admin on June 9th, 2020 / No Comments

I have added some new magazine scans of Elle Fanning to the gallery. More are coming!



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All the Bright Places

Role: Violet Markey
Release Date: 2020
The story of Violet and Theodore, who meet and change each other's lives forever. As they struggle with the emotional and physical scars of their past, they discover that even the smallest places and moments can mean something.
The Roads Not Taken

Role: Molly
Release Date: 2020
Sally Potter's film follows a day in the life of Leo (Javier Bardem) and his daughter, Molly (Elle Fanning), as he floats through alternate lives he could have lived, leading Molly to wrestle with her own path as she considers her future.
The Great (TV Series)

Role: Catherine
Release Date: 2020
A royal woman living in rural Austria during the seventeenth century is forced to choose between her own personal happiness and the future of Russia, when she marries an Emperor.
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Release Date: 2021
The lives of two sisters living in France are torn apart at the onset of World War II. Based on Kristin Hannah's novel 'The Nightingale'.
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