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Interview: Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult on the Evolution of Catherine and Peter in ‘The Great’

Catherine the Great was a formidable leader, but her story has never been told in the way it is on Hulu’s The Great. After an enthralling first two seasons, the show returns for a third round, this time with Catherine (Elle Fanning) and Peter (Nicholas Hoult) exploring an unprecedented partnership punctuated by a mutual affection for each other.

Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Fanning and Hoult about their feelings going into season three. Hoult commented on whether he has deliberately tried to make Peter more endearing:

“I don’t think that’s something I was consciously working on. I think that’s something that’s brilliant about Tony’s writing. It happened a few episodes into season one, I think, for me, reading the script anyway, because you start to unravel his parents and see where he came from and perhaps just a few clues as to why he is the way he is at times. That was the beginning of it for me in terms of making him, not likeable, because I’m not trying to make him likeable, but I think there are moments where you can have an understanding of him, I suppose, which would make his bizarre behavior at times and thoughtlessness somewhat, maybe, charming.”

Elle spoke about Catherine having to contend with becoming more hardened:

“I feel like I always knew that it was a trajectory. To rule a country, you’re going to have to toughen up at some point. Catherine, in this season, really does shed that naivety that she had. There is that sense of hope and destiny that is always pulsing throughout her, which can bring that childlike quality, that sparkle that she has, but I think, in this season, it is dimmed a bit, which was fun to play. And she’s seen so many things now, living in this court and ruling this country. She’s had to get violent herself. She’s toughened up at this point. Not a lot can faze her.”

Watch the full conversation below.

All ten episodes of season three of The Great premiere Friday, May 12th on Hulu.


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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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