‘The Great’: Elle Fanning Refashions the Empress of Russia into a Ribald Feminist Icon

The delicious words of writer and series creator Tony McNamara are what drew Elle Fanning to star as the titular Empress of Russia, Catherine, in Hulu’s series “The Great.” In this wild comedy, Fanning turns Catherine into a modern feminist icon up against the foul-mouthed royal boys’ club led by Peter III (Nicholas Hoult), a misogynistic dolt who she’s been forced to marry to escape a dreary life in Prussia.Fanning said that coming into the role, she didn’t know much about the Empress of Russia, except of course for that rumor that Catherine died while trying to have sex with a horse.

“Sadly, that is all I knew,” she said.

“Tony’s script isn’t the blueprint for everything that happened and is not a historical documentary.

But he’s done a lot of research on Catherine and taken out the bits that would service him.

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