This Sunday StarzPlay premieres season 2 of The Great, a satire of royalty wild, funny and above all well interpreted. In this new installment, young Catherine, now pregnant with Peter, manages to snatch the throne from her husband and becomes the new queen of Russia. However, his idealism will not last long, because in this story the events happen so vertiginously that it is impossible to be calm for a single second.
The second installment has 10 episodes like the previous one and the incorporation of Gillian Anderson as a guest star. The actress will play Catherine’s mother, who unexpectedly arrives in the country. But of course the second season continues with the main characters from Elle fanning Y Nicholas Hoult, and also those of Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Sacha Dhawan, Belinda Bromilow Y Gwilym Lee, with whom we had the opportunity to speak exclusively before the launch of the series.
The British actor who plays Grigor, Peter’s faithful friend, reflects on the new episodes and his own changes in character.
Gwilym Lee, on her character in The Great: “Grigor finds his voice”
One of the characters that gave Gwilym Lee the most international fame, without a doubt, is that of Brian May in the biopic of Queen, made by Rami Malek. In Bohemian Rhapsody, he gave life to the mythical guitarist and really struck by his true resemblance. But Lee’s career in British theater, film and television goes back several years.
Originally from Bristol, he was born in November 1983, and after high school he studied literature at Cardiff University in Wales, where his parents were born. Little by little he was connecting with plays and it was there that he realized that this was his true passion. After several roles on television, a great opportunity would come in the series Midsomer Murders, a police series with which he managed to become known. Of course, years later the role in film of the celebrated rock band would even make it famous in different parts of the world.
Shortly after that great success in cinema, Lee would start working on The Great, a series created by none other than the screenwriter of The favourite, Tony McNamara. In this satire comedy, the actor is Grigor. And although he is the best friend of King Peter, at the same time he must fight with the multiple humiliations that he makes him live. In this talk, Gwilym tells us in detail what are the changes that his character faces in this installment number two, which will bring surprises especially around him,
The Great is a satirical comedy and it is not based on real events, but do you think that humor in any way helps to reflect on certain issues of that time such as the treatment of women, for example?
Yes, I think the most interesting thing about this is that Tony makes it very clear. It’s not about historical accuracy, so it lets you be surprised by the way these characters spoke at that time or what the rules were like or anything to do with historical manners or something like that. So you can start to think about who these people are, what their relationships are like, or what they want. And yes, I think they use language that today could be liberating or maybe refreshing. Very often, I think, that being in a drama can be suffocating and you can get really attached to that. I mean they don’t talk the way you do or they don’t do the things you do, so… I think that allows the audience to connect with these characters.
Did you know about Tony McNamara’s work before being on the show?
Yes, the truth is that I knew a lot about his work. When we started filming the pilot, I think The Favorite had just been released and I remember seeing it and saying “oh wow”. I mean, I won’t see something like that again. It is that he uses certain very similar tones. So it was really exciting to work with him. Yes, that film was incredibly refreshing, everything you thought you knew, I mean the language that is used, but also the way it all happens, so it’s really a great honor to have the opportunity to be here with him.
And speaking of your character Grigor, why do you think he endures so much humiliation from Peter?
I think it’s because he’s loyal, I wouldn’t see it any other way. Even when he tries to assassinate him by poisoning him in the first season, it is a very tense moment and in it very soon Grigor regrets it. I think that’s why he accepts that humiliation, but what I found very interesting this season is that Grigor can stand up and find his own voice, you know, and find a way to have fun, it’s like freeing himself from that same humiliation and , yes, I think it finds its own place.
And is it possible that he creates a new alliance with a really unexpected character?
Yes I think so. I don’t want to say anything so as not to spoil it, it would ruin the surprise. But everything that happens here is very interesting, that is, the interaction between different characters that perhaps they had not shared much in the previous season. And it was a lot of fun for me and interesting for the character of Grigor. I think the audience will be amazed.
And if you had to describe what this second season will be like, what would you say? What will we find?
Well, I think that the first season is about knowing this world and also the characters and the interesting thing about this season is that we already know who these characters are, so it jumps directly to something else and very deep. From episode 1, you are back to the facts and there is not much description of the above, it goes straight to the point. So I think the interesting thing about this second season is that it is more human and personal. Notice that in these episodes, Catherine will have her baby. I mean, these political animals are going to face each other, but they are also going to have to deal with the fact that they will become the mother and father of this little baby. So this human element is present in the relationship between Catherine and Peter, but also in the other characters, of course. Because we already know who they are, the audience already knows them, that is, they can investigate a little more deeply, I think.
And finally, we want to know if there will be a third season. What do you think? Will it be possible?
Well, there are many more stories to tell, of course. The truth is that we would love it, we will wait to see how everything goes. The truth is that the second season ends with a good hook and it certainly is something that does not end resolved, so there are a lot of stories to tell.
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