If you’re looking for something super sharp to watch that’s absolutely brimming with energy, look no further than The Great on Hulu. It’s a 10-episode satirical dramedy starring Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great. In the fictionalized account of her journey to becoming the empress of Russia, The Great begins with Catherine on the hunt for love. She’s hopeful she’ll find that with Nicholas Hoult’s Emperor Peter, but any faith she has for a “happily every after” with him is quickly extinguished thanks to his outrageous antics, cruel tendencies and his backwards way of running the country. So now what’s left for Catherine to do? Figure out a way to kill him, of course, so that she can take over herself.
With The Great now available to watch on Hulu, I got the chance to catch up with Fanning and Hoult for an extended interview. Not only did we talk about making The Great, including Fanning’s experience serving as a producer and what it was like for the two of them to nail the very specific cadence of Catherine and Peter’s back-and-forths, but they also detailed their journeys from child stars to major franchises, pinpointing career goals, and so much more. You can catch the full conversation in the video at the top of this article and if you’d like to jump around, we’ve got a handy breakdown of the full chat for you below.
Nicholas Hoult & Elle Fanning:
- 00:47 – Hoult on the major impression Hugh Grant made on him while making About a Boy.
- 01:30 – Fanning on working with Sally Potter on Ginger & Rosa, and why that movie was a game-changing experience – including her first kiss!
- 02:33 – Why they’d like to learn more about the editing process; Fanning on what it was like serving as a producer on The Great.
- 04:57 – Fanning on how growing up in the industry influenced her goals as a producer now.
- 06:15 – Why Hoult has always made an effort to not take the easy route and have great variety in his filmography.
- 08:22 – Fanning on holding tight to viewing acting as dress-up and keeping that child-like imagination alive; thriving when she’s under pressure.
- 10:57 – Hoult on the location used in The Great; the similarities to The Favourite.
- 11:45 – Making the decision to jump into a major film franchise for the very first time; Hoult talks about his X-Men experience.
- 14:50 – What’s it like committing to a TV series versus a film? Does it require more thought because it’s a bigger time commitment?
- 16:33 – Assembling a team for The Great; did they have rehearsal time to figure out the pace and tone?
- 18:26 – Hoult and Fanning are very in sync in The Great; what do they do when they have a scene partner where that’s not the case?
- 21:20 – What it was like for Fanning to work with different directors on the same project for the first time.
- 22:15 – Of everyone in The Great ensemble, who surprised them most with what they did from script to set?
- 23:28 – What was it about The Nightingale script that made Elle and Dakota Fanning say, “Now’s the time to lead a movie together?”
- 24:53 – Fanning talks about the Batgirl connection between her and Nicolas Winding Refn.