‘The Great’ – Catherine up, Peter down in Season 2 of Hulu comedy

A woman, a country and a baby

Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney star in “The Wheel of Time,” premiering Friday on Amazon.

A newly ascendant Catherine appears to be gaining ground in her war with Peter as Hulu’s irreverent historical comedy “The Great” returns for Season 2.

Premiering Friday, Nov. 19, the 10-episode sophomore round finds a very pregnant Catherine (Elle Fanning) grappling with impending motherhood as well as trying to liberate a country that perhaps doesn’t want to be. She’ll also battle with her court, her team, and even her own mother to bring the enlightenment to Russia.

And then, of course, there is the lingering presence of Peter (Nicholas Hoult), the husband she despises and now has as her prisoner. He’s clearly still in deeply love with her and their unborn child and as determined as ever to retake the throne, so it remains to be seen whether this couple and their love/hate relationship are indeed finished.

Elle Fanning stars in Season 2 of “The Great,” premiering Friday on Hulu.

In addition to Fanning and Hoult (who are also executive producers), the series returns much of its first season cast, including Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge and Sacha Dhawan. And as in Season 1, the profane, loopy comedy is even more in evidence this time around, driven by the chemistry between Fanning and Hoult.

“I felt like Season 2 we were really going for it and embarrassing ourselves and saying lines just trying things which then inevitably is just funny,” Fanning explains. “And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t so we’re always trying to just see what sticks. And that’s what’s so great about the set and the environment that we create on the set because it’s very warm and loving and no judgment. So yeah, I can laugh at anyone right in their face and it’s like no judgment, right? I think it’s a good thing.”

“There’s a little bit of judgment in those moments when you’re on the receiving end of it,” deadpans Hoult.

The new round also has a very parental theme, as Catherine now sports a very pronounced baby bump and evinces some of the strange cravings that come with pregnancy, including one disgusting one she indulges in the first episode.

But the unborn child also serves as her shield against any harm Peter might be contemplating, which Fanning says Catherine understands very well.

“She knows if, you know, while … (the baby is) in there, she’s safe and Peter’s not going to kill her with the baby in there,” Fanning says. “So she’s kind of understanding that and then also having to become a mother to the country. So the baby bump really symbolized a lot of things, but it was, yeah, fun to wear, I guess. It was hot at times.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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