Richard Roxburgh joins Helen Mirren in ‘Catherine the Great’

Richard Roxburgh in ‘Rake’ (Photo: ABC)

Richard Roxburgh is playing Grigory Orlov, a former lover of the 18th Century Russian Empress in the HBO/Sky UK miniseries Catherine the Great.

Helen Mirren is playing the title role in the four-part drama written by Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I, Wodehouse in Exile) which is now shooting in palaces and on sets in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania.

With his brother Alexei (Kevin McNally) Roxburgh’s character helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power. Gina McKee is Countess Bruce, her lifelong friend and confidant, with Joseph Quinn as Prince Paul, Catherine’s son and heir.

Rory Kinnear is Minister Panin, a skillful politician, adviser and governor to Prince Paul, and Sam Palladio as Alexander Vasilichikov, Catherine’s young lover.

Jason Clarke is Grigory Potemkin, a Russian military commander who became Catherine’s lover and favoured statesman. Despite scandal, intrigue and immense conflict, they had a devoted relationship and served as the architects of modern-day Russia.

The cast also includes Clive Russell, Lucas Englander, Antonia Clarke, Paul Ritter, Paul Kaye, Thomas Doherty, James Northcoate and Andrew Rothney.

The producers are Origin Pictures and New Pictures. BAFTA and Emmy Award winner Philip Martin (The Crown, Mo, Prime Suspect) is the director.

Coincidentally, Tony McNamara reportedly is writing and will executive produce The Great, a pilot for a limited series for Hulu on the same subject, which will star Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult.

The Rake star is in high demand with roles in Guy Pearce’s Poor Boy, Kriv Stenders’ Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, Owen Trevor’s Go Karts and Kim Farrant’s Angel of Mine.

After starring as Ted Kennedy in John Curran’s Chappaquiddick, the Spierig brothers’ Winchester with Helen Mirren and in Dee Rees’ critically-acclaimed Mudbound, Clarke will next be seen in Damien Chazelle’s First Man as Edward Higgins White, the first American to walk in space.

Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong in Universal Pictures’ Apollo 11 saga which opens here and in the US next week.