Is there a pair more powerful than a scheming mother and her loyal gay son? As the upcoming drama series Mary & George will prove, this is one dynamic duo not to messed with.
A belated Mother’s Day gift to the world, British broadcaster Sky and AMC Networks have teamed up to share a first look at the historical miniseries based on the real gay scandal that shocked an empire.
In Mary & George, Oscar-winning icon Julianne Moore stars as Mary Villiers, Countess of Buckingham, a woman of humble beginnings who did whatever she could to climb the ranks the monarchy—she’s said to have used marriage as a political pawn, and was quite fond of bribery and collusion, too. Okay, girlboss!
But Mary’s secret weapon was her dear son George, played here by future star of Red, White, & Royal Blue Nicholas Galitzine. Described as beautiful and charismatic, George—at Mary’s bidding—got cozy with King James I of England, and the two eventually became lovers, earning the young 1st Duke of Buckingham the title of “the King’s favorite.”
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Check out some photos of the leading men.
During a time of political unrest (England was under threat of a Spanish invasion—meanwhile, rioters were calling for the king’s denouncement), the Villiers were able to con their way to the top and become one of the country’s richest and most influential families.
Though scholars have long debated the nature of the relationship between King James I and George, it’s widely known that the royal liked to keep company with strapping young lads over the years, so it doesn’t take an academic to deduce what was really going on here.
It’s a fascinating bit of queer history, one seldom told—until now.
Created by celebrated playwright and Killing Eve writer D.C. Moore, Mary & George is based on the non-fiction book The King’s Assassin by Benjamin Woolley. All seven episodes will be helmed by gay filmmaker Oliver Hermanus, who previously directed celebrated queer wartime film Moffie and last year’s Living, which received Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations at the Oscars.
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“It has become something that has helped me identify my own journey of self.”
In addition to Moore and Galitzine—who we personally can’t wait to watch scheming together in ornate, period-accurate costumes—the series will also star Outlaw King‘s Tony Curran as King James I, with Cats‘ Laurie Davidson, Nicola Walker, Niamh Algar, and Simon Russell Beale rounding out the cast.
Though Mary & George does not yet have an official release date, it’s set to air on the Sky Atlantic network in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. AMC Networks is slated to distribute in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India, so stay tuned for more streaming details.