Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great

Hal Shinnie/HBO



Helen Mirren won the Best Actress Oscar as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen." And she'll surely be an Emmys frontrunner as Russian empress Catherine the Great in HBO's limited series.

"Catherine the Great" is now filming in palaces and other sets across Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

The four-part HBO/Sky miniseries doesn't have an air date yet, but it does have a phenomenal supporting cast and a first look photo of Catherine herself. That's the pic above. The miniseries will cover the later years of Catherine's impressive 34-year reign as she worked to build Russians reputation as one of the great powers of Europe.

Helen Mirren -- really *Dame* Helen Mirren -- is one of the executive producers of this miniseries as well as the main star.

Here's the logline:
"Set against the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of Russian empress Catherine the Great, who wielded supreme power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th century, the limited series follows Catherine towards the end of her reign during her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin. Amid scandal, intrigue and immense conflict, they develop a unique and devoted relationship, overcoming their adversaries and together serving as the architects of modern-day Russia."

Here's HBO's breakdown of the impressive cast:
• Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great, the Russian Empress who was strong-minded, independent, brilliantly intelligent and sexually liberated – the definition of the modern woman.

Jason Clarke as Grigory Potemkin, a Russian military commander who became Catherine the Great’s lover, favored statesman and life-long friend.

• Joseph Quinn as Paul, Catherine’s son and heir.

Gina McKee as Countess Bruce, Catherine’s lifelong friend and confidante.

Rory Kinnear as Minister Panin, a skillful politician, advisor and governor to Catherine’s son.

Richard Roxburgh as Grigory Orlov, one of Catherine’s former lovers, who helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power.

Kevin R. McNally as Alexei Orlov, who, with his brother Grigory, helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power.

Sam Palladio as Alexander Vasilichikov, Catherine’s young lover.

Clive Russell as The Fool

• Lucas Englander as Lieutenant Mirovich

Antonia Clarke as Princess Sophie

Paul Ritter as General Suvorov

Paul Kaye as Pugachev

Thomas Doherty as Peter Zavadovsky

• Raphael Acloque as Platon Zubov

• James Northcoate as Alexander Bezborodko

• Andrew Rothney as Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov

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