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One of the most reliable character actors in Hollywood has joined the increasingly exciting mini-series focused on Russia’s greatest monarch, Catherine the Great. Jason Clarke has signed on board as Grigory Potemkin, Catherine’s lover, and confidant.

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In the early 1760s, Catherine the Great was an ambitious woman married to Russian Czar Peter III. Unable to withstand his bumbling rule, Catherine organized a coup in which Peter was assassinated, and she was installed in his place. While the act was being carried out, Catherine was protected by a soldier named Grigory Potemkin, the man who would become her life’s great love, “despite the fact that he was overweight, rather pompous and missing an eye.”

Though their affair was tumultuous (aka, the stuff of good drama), Potemkin became incredibly dear to Catherine as she steered the Russian nation toward one of its golden eras. She was brilliant, cunning, and willing to risk everything for her country, and Potemkin was the man who kept her secrets.

Though Jason Clarke hasn’t broken through in the public consciousness, that lack of high-level fame has nothing to do with his on-screen ability. Over the last 15 years, Clarke has distinguished himself as an actor capable of taking on any role that comes his way. Whether he’s one part of a trio of moonshining brothers or he’s a domestic terrorist trying to take down the White House, Clarke always imbues his roles with a charisma that makes him a reliable addition to any cast and an especially thrilling add-on to Catherine the Great in particular.

Even if you weren’t ready to tune in to watch Catherine the Great based solely on Mirren’s presence, then the opportunity to see Jason Clarke trade lines with one of the best actors of all time should make the price of admission seem very reasonable.

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