‘The Great’ production designer Francesca Di Mottola on building a whole new wing for the troubled royals [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I was very excited about the idea of just building a whole new wing of the palace where Catherine and Peter sort of get together in this season after going through a lot of turmoil and trying to kill each other,” remembers “The Great” production designer Francesca Di Mottola about taking the historical comedy series to new places in season three. We talked to Di Mottola as part of our “Meet the Experts” TV production designers panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“The Great” is the occasionally true story of Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) and her marriage to Peter III of Russia (Nicholas Hoult). At the end of season two, the conflict between them has come to a head with Catherine stabbing Peter repeatedly in the back — only to discover to her relief that it wasn’t Peter at all. Their uneasy romance thus continues in season three. “They’re not happy in each other’s apartments because of the history that they carry and so we ended up creating a new apartment,” Di Mottola explains, “but the way we got there was through a lot of conversations and me pitching crazy ideas where Peter was like this crazy decorator whilst Catherine was focused on reigning.”

Di Mottola adds about the season’s new builds, “Peter the Great‘s apartment, it’s a whole wing. So what we do see of this wing is the bedroom, which is like a whole apartment itself composed by this big sitting room, a bedroom and a study, which … becomes Catherine’s study, and then it opens up into what we call the games room.” That space alone encompasses much activity during the season, “from having your classical Russian sauna to playing badminton. So that was one big build that we really enjoyed specifically creating for this season.”

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