Becoming Elizabeth, a new series that chronicles the English monarch’s origin story, premieres Sunday on Starz. Alicia von Rittberg stars as a teenage Elizabeth I, and she and the show’s cast told ABC Audio they were eager to explore a period of history not often portrayed on screen.
“She's just so wise beyond her years that I think it's just mind blowing,” von Rittberg says of getting to portray the younger Elizabeth.
Tom Cullen, who plays Elizabeth’s scheming stepfather, Thomas Seymour, argues that although there have been other projects about the final Tudor monarch, this one stands out.
“This is a period of history that I had just no idea about,” he says. “And for me, I couldn’t believe it, because it feels so important to understand one of the most iconic characters that’s ever lived.”
As part of the cast’s deep dive into this mysterious time period, they learned a lot about their characters -- including some surprisingly scandalous facts.
Jamie Blackley, who plays Elizabeth’s close friend Robert Dudley, and Jessica Raine, who plays Elizabeth’s stepmother, Queen Catherine, shared what they uncovered.
“Apparently [Dudley] had an insatiable sex drive, and he kept a bottle of lotion by his bed!” Blackley says with a laugh.
Raine says she learned Catherine “was prone to using foul language when she was angry.” “It instantly made me love her even more,” she admits.
Meanwhile Romola Garai, who plays Mary Tudor, learned who her character actually was. “When they originally sent the scripts … I thought that was Mary Queen of Scots!” she says. “Mary Tudor has been sort of slightly ignored by the history books -- unfairly -- because I think she was a really interesting woman.”