E! presents their first scripted series, a fictional British royal family that has scandals with sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, Sundays at 10|9c on E! **** 4 Stars
By Gabrielle Pantera
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Daily Star) 2015/3/15 – “Well, I thought to myself when I got offered this part, what would it have been like if Princess Diana had become Queen of England,” says The Royals star Elizabeth Hurley. “Because I felt she was someone we could identify with more because she’s a more similar age group and then her kids would be about the age of these kids now. And so I sort of took some inspiration from her, knowing how she dressed, how she spoke. Everything that we saw for the public stepping out of cars, raising money, making speeches. So I took that as some inspiration. But then, of course, what we never got to see with Princess Diana really was behind those closed doors, so all that, I made up myself. Mark gave us a lot of it. Some of it we picked from Cruella de Vil from Disney characters.”
The Royals is a lavish peek at a fictional Royal family of England. It’s soap opera fun, like Dallas or Dynasty. You think you know what will happen next, sometimes you do sometimes you don’t. There’s scandal, intrigue romance, sex and drama. The show has already been picked up for a second season. Although not based on the British ITV series The Palace, The Royals has a similar premise. A bad boy prince becomes king unexpectedly and his sister Princess Eleanor is even more of a mess.
“There’s a book that I read that’s called Falling for Hamlet, which is a modern day retelling of Hamlet,” says The Royals executive producer Mark Schwahn. “But it is through the eyes of the kids, and it’s pretty faithful to Hamlet. And so I read that book and I said, well, I’m as interested in telling that story. I’d spent ten years telling stories about younger characters. And I said but if I could tell a story about a royal family, especially a modern day London which is so vibrant and sexy and fashionable, I said that would compel me, because what are the odds, what are people willing to do to either protect what they have or, as you pointed out, which I thought was very adept and smart, you know, William’s character is thrust into a spotlight he wasn’t groomed for. And we all like to think we have a little greatness inside of us if that spotlight finds us someday. And so that’s where it came from, was the idea that the stakes are very high and to take an underdog and put him in that spotlight and see how he reacts.”
“I have had the honor of meeting some members of the royal family at various events,” says Hurley. “I remember meeting Prince Charles a couple times, because I’m a patron of one of his charities. And I have to say I’m a huge fan of Prince Charles. Anybody who I’ve met in the royal family, I’ve just been bowled over by their skill in social situations. I know it’s their job, but they are master diplomats. They’re just unbelievable, and that’s something that I think my character, Queen Helena really, really wants her children to be like that. She wants Princess Eleanor, she wants Prince William to just be fabulous and wonderful examples to the world. And, of course, in her opinion, they fail her miserably all the time.”
Filming The Royals took place at Blenheim Palace, Wilton and Goldsmiths’ Hall. Dame Joan Collins is playing Elisabeth Hurley’s character’s mother, the Grand Duchess of Oxford.
The Royals is produced by Lionsgate and executive produced, written, and directed by Mark Schwahn and executive produced by Brian Robbins, Joe Davola, and Shauna Phelan. Universal Cable Productions will be joining Lionsgate as a co-producing partner for the second season, they begin production in London spring 2015.
Twitter: @TheRoyalsOnE, @tvtagTheRoyals, @ElizabethHurley, @PrinceLiamRP, @Its_Ophelia15, @Royal_Handful