WASHINGTON, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – In a move that will surely have historical purists reaching for the smelling salts, US television network ABC is preparing a series based on the life of the Russian empress Catherine the Great, an entertainment news website has reported.
The limited series will be adapted from the 2012 bestselling novel “Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Massie. The book tells the story of the 18th-century czarina’s “rise to become the world’s richest and most powerful woman of her time,” The Hollywood Reporter said Tuesday.
ABC has recruited another Pulitzer Prize winner – screenwriter and playwright Michael Cristofer – to write the script, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Cristofer’s previous credits as writer include “The Witches of Eastwick” (1987), while he also appeared as an actor in “Die Hard: With a Vengeance,” according to the Internet Movie Database website.
The story of Catherine the Great, known for her modernizing policies and her series of lovers, has had numerous outings on both the big and small screen. In 1996 future Hollywood star Catherine Zeta-Jones played the role in a television movie, while in 2005 British actress Emily Bruni took the part.
Neither production reached the acclaim of Josef von Sternberg’s 1934 epic “The Scarlet Empress,” which starred Marlene Dietrich and currently has a 100% “fresh” rating on review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.