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The CW’s Reign: Talking History (Or Not Being Slavish To It) At The TCA Session

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Reign, which premieres Thursday, October 17 in the coveted post-Vampire Diaries timeslot on The CW, has its work cut out for it: The pilot has some really fantastic production values, and the show takes place in a different era, which surely means a lot of expensive costuming. The show also will have to win over some folks who point out how historically inaccurate it might be. After all, Mary, Queen of Scots, the character that Adelaide Kane is playing, was a very real person, with a lot of people who aren’t even historians knowing her story already.



Fortunately, there’s an attractive cast with a good soundtrack, and if it clicks the right way with audience, it could be a Game Of Thrones for young females, with a bonus “hunky Nostradamus” to add to the mix. Might it work?

Maybe.



Cast members of Reign, including Adelaide Kane (Mary), Toby Regbo (Prince Francis), Torrance Coombs (Bash), and Megan Follows (Queen Catherine), were joined by Executive Producer Laurie McCarthy at the CW portion of the Television Critics Association press tour last week, and, as to be expected, members of the press grilled them a bit about the creative licenses that are taken with the history.




“I think in each episode we’ll educate people on what element of history helps our story, and I think that there is a certain amount of latitude in terms of dramatizing events,” Laurie McCarthy, the executive producer, says. “When we were in production, I kept talking about you see portraiture of the time and you read things in books and, more often than not, sort of Wikipedia, and there are many things that happened that never made it onto the pages of history. I also wondered what was the castle like on a Tuesday at 11 o’clock in the morning.  What did they really wear when they weren’t getting their pictures essentially taken?” she wonders.

“It’s also TV, so we can take creative license,” Kane, the show’s star, says. “It’s entertainment.  It’s not The History Channel.  We’re trying to make a show that people will enjoy watching and will really connect with and will find really fun.  And, of course, we’re going to dramatize events and throw little curveballs in our characters’ ways and things like that, but that’s what makes it fun.” Kane’s costar Torrance Coombs is happy for the liberties that are taken, as his character does not exist in history.



“I actually did a lot of research about Mary,” Adelaide Kane says. “I wanted to get to know her as a woman and as a person and not just as a dry, historical figure. She was really a remarkable woman.  There is a little bit of literature out there about her personality.  She was very witty, charming, very, very intelligent woman.  She spoke six languages.  She played two different instruments.  She rode.  She hunted.  She hawked.  She danced.  She played golf.  She was an incredibly energetic, vivacious young women.  And, you know, she was married three times and widowed twice by the time she was 26, I believe.  26, 28 is when she was deposed from Scotland and had to flee to England and then was put under house arrest by her cousin Elizabeth.  So I did do quite a bit of research and it’s sort of marrying what I’ve read about her and how she’s written in the script and then putting a little piece of myself in there to bring it all together,” she enthuses.



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Mary Queen of Scots is one of my favorite historical figures, so this show intrigues me and I'll definitely be watching. Can we also make this a history discussion post?

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