First Look at SA Queer Filmmaker Oliver Hermanus’s International Series


South African filmmaker Oliver Hermanus delves into the realm of international series with his latest project, Mary & George, about the seduction of England’s King James I by a scheming mother and her son.

Featuring Academy Award-winner Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine (who recently made a splash in the gay hit romcom, Red, White & Royal Blue), the recently released trailer provides a glimpse into the audacious historical psychodrama set to captivate audiences.

A Scandalous True Story Unveiled

Mary & George unravels a treacherous tale of a mother and son, Mary Villiers (Moore) and George (Galitzine), who orchestrated a scandalous plot to conquer the Court of England and win the affections of King James I.

The seven-part limited series, based on Benjamin Woolley’s non-fiction book The King’s Assassin, brings to life the unbelievable true story of Mary, who strategically guided her son George to seduce the king.

The plot follows the duo’s ruthless climb from humble beginnings to becoming the most influential figures at the English court. Against the backdrop of England’s vulnerability to a Spanish invasion and social unrest, Mary and George navigate political intrigue and scandal to secure their dominance.

Oliver Hermanus: A South African Auteur Ventures into International TV

Oliver Hermanus, known for acclaimed queer films like Moffie (2019) and Skoonheid (2011), takes on his first television project with Mary & George.

Born in Cape Town, Hermanus’s trajectory from press photographer to award-winning filmmaker reflects his passion and commitment to storytelling.

The controversial Moffie garnered critical acclaim for its portrayal of a young conscript navigating compulsory military service in apartheid-era South Africa while grappling with his sexual orientation.

From Queer Cinema Triumphs to Period Drama with a Twist

Hermanus’s previous works showcase his ability to tackle complex narratives. Moffie received three nominations at the 2019 British Independent Film Awards and garnered international praise.

Mary & George also marks Hermanus’s foray into period drama, promising a modern and “slightly naughty” take on historical storytelling.

In a November 2022 interview with News24, Hermanus shared his excitement about the project, stating, “Mary & George is a true story about Mary Williams, whose son George was incredibly handsome and who became somebody that James I, the King of England, fell in love with through Mary’s doing.”

He continued: “It should be a lot of fun. It’s definitely something people won’t forget very quickly. I think it has something very interesting to offer as a period piece, but in a way that’s quite modern and slightly naughty.”

Premiere and Global Release

Mary & George is set to premiere on March 5 on Sky in the UK and on April 5 on STARZ in the USA.

While the South African broadcast details are yet to be announced, the series promises an engaging blend of historical intrigue and contemporary storytelling, marking a significant achievement for Hermanus and the cast.

Moffie Q&A: Director Oliver Hermanus

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