Starz announced today that Golden Globe winner, two-time Academy Award and two-time BAFTA Award-nominated actress Samantha Morton (Minority Report, Harlots, The Walking Dead) has been cast to star as the nefarious Catherine de Medici in the new STARZ Original series The Serpent Queen.
The dark legend centered on de Medici comes from writer and executive producer Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road, Red Sparrow, The Lone Ranger). The series will also be executive produced by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2) and Erwin Stoff (The Matrix, 13 Hours, Edge of Tomorrow).
Stacie Passon (Transparent, Dickinson, Billions) will direct multiple episodes, including the premiere episode.
Multi-award-winning British actress Samantha Morton first garnered international attention in Carine Adler’s Under the Skin, earning her the Boston Film Critics Award for Best Actress. She has since gone on to work with such acclaimed directors as Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar), Stephen Spielberg (Minority Report), Jim Sheridan (In America), Michael Winterbottom (Code 46), Shekhar Kapur (The Golden Age), Harmony Korine (Mister Lonely), Anton Corbijn (Control), Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York), David Cronenberg (Cosmopolis), Andrew Stanton (John Carter), Spike Jonze (Her), and David Yates (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them).
In a highly-acclaimed career, Morton has twice been nominated for an Academy Award, twice nominated for a BAFTA award, and in 2007 she received a Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of notorious child-murderer Myra Hindley in the NBC/Channel 4 film Longford.
In 2009, Samantha Morton made her directorial debut with The Unloved, a semi-autobiographical film based in the British children’s care system, winning the BAFTA Television Award for Best Single Drama. Recently Morton has starred in the hit Hulu/ BBC television show Harlots and AMC’s award-winning The Walking Dead, where she played the iconic villain, Alpha.
In 2020, Morton was nominated for Best Actress BAFTA for the Dominic Savage drama I Am Kirsty. Morton recently finished filming the movie Save the Cinema.
Exemplifying the network’s #TakeTheLead commitment, The Serpent Queen is a cunning account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown. Considered an immigrant, common and plain, Catherine de Medici is married into the 16th century French court as an orphaned teenager expected to bring a fortune in dowry and produce many heirs, only to discover that her husband is in love with an older woman, her dowry is unpaid and she’s unable to conceive.
Yet, only with her intelligence and determination, she manages to keep her marriage alive and masters the bloodsport that is the monarchy better than anyone else, ruling France for 50 years.
Based on the book Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda, the eight-episode series is produced for STARZ by Lionsgate Television and 3 Arts Entertainment. The Serpent Queen will air on STARZ in the U.S. and Canada and on its international premium streaming platform Starzplay across its complete footprint in Europe, Latin America, and Japan.
The #TakeTheLead initiative is Starz‘s comprehensive effort to deepen its existing commitment to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences.