'Reign' Interview: Showrunner Laurie McCarthy Talks Translating Mary's Story for Modern Audiences
'Reign' Interview: Showrunner Laurie McCarthy Talks Translating Mary's Story for Modern Audiences
Morgan Glennon
Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
This week will see the premiere of Reign, The CW's big new drama gamble. The show centers around the life of the teenage Mary Queen of Scots during her time in the French Court. Because this is The CW expect plenty of drama, backstabbing, love triangles, and headbands.

(If Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf has taught us all one thing, it's that headbands are the true crowns of royalty.)

Before the show premieres on Thursday October 17, we sat down with executive producer Laurie McCarthy to chat about why she was drawn to Mary's story, what we can expect from the gutsy new drama, and whether there might be a little supernatural flare to the historical drama.

Check out the full interview below:



Highlights from the interview: 

  •  Here's how McCarthy explains the show: "It's a fantastical re-imagining of the story of Mary Queen of Scots. It's a sort of blended tune of political intrigue, romance, a little historical drama, and some horror elements as well." 
  • Mary dies in her 40s (spoiler alert!) which is actually a pretty good run of it for the time period and for the danger Mary was always in. 
  • We will be seeing historical figures in the French Court, plus some references to Queen Elizabeth. 
  • McCarthy loves Mary because she was kind of a parentless child. "I love the notion of a girl without a country. I love that you know it's going to end badly for her and that she has terrible taste in men."
  •  They don't contradict the real events of her life, but they come up with stories that could have taken place in between what we already know. 
  • There's an intimacy to Reign, it's about a girl trying to protect herself and her friends. It also has a high romantic element to it. 
  • As far as the "supernatural" element to the show, it's a thread that will continue throughout the series. 
  • "The superstitions of the time led to so much of the horror element of the show. The way I always describe it is, if people believe there's a thing in the woods that demands human sacrifice, there's going to be human sacrifice whether there's a thing in the woods demanding it or not. There's a barbarism of the times that is a nice balance to the incredibly privileged lives these people lived." 
  • She was inspired by The Tudors and Game of Thrones, but also by shows set in prep schools because the show is about a bunch of young people thrown together. 
  • Speaking of alliances, she liked the idea of, "What if the king of France looked at her and saw Afghanistan in a dress? It's a nice dress and she looks beautiful in it, but she could cost his country enormous bloodshed." 
  • They filmed the pilot in castles in Ireland and now they have huge stages in Toronto. In the real castle the rooms are quite small, but on stage they're enormous and very lush. 

Reign premieres October 17 at 9pm ET on The CW.

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(Image and video: Morgan Glennon)

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