That’s one way to research for a role.
Elle Fanning prepared for Season 2 of her hit Hulu show “The Great” by watching videos of her mother giving birth to her older sister Dakota.
The 23-year-old portrays the 18th century Russian monarch Catherine the Great on the show and spends much of the season pregnant with her son.
To prep for the delivery scene, Elle spoke with a midwife and scoured videos of women giving birth.
“I was born during a tornado, so they couldn’t video when I was born because the hospital was in lockdown — which is very fitting, I think,” the “Maleficent” star told Entertainment Weekly.
“But I do have a tape of my mother giving birth to my sister,” she added.
Elle revealed that her mother “didn’t have any drugs or anything” when she birthed Dakota, 27, and it “scarred in my brain of what that’s like!”
“The Great” follows the reign of a young Catherine and her husband Peter III, played by Nicholas Hoult, as they attempt to keep the Russian Empire from crumbling. “The Crown” star Gillian Anderson joins Season 2 as Joanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp, Catherine’s mother.
Elle also opened up to EW about what it was like to have the Golden Globe winner on set. “Normally we’re just wild and crazy, but we were like, ‘Oh my god, Gillian Anderson. Gillian, she’s coming, she’s coming, she’s coming.’ It was a lot like mother’s coming,” she quipped.
Anderson’s character only pops up for two episodes this season, however, her appearance brings chaos to the Russian court. “The different strategies that she employs in each scene with each character, it was fun to see how that character would behave so drastically differently depending on who they were in the scene with,” Hoult, 31, explained to EW.
The “X-Men” star added, “It’s putting the cat amongst the pigeons a little bit because everyone at court has got their rhythms and patterns with different characters, and then suddenly you put Gillian in the middle of it and it just completely throws everyone up in the air. Everyone’s scrambling to figure out where she stands, how she affects them, and what they can do to try and benefit, or at least stop them from being affected negatively by it.”
Season 2 of “The Great” premieres Nov. 19 on Hulu.