Gillian Anderson on Her Scene-Stealing Role as Catherine’s Mother in ‘The Great’ Season 2 (Exclusive)

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Gillian Anderson on Her Scene-Stealing Role as Catherine’s Mother in ‘The Great’ Season 2 (Exclusive)

Gillian Anderson has had an extended renaissance on television, with scene-stealing roles on The Fall, Hannibal, and Sex Education, as well as starring in The X-Files’ brief return.

“The things that have come my way lately have been very lucky for me,” she tells ET.

Anderson’s brief but unforgettable guest-starring role as Catherine’s demanding mother, Joanna, on season 2 of The Great, which is now streaming on Hulu, will undoubtedly earn her awards season buzz, following her Emmy-winning portrayal of Margaret Thatcher on season 4 of The Crown.

Anderson’s character, who first appeared in episode seven, “Stapler,” opposite Elle Fanning as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult as Peter III, shakes things up for the dueling couple in an unexpectedly wicked way.

“She’s used to controlling her daughters,” Anderson says of Joanna, who is known in European courts as “the maestro of marriage” because she “has many daughters and she’s married them off very quickly.”

However, now that Catherine has led a coup against her husband and taken control of Russia, Joanna is dissatisfied with the way the news is interfering with her latest attempts to marry one of her daughters to King Louis XVI of France.

“As a result, she comes to see for herself and tries to persuade Catherine that she’s making the wrong decision, that she’s just a child, and that all of her ideas about women’s rights and so on are nonsense,” Anderson says.

“She should just focus on being a wife and having babies,” says the author.

Despite the fact that Catherine is pregnant with Peter’s son, Paul, and approaching her due date, she has not let this stop her ambitious efforts to bring enlightenment to her adopted country — much to the chagrin of her mother, who believes that all of her ruling will cause her to miscarry, jeopardizing her position in the palace.

When Catherine tells her about her “massive diplomatic victory” in episode eight, “Five Days,” Joanna responds curtly, “I’m thrilled.”

“When it falls out of you, bring me my dead grandchild,” she says.

(It’s also worth noting that this was Anderson’s favorite line.)

It’s the kind of biting I’m talking about.

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Gillian Anderson on Her Scene-Stealing Role as Catherine’s Mother in ‘The Great’ Season 2 (Exclusive)

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‘The Great’ Season 2: Gillian Anderson on Her Scene-Stealing Role as Catherine’s Mother (Exclusive)

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