Now, Catherine the Great isn’t the kind of leader Helen Mirren has played in the past. The 18th-century ruler was strong-minded, brilliant, sexually liberated, and independent. Catherine’s court is sexually charged and teeming with political complications, and it’s not easy for her to stay in power long enough to become Russia’s longest-ruling female leader. (In an interesting historical note, the real Catherine wasn’t actually Russian, but rather born in an area of the Kingdom of Prussia that is now Poland.) Mirren is on board Catherine the Great as executive producer as well as star. The limited series is still shooting in Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania, taking advantage of palaces to create an atmosphere fitting for the series.