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Topics - KarinK

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As we mark the 400th anniversary of Russia’s Romanov dynasty this year, FX has put in development an event series about the man closely associated with Romanovs’ final years. Rasputin, from Indian film director Shekhar Kapur, tells the story of the Russian peasant and mystic who became an adviser to the Russian Imperial family. Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring will write the script based on the upcoming book Rasputin: Dark Forces And The Fall of The Romanovs by Douglas Smith. Per FX, the event series centers on “one of the most controversial characters in history who is held responsible for bringing down the Russian Empire and changing the course of the world as we know it” and answers the question, “who was he really beyond the folklore, a true healer or the greatest charlatan the world has known?”

Kapur will direct and executive produce with Scheuring. Smith serves as consultant.

Kapur is no stranger to historical/period dramas, having directed the Elizabeth films, Four Feathers and Bandit Queen. He had long been fascinated with Rasputin’s life and when FX, which had been looking to develop a limited series about the enigmatic Russian, learned of Kapur’s interest in the subject, the network brass sat down with the director and quickly found creative common ground. Scheuring was then brought in to co-create the project with Shekhar and write the script.

Kapur's Elizabeth featured a wonderful performance by Cate Blanchett, but it was rather creative when it came to history. I expect that if this miniseries does get made the focus will be on Rasputin and scandal, with Nicholas, Alexandra and Alexei as the only members of the imperial family to get a notable amount of screentime.

From the author's website:

Four Sisters
PUBLICATION:  UK: Pan Macmillan, 27 March 2014  USA: St Martin's Press, 3 June 2014

Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. They are too often seen merely as set dressing, the beautiful but innocuous background to the bigger, more dramatic story of their parents – Russia’s last Tsar and Tsarina, Nicholas and Alexandra. They are perceived as lovely, desirable and living charmed lives. But the truth is somewhat different.

For most of their short lives the four Romanov sisters were beautiful birds in a gilded cage, shut away at their palaces at Tsarskoe Selo or Livadia as a reaction to the fear of terrorist attacks on the Imperial Family. In reality the girls had few friends and ever fewer playmates and were largely cut off from the real world outside and the normal life experiences of other girls – that is, until everything changed in 1914. Suddenly, with Russia’s entry into the war, the girls had to grow up fast.

In a deliberate echo of the title of Chekhov’s play, Four Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia. It will aim to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing on previously unseen archival sources, as well as photographic and other material in private collections and opinion drawn from the author’s considerable personal network of royalty experts.

This is my most anticipated book of 2014. Seeing the cover on Amazon made the book feel so close, yet still so far away! I prefer the US cover because it shows the sisters as young women but I'll probably end up ordering the UK edition since I doubt I'll be able to wait. "Previously unseen archival sources" sounds promising.

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