Reign Cast Talks Corsets, Courtly Intrigue and the Carnal, Cut-Down Scene That'll Have You Talking

Reign Preview Adelaide KaneHail, Mary!

Reign, The CW’s regal new period drama which debuts Thursday at 9/8c, introduces viewers to a luminous young Mary Stuart (played by Adelaide Kane, Teen Wolf).

In the pilot, the teen Queen of Scots returns to the French palace where she spent time as a child. Despite her new home’s lush trappings and manly eye candy, “It’s like a Venus fly trap for her, the court,” Kane says.”It’s this beautiful, shining gem, covered in poison. She has to be so careful.”

That’s because many people – including some very close to Mary’s future husband, Prince Francis (Toby Regbo, ITV’s The Town) – don’t want to see the dewey-faced young royal cement the relationship between her native Scotland and Francis’ France.

What results is a glittery, intriguing, American Eagle-ized take on real events – and we’ve got some scoop on the series’ key players, direct from the actors who portray them. TVLine recently joined reporters on a WBTV/CBS Studios-sponsored set visit, where we logged plenty of buzz about Mary’s men, a touching trimmed scene and the kind of trouble a gaggle of pretty girls can get into in 16th-century France.

RELATED | Fall TV First Impression: The CW’s Reign

MARY, MARY, WHY YOU BUGGIN’? | Even before Mary leaves the convent where she’s been hiding for years, a murder attempt proves just how far certain factions will go to take out the young queen. It’s with that in mind that she arrives at court. “She hasn’t really experienced this pomp and ceremony, but she has had it drilled into her head that with the crown comes a vast amount of responsibility. I think that is always her main concern, doing the right thing for her country and doing the right thing as a responsible monarch.”

MEET THE IN-LAWS | Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) plays Francis’ cunning, doting mom Queen Catherine; Alan Van Sprang is her brash husband, King Henry – who has quite an eye for the ladies. “I had done The Tudors, so I knew what the English were up to, but this king — there’s a lot of interest in the women among court,” Van Sprang says. “He has his wife Catherine, his mistress Diane, and he seems to be finding some interest in Mary’s friends, as well.” (More on that later.)

VIDEO | Reign‘s Megan Follows Previews the Queen’s In-Law Drama, ‘Danger’-ous Mary

WHAT A PRINCE | Mary’s been promised to Francis, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t notice his bastard half-brother, Sebastian (Torrance Coombs, The Tudors) – especially when Francis sends such mixed messages in the first hour.

“They’ve been engaged since they were children, and she’s built up this vision of him and her life with him that she isn’t willing to let go of yet,” Kane says. “Throw into the mix his half-brother, who seems to understand her and her struggles on a very basic, instinctive level, and they just get each other — which is very difficult for her, to find her very attracted to somebody else when she’s so single-minded about being with Francis.” But what Mary doesn’t know: Francis may not share her devotion to their future union in word or deed.

RELATED | The CW Orders Additional Scripts for Reign

Reign Season 1 Premiere Preview Adelaide KaneWHERE MY GIRLS AT? | Mary’s clique of court confidants include Greer (Celina Sinden), Kenna (Caitlin Stasey, Australia’s Neighbours), Lola (Anna Popplewell, The Chronicles of Narnia films) – all of whom are there to help/entertain Mary.

And though there’s plenty of girlish giggling and such in the premiere, there’s also a subplot in which Lola discovers the perils of proximity to the young queen. “What you see happen to Lola in the pilot happens to all the ladies at one point or another,” says Popplewell, “which is that conflict between their friendship with Mary and their sense of duty to their queen — which aren’t always necessarily compatible.”

YUP, SHE’S DOING WHAT YOU THINK SHE’S DOING | If there’s any of the ladies-in-waiting you’re likely to remember after Wednesday’s episode, it’s Kenna – who, in a scene cut down from the version shown to TV reporters earlier this year, gets hot and bothered, then takes matters into her own hands… er, hand. While Stassey is very matter-of-fact about the one-woman interlude (she calls the filming of the intimate moment “so sterile”), she’s wary of the hook-up with a royal that follows. “What a turbulent relationship to involve yourself in,” says the actress. “There’s really no way that it can end well.”

COSTUME DRAMA | Though the show’s soundtrack has a modern twist (think A Knight’s Tale), the costumes hew closer to the clothing of the period — a detail both great, Sinden says, and sometimes painful. “The corsets are tough but sort of essential to be able to relate to a woman from the 16th century and what she might have been going through, even though our corsets are definitely more comfortable than what they would have been wearing,” she says. “I’ve found that sitting is near impossible. Eating – also quite hard.” (With reporting by Megan Masters)

 

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35 Comments
  1. lorna says:

    This show looks absolutely terrible and I doubt it will last. I think it’s a Mark Schwahn show, so best of luck to him. He did create a mostly wonderful world with OTH (except seasons 6-8).

    • teee says:

      why are you reading an article on a show you have no interest in then? i for one am excited to see it

    • Shannon says:

      Mark Schwahn’s show is called Royals and is on E! I don’t believe he has any attachment to Reign.

    • Guest says:

      I’d saybthis is simply a case of bad timing: every period drama from The Tudors to The White Queen has been cancelled due to low ratings, including The Borgias. There is just no market for Reign.

      • Mary Ann says:

        The Tudors wasn’t canceled due to low ratings. It had finished telling the story of Henry the VIII.

        • Liz says:

          And I don’t believe I’m wrong in saying The Tudors did pretty well ratings wise – so not much failure there eh lol. And JRM was denied an Emmy for that show.

      • Eric says:

        The White Queen was not cancelled either. The story was finished and was planned as a one off series. People like you should really get their facts right before saying crap like this and making yourself look foolish.

        • Guest says:

          No, The White Queen was planned as series of series, and ended up a mini series once the first season failed to deliver an audience, just like it happened with Political Animals.

          It could be dismissed as fluke, but not after The Borgias, Cooper, The Tudors and so on. A period drama feels like a terrible mistake at this point.

          • James says:

            Jumong and Jewel in the Palace and Lee San comes to mind. Period TV dramas that ended up getting good ratings and lasted more than a dozen episodes

          • Eric says:

            IF you’ve watched the series. And even read the book it’s based on. Tell me.. how was the story going to progress past the end point of the 10th episode? The series was meant to look at the War of the Roses through the point of view of the White Queen (since at the very beginning it states “Philippa Gregory’s THE WHITE QUEEN). If they had chosen to commision a second series they would’ve had to do a title change since it ended with *SPOILER* Henry becoming King.

            Also, BBC had stated that it’s always been planned as a one off series Plus i wouldn’t call 4.5 mil average in the UK and a 2.5mil in USA a fail in ratings

          • Guest says:

            I could count Spartacus or Rome, but neither one is based on the same period as Reign. There’s Outlander and Da Vinci’s Demons but those are Sci-fi with historical elements more than anything. Hell on Wheels and Boardwalk Empire, but they are aimed to a completely different audience than Reign.

      • Guest says:

        I just don’t see how to get a teenage audience to watch a genre that not even adult audiences bothered with.

      • Huh? says:

        Why exactly are you including The Tudors in the list of failed period dramas when they got all the seasons they wanted and finished telling their story?

      • Riddle says:

        If The Tudors ratings were so great then why rush six marriages, several years of political intrigue and a couple of wars in 4 seasons?

  2. Kevin says:

    I read some pretty positive reviews of this pilot, so i’ll def check it out :)

  3. A says:

    Saw the pilot at comic con. Absolute garbage. It’s like they didn’t even try.

  4. jour4790 says:

    I think no more than 1 million watch the premiere

  5. Lori says:

    I’m going to check it out.

  6. Hamish says:

    It will be interesting to see how far from historical accuracy they get. Francis died at age 16, so Tony Regbo may want to start scouting out future roles fairly soon. Also, the half-brother Sebastian seems to be a figment of the writers imagination. I guess if you get your education from television and movies, you deserve the bad grades you get in school. ;-)

    • Riddle says:

      For one, Mary became a widow after only a year or marriage, then again after the cousin got murdered. And neither one of the three husband was the bastard brother of the Prince of France, so I don’t see the point to introduce an imaginary half-brother with no relevance to the story.

  7. Drew says:

    How desperate is it to shoot a highly controversial scene to show to the press when you know it won’t make it to air?

    Doesn’t say much about the show.

    • Riddle says:

      It doesn’t inspire too much confidence on the show either (otherwise, why rely on titillating scenes if the story is supposed good on its own?)

  8. Robert says:

    I may be wrong and will surely be put on blast by some wretched negativity wallower. Whatever’s clever but turn that frown upside down, It’s a show you haven’t even seen yet. If there is no desire to watch it, I don’t know…don’t watch. Also, isn’t this the show that a couple of mths back ranked at the top of a “Falls Must Watch” list that Ausiello put together? I think I remember reading how pleasantly surprised he was after seeing it and that he expected it to be an audience favorite? Don’t cut it slack but let it at least air before deciding its crap.

  9. Liz says:

    I just realized the main actress is Cora from Teen Wolf. The article put that as her credit and I was all ‘who the heck was she in teen wolf?’ and then it came to me haha

  10. Liz says:

    I’m actually pretty excited for it! A soapy adaptation of this story could be awesome! And I’m a history buff – I know this time period (and the woman) really well, but I’m not a stickler for accuracy in this case. Tell me a good story and I’m in.

    • Anne says:

      I agree with you. It will hopefully be fun entertainment, even though there’s nothing historical about save for the characters’ names. I’m pretty well versed in this era as well and I think it would be amazing if more people became interested in history in general (or Mary of Scots in particular) because of the show

    • Riddle says:

      I fear they should have sold it as a Disney Princesses soap opera rather than a period piece with titilating scenes meant for teenagers.

  11. SM says:

    The only reason I will be watching this is for Megan Fallows!! Loved her as Anne! She was also brilliant in her guest stint on L&O years ago!

  12. Gregory B. Mettler says:

    After viewing the first episode, I was quite disappointed. I read the USA Today review of this program and have to fully agree with it’s content. While I really enjoy historical era programs, I am constantly annoyed with the costume designers lack of knowledge in proper costuming for an era and their sacrificing of accurate for sexy. A high ranking woman of the time would never be seen in a sleeveless dress and with such a lacy revealing bodice as the main character was wearing in one scene. Also, men would always be wearing a hat of some type in almost all situations, especially when outside or riding as one scene showed nor would they be in court or out in public with their doublets unbuttoned so casually. The sleeveless prom dresses on the ladies in waiting were atrocious and many of the background women characters were in clothes that were closer to the late 18th or 19th century. The bath scene was also completely wrong, as the claw foot tub didn’t appear until the 1800’s.

    I think that anyone involved in the decision making of this production, producer, director and especially the set and costume designers, should be dumped in the nearest dungeon. It looks like it was put together by 5 year olds or people who failed every history course in school.

    During the Elizabethan Era which this occurs, there were set Sumptuary Laws of dress in England for clothing of the upper classes and straying from those could result in severe punishments. Even though this seems to be taking place primarily at the French Court, they also had standards that would be followed. I’m sure the Network Executives don’t really care at all about little things like this, but there are people who do pay attention. A little research goes a long way. It would be nice to see a program that tried to do a better job when portraying an historical period, rather than a medieval 90210. It would be nice to see someone get it right once in a while. I won’t even begin to comment on the story line or I’d be up all night.

    • cydney says:

      I agree, just laughed when I saw the ridiculous tub scene. Seriously how stupid were the set designers. It was just riddled with sex did not tell the story line what so ever. Actors were all great looking which would not have been for the period. Daily bathing did not exist. Waste of time. Cannot believe anyone in production or otherwise did not catch until after produced. Love the 90210 comment!

    • linakchabrol says:

      I completely agree, ahaha

  13. Jerry says:

    I watched the first episode of this show and it was filled with pretty people involved in plots and intrigue, but it really took huge liberties with history. By the time Mary Queen of Scots was 16, in 1558, when she married Francis, Nostradamus was 55, an old man for that age, and not the handsome young man we saw “advising” the Queen of France and foretelling Francis’ early death. Francis was actually two years younger than Mary, and he was in frail health for all of his life, and he died young due to an inner ear infection, so he was far from the dashing young man we saw on the show. One thing that’s accurate though is the depiction of Queen Catherine de’ Medici as being absolutely ruthless.

    16th Century History by The CW. There’s already a love triangle forming! All of the actors and actresses on the show are very good looking, which is the main requirement that anyone on The CW must meet, (actually, it’s the only requirement that anyone on the CW must meet) so the show may make it. I guess time will tell.

  14. Patricia says:

    I absolutely love the show. I just watched the last show in December and can’t wait until January for it to return.

  15. linakchabrol says:

    I just want to say, those costumes are precious and I love the black dress she wears at the wedding in the first episode. But they sure as hell are NOT accurate. I think I even saw a lady in waiting (to Francis’ sister) wearing an eighteenth century dress… But anyway, doesn’t bother me! The show seems promising, hope it’s not gonna stop right in the middle of a season like so many others.

  16. Just call me Stuart says:

    Mary Stuart was my great great (well I don’t know how many greats) grandmother. While the story is obviously inaccurate, it wouldn’t be as interesting if they stuck to just the facts as they are known. It would be a short series indeed. I for one find it very interesting, despite it’s inaccuracies. CW stated from the beginning that they were taking great license with historical fact and costumes for the sake of creating a story that would be interesting to modern audiences. As long as they don’t change the important key elements of her life what does it matter? If you want perfect accuracy, jump in a time machine and find out the truth for yourself. Otherwise, peering into the inner workings of her life are conjecture at best. None of us know the true story beyond the headliners.

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