Huzzah! We're Russian To Finish 'The Great' Hulu's new series The Great bills itself as "An Occasionally True Story." And it's a big story: a sweeping epic about Russia in the 1700s, full of palace intrigue, sex and violence, and the rise of Catherine the Great. Elle Fanning plays Catherine, and Nicholas Hoult also stars as the sociopathic emperor Peter. The show shares a lot of thematic DNA with the 2018 film The Favourite -- it was created by one of the film's screenwriters, Tony McNamara. And it's more than willing to scramble history in the service of a good story.