Emmy®-winner Helen Mirren and Oscar®-winner Jeremy Irons star in Elizabeth I, a two-part HBO Films miniseries event that explores the intersection of the private and public life of Elizabeth I (Mirren) in the latter half of her reign, offering a personal look at her allies, her enemies and her suitors as she struggled to survive in a male-dominated world. Part 1 explores the middle-aged Elizabeth's tempestuous relationship with the Earl of Leicester (Irons) as it survives a French suitor, war, treason, and illness. Part 2 follows Elizabeth through her later years, during which she had an equally passionate affair with the young, ambitious Earl of Essex (Hugh Dancy), who had been raised, ironically, by his stepfather Leicester.
Elizabeth I sheds light on both the personal and public side of England's most enigmatic queen. The daughter of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth I (1533-1603) reunited a nation divided by religious strife, faced down the Spanish Armada and, after an unprecedented 45-year reign, died one of England's best-loved monarchs. During her time as Queen, poets and playwrights wrote about her, artists painted her, and composers dedicated works to her, all contributing to the legend of the "Virgin Queen" who never married. In the public's mind, Elizabeth's romantic life is nearly completely overshadowed by her political achievements and military triumphs. Elizabeth I looks beyond the myth at the woman behind the crown, striking a balance between the queen's desire to find love and passion, and her responsibility to the monarchy.
Helen Mirren has won two Emmy® Awards (for The Passion of Ayn Rand and Prime Suspect 4: Scent of Darkness); a Golden Globe® Award for Losing Chase; and three BAFTA Awards for her starring role in the series Prime Suspect. Jeremy Irons won an Academy Award® and a Golden Globe® Award for his performance as Claus von Bulow in "Reversal of Fortune." He also received two other Golden Globe® nominations, for "The Mission" and "Brideshead Revisited."
Filmed in Vilnius, Lithuania, Elizabeth I was directed by Tom Hooper, a Best Director Emmy® nominee for Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness, which also starred Mirren. The film was written by BAFTA-winning screenwriter and acclaimed novelist Nigel Williams (The Wimbledon Poisoner, Bertie and Elizabeth, Uncle Adolf).
HBO Films presents In Association with Channel 4 A Company Pictures Production Helen Mirren Jeremy Irons ELIZABETH I Hugh Dancy Costume Designer Mike O'Neill Music composed by Rob Lane Editors Beverley Mills Melanie Oliver Production Designer Eve Stewart Director of Photography Larry Smith Producer Barney Reisz Executive Producers Suzan Harrison George Faber Charles Pattinson Written by Nigel Williams Directed by Tom Hooper