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Mary & George’s Nicholas Galitzine and Julianne Moore on ‘honest’ gay stories and sex scenes: ‘We’re still progressing’

Exclusive: Julianne Moore tells Attitude "It's taken a long time to tell these stories" about queer people

By Alastair James

Mary & George
Julianne Moore as Mary and Nicholas Galitzine as George (Image: Sky UK)

The stars of Mary & George have spoken about the show’s depiction of queer storylines and intimate scenes.

Mary & George sees Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine play Mary and George Villiers, who conspire to get close to King James I of England VI of Scotland (Tony Curran) to rise up the social hierarchy.

Speaking exclusively to Attitude ahead of the show’s release on Tuesday (5 March) Julianne and Nicholas addressed why there hadn’t been a piece of queer historical fiction like Mary & George before now.

“It’s interesting,” started Julianne. “I made a movie called The Kids Are All Right 13 years ago, 14 years ago. And it was considered revolutionary. It was the first time that a queer family had been depicted in a film in a completely normal way. There wasn’t any dysfunction. It was simply two moms and their kids.

“I think when I look back now, and I think, wow, that was only 15 years ago, it’s taken a long time to tell these stories.” Julianne then added she felt “gratified” in getting to tell queer stories.

Nicholas added: “We’re still progressing in the right direction.”

Following on from that, Julianne told Attitude “I think it makes sense,” when asked whether changes in social and cultural attitudes are the reason why we’re only getting stories like Mary & George now. She added: “I think it’s great that it’s happening across the board.”

“He had such a beautiful attention to detail” – Nicholas Galitzine on Mary & George director, Oliver Hermanus

Turning to the show’s depiction of queer sexuality and the intimate scenes, Julianne said Mary & George is a show “where people use their sexuality as currency.” Elaborating she said: “The scenes were also moving the plot. And I think Oliver [Hermanus, the director] was very careful about that with us. It wasn’t just a show-and-tell kind of thing. It was really story-oriented.”

Nicholas then said that working with Oliver, who is gay, helped shape the authenticity of the show and the intimate scenes. “He had such a beautiful attention to detail. I really feel actually watching so many of those scenes, they’re so beautiful. I agree with you saying they don’t feel salacious in anyway.”

He then continued: “It’s all about honesty. We’re interested in an honest portrayal of this era, Jacobean England. Certainly, from my perspective, the relationship between George and King James as the sort of the pure love that grew between them albeit it was transactional at first it grew into something really, really beautiful. And I think that’s really reflected in the scenes, which is lovely.”

All seven episodes of Mary & George will launch on Sky Atlantic and also streaming service NOW on 5th March.