Jason Clarke Previews 'Catherine the Great's 'Love for the Ages'

Damian Holbrook
Preview HBO

The life and raucously wild times of Russia’s legendary 18th-century monarch fire up the four-part miniseries Catherine the Great featuring Oscar winner Helen Mirren as the titular ruler and Jason Clarke (above, with Mirren) as her lover, military leader Grigory Potemkin.

"History can teach us a lot," says Clarke, who was "surprised and fantastically amused" by the pair's relationship. "[It was] volatile, passionate, and productive. A love for the ages," he says. "A partnership unlike any other."

Capturing the true power of the pairing that eventually turned Russia into a major international player had its challenges. And not just because the gig required Clarke to endure brutal battlefield sequences or freezing bathhouse scenes sporting nothing but a towel and an eye patch.

Get the Inside Scoop on Helen Mirren's 'Catherine the Great' Costumes

Get the Inside Scoop on Helen Mirren's 'Catherine the Great' Costumes

Costume designer Maja Meschede gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the new HBO miniseries.

"These two changed the world and owned the enormous palaces that we actually shot in," he says. "It's incredibly difficult to fathom the enormity of their positions and responsibilities in the world at the time."

Catherine the Great, Series Premiere, Monday, October 21, 10/9c, HBO