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Mary & George star Tony Curran on King James breaking taboos & REVELING in queerness

‘Mary & George’ star Tony Curran on King James breaking taboos & REVELING in queerness

Nicholas Galitzine and Tony Curran in Mary & George; Tony Curran on the red carpet
Courtesy of Starz; Pride.com

“He’d rather be hunting, f*cking, and going to the theater. Who wouldn’t want to be doing that?”

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Mary & George is turning us all into history buffs — especially for the parts of history where the king and his lover are, well, in the buff. And on that front, the steamy Starz series is not letting us down.

The series is based on the true story of how this mother and son duo plotted their way into the highest halls of power through the king’s bed. PRIDE caught up with star Tony Curran, who plays King James I, the target of the titular Mary (Julianne Moore) and George (Nicholas Galitzine) Villiers’ plot of seduction, to talk about how his character didn’t just embrace but reveled in his queerness.

“Benjamin Woolley — the guy that wrote the novel

The King’s Assassin that this show is based on — he said to me, once, ‘Look him in the eyes, look at King James, look at pictures,’” Curran tells PRIDE. “I looked at the photographs of him in these paintings, and to me, it just looked like he didn’t want to be there, as it were. He closed parliament for six years. He’d rather be hunting, fucking, and going to the theater. Who wouldn’t want to be doing that as opposed to going to war or doing other things other political leaders supposedly are wanting to do?”

Nicholas Galitzine and Tony Curran in Mary & George;

Courtesy of STARZ

While the show is certainly titillating and compelling, it’s also resurfacing an often-forgotten piece of queer history, which is an all-too-common problem. “As through time immemorial, it’s the taboo of expressing yourself or being who you are. I walked past the courthouse recently, in London, and it was the courthouse where a certain Oscar Wilde was charged and convicted of being a queer, which is outrageous, for being himself. I hope a lot of people watch this no matter what their background is [and hopefully it will be] a real education for many people,” says Curran.

His hope is that besides simply being entertaining or educational, this show will reach a broad audience, and perhaps lead to some changed hearts. “There’s such a tenderness I think between George and King James, that it doesn’t matter what color you are, what your background is, what your sexual preferences are, if you love someone, love is love to me, whether you’re straight, queer, gay, or you have ginger hair, love is love. I think King James felt that and he acted upon that because, well, he was the king,” shares Curran. It’s a message that we can never get enough of.

In his role as the king, he also gets to make out with Nicolas Galitzine on the regular, which, to be honest, is the ultimate perk. Or as Curran himself puts it, “It’s good to be queen.”

Mary & George  is airing now on STARZ, watch the trailer below.

We’re pulling back the bedsheet on history’s hottest affair. Starring Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine, Mary & George premieres April 5 on STARZ.#MaryAn...

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

author avatar

Stacey Yvonne

Stacey Yvonne is a contributor who is often found in some corner of the internet pontificating about pop culture and its effect on women, Blackfolk and the LGBTQIA+ community. As a summa cum laude graduate from the School of Hardknocks (with an emphasis in "these streets") she has learned the beauty of finding fascination in everything. She's constantly threatening to write a screenplay of her life and she'll do it, just as soon as this show is over.

Stacey Yvonne is a contributor who is often found in some corner of the internet pontificating about pop culture and its effect on women, Blackfolk and the LGBTQIA+ community. As a summa cum laude graduate from the School of Hardknocks (with an emphasis in "these streets") she has learned the beauty of finding fascination in everything. She's constantly threatening to write a screenplay of her life and she'll do it, just as soon as this show is over.