• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2022: Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”

British actor Nicholas Hoult is having a time of his life…on the small screen. The movie star, who is globally famous for his mutant superhero character Hank McCoy, aka Beast in the X-Men franchise, has turned to TV to play Peter III in Hulu’s original series The Great. The role has earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Television Actor in Musical/Comedy Series for two consecutive years.
Now into its second season, The Great is a fictional historical dramedy created by Australian playwright Tony McNamara, with whom Hoult had previously worked on the Golden Globe-nominated picture The Favourite, Hoult recalled that he and McNamara first started discussing the idea of The Great while working on the film, in which he stole his scenes as the aristocratic Robert Harley. Although the actor hadn’t previously considered working on TV, he immediately agreed to McNamara’s suggestion. “I didn’t really think twice about it because I just love Tony’s writing.”
He is joined in The Great by Elle Fanning, who is also nominated for playing the titular Catherine the Great in the show: the two actors are essential to its success. When we first meet them, Catherine has just arrived at the Russian court as a naïve and idealistic German princess, and her new husband, Peter III, is a man-child prone to terrifying rages. Hoult’s gleeful portrayal of the obscene excesses of the Imperial court creates a framework that allows both characters to shine.
“I think I’ve taken on quite a few unlikeable characters on the outside by now… for me, reading on the page, as unlikeable and outrageously horrendous as Peter is at times, there’s something endearing about his directness.”
We watched Catherine plotting a coup against her husband in the first season; in the second, the power dynamic has shifted as the couple’s relationship evolves and they prepare for a child. In his new arc, Hoult doesn’t get to be as boisterous as he was in the first season, but he continues to give nuanced performances that are enjoyable to watch.
An actor since he was a child, Hoult has created a strong body of work in both leading and supporting roles: from the awkward Marcus Brewer in About a Boy, to the gay college student Kenny Potter in A Single Man, to his most prominent and commercial role, the Beast in X-Men, Hoult has steadily transitioned from child to adult roles without being plagued with the celebrity status and sense of privilege that has proved the downfall of many Hollywood child stars in the past.  He says, “I’m pretty fortunate where I have managed to play a vast array of characters in varied genre and TV and have a lot of fun doing it.”
Hoult dropped out of filming Mission Impossible 7 because of scheduling conflicts with shooting the second season of The Great. Following the success of the first season of the show, he has signed a first-look deal with MRC Television and Civic Center Media via his newly formed production company, Dead Duck Films, and will serve as an executive producer of The Great. He will next be seen in the dark comedy The Menu opposite Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes.