The Awardsline Emmy Screening Series kicked off last night with the first episode of the Starz-BBC miniseries The White Queen, “In Love With The King.” The series tells the story of three women – Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anna Neville– vying for the hand of King Edward IV in 1464 against the backdrop of the War of the Roses. Executive produced by Colin Callender and adapted from Philippa Gregory’s books, White Queen has been such a success for Starz that a sequel, The White Princess, is already in the works. White Queen has generated the largest female audience for any Starz series as well as three Golden Globe noms for best miniseries, lead actress Rebecca Ferguson (Elizabeth) and supporting actress for Janet McTeer.
In a conversation with Deadline’s Dominic Patten following the screening at the Landmark Theatre, Callender commented on the resonance of the show. “The reason why Starz wanted to do it was because it shows history from the point of view of women,” he said. “I think the female audience wants to see a show that reflects their lives with complexity and embraces the complications in their lives.”
The series is largely told from the POV of Elizabeth who becomes queen. In the first episode we find that she is penniless from the death of her husband who died in battle in his service to the Lancastrain King, Henry VI, however, she soon catches the eye of King Edward IV — an anomaly at the time as she wasn’t royal blood. “Most marriages were a business transactions in those days, so when Edward falls in love with Elizabeth, it’s an inconvenience (to the royals) and a cause of concern,” added Callender. McTeer plays Elizabeth’s mother, Jaquetta Woodville, who is a guiding force for her daughter and powerful political player behind-the-scenes.
Commenting on the show’s material, McTeer, also in attendance, added, “What’s a great story arc is that there are several young women who are all born to be pawns in a man’s game, and unless you accept your place, realize what power you have, and how you can wield it, perhaps without other people knowing, that’s how a woman becomes important.”
The Awardsline Emmy Screening Series runs until mid-June at the Landmark Theatre at 10850 W. Pico Blvd in Los Angeles. Upcoming screenings and talent Q&As moderated by Deadline’s Dominic Patten include Hannibal (May 28), The Americans (June 2), Mad Men (June 3rd) and Devious Maids (June 16). Click here to RSVP for screenings that are continually being added.