E!'s richly decadent new drama series The Royals scored a second-season pickup, before it even begins airing (the show premieres March 15), and although you might not know it yet: That is fantastic news.
We chatted up Elizabeth Hurley, Joan Collins and the rest of the cast—plus the show's creator Mark Schwahn (One Tree Hill) — and here are 7 things you can get excited about regarding The Royals, the scripted series starring Hurley as the matriarch of a fictional modern-day British monarchy:
2. The Deliciousness. Mark Schwahn tells us "delicious" is the word he hears the most from people who've seen the show—and for good reason. Since the series takes place mostly at the Royal Palace in London, focusing on a fictitious (and let's just say it—dead sexy) royal family, the aesthetics must be on point. "The locations are sumptuous," Schwahn explains. "We're shooting in London. Look, the bar is set high. When you're shooting the royal family they have to look good, they have to look impressive. We would talk about crowd scenes and I would say, ‘If they walk out that door and we don't see hundreds of people, I don't know who they are. I don't know what we're doing.'" From the show's elaborate tea parties to racy fashion shows and everything in between, the setting is gorgeous eye candy to devour piece by piece, scene by scene.
3. The Gripping Love Stories. Schwahn learned a thing or two after helming One Tree Hill for a decade—you've got to keep the audience on its toes when it comes to romantic storylines, and oh, does The Royals deliver when it comes to love-life entanglements. Merrit Patterson (Ophelia) and William Mosely (Prince Liam) play the star-crossed lovers—with a twist. "They met as a drunken hookup, which is what makes it modern," Schwahn explains. "And on top of that, she isn't sure she even wants to be with a prince." Mosely adds that Liam himself is struggling. "The big question is family or love? What do you put first?"
5. The Gripping Power Stories. The Royals begins with the death of the Queen and King's oldest son, Robert, which instantaneously makes younger brother Liam (William Mosely) the new heir to the throne. "I'm really compelled by the king and the fact that as a good man, maybe surrounded by vipers, the death of his son, is something that he can't seem to get past," Schwahn explains. "Also, Liam is stepping into a spotlight that he wasn't groomed for, and might not be particularly good at."
6. The "Heartbeat". This sexy, modern take on the monarchy is clearly worlds away from Schwahn's last cult-hit series, One Tree Hill, but he believes OTH fans will love it, too. "Fans of One Tree Hill will feel it has the same heartbeat beneath it," he explains. It's a little racier as you know, it's it's own thing. I do believe that we can always do better…[but we have] set the bar really high."
7. The Flawlessness That Is Still Joan Collins: As Hurley's mother, the Grand Duchess of Oxfordshire, she owns the room—no matter how large, and no matter who's in it. "The character I'm playing is actually the one in control," Collins explains. "She knows what's going on with all the madness and naughtiness and decadence that's going on with the royal family – the fictional royal family – so she decides to step in and stop it all."