'Succession' Producer Creates New Power Struggle Story, 'The Regime'

Producer/creator Will Tracy is transitioning from the struggle for power in the dirty business of Big Media in “Succession” to the struggle to hold on to power in “The Regime.”

Tracy was one of the executive producers of “Succession,” but he is creator and showrunner of this six-part series starring Kate Winslet (above photo) as the authoritarian leader of a country described only as located in “middle Europe.”

Tracy is credited as writer of “The Regime.” Executive producers include Frank Rich, who also worked on “Succession,” and Stephen Frears, also listed as an executive producer of “The Regime” and director of the first episode and two others.

The Winslet character, Chancellor Elena Vernham, embodies some of the characteristics we associate with the usual rogues’ gallery of despots and dictators -- Kim Jung Un, Putin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler and others.



Like all of them, she controls her country’s media and rules her cadre of nervous government officials with fear. Among other things, when close to her, they are directed to make sure they do not breathe on her.

Her palace is in a constant state of renovation because she suffers from an acute fear of germs and mold (the latter sometimes described as mycophobia, which is a fear of fungus).

In Episode One, her backstory comes out in small doses. She seems to have seized power by toppling a previous regime, which sets up -- and possibly foreshadows -- the possibility that she will eventually suffer the same fate. The name of her country goes unnamed.

She has a tendency toward isolation, maintaining a sparse inner circle consisting of a husband who seems to have been coerced into marrying her, and a son who seems to have been “borrowed” from one of her top aides.

But in the show’s first episode, a new member joins the inner circle, a two-fisted army corporal (Matthias Schoenaerts) who has been hired to make sure the air the dictator breathes is not toxic.

Another character who is positioned to make his presence known in episodes to come is an imprisoned opposition leader played by Hugh Grant.

“The Regime” is billed in the HBO publicity materials as “darkly comedic,” a reference (presumably) to the dictator’s eccentricities. 

Besides her debilitating fear of mold, she keeps her late father’s corpse in a glass coffin in a room that she visits occasionally to “talk” to him.

For Winslet, 48, “The Regime” represents her third headlining miniseries for HBO following “Mildred Pierce” in 2011 and “Mare of Easttown” in 2021. So far, she is three for three.

“The Regime” premieres Sunday, March 3, at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO, and streaming on Max.

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