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History’s hottest affair” comes to life in the new limited series Mary & George, which premieres its first episode Friday on Starz.

The show follows Mary and George Villiers, played by Julianne Moore and heartthrob Nicholas Galitzine, as they manipulate King James I into falling for the latter to boost their status and power.

Tony Curran plays the English monarch, who spoke to ABC Audio about developing chemistry with Galitzine before shooting their romantic scenes.

“For the first few weeks, we were in the same hotel. And he was prepping, I was prepping. We started texting each other, and I think it was quite apparent by the corresponding text messages that both of us had a very fun sense of humor,” Curran said.

Mary & George may take place during the 17th century, but Curran says it feels as fresh as now.

“The first thing I thought was so interesting and fascinating about it was how character driven the story was and how it was about this Jacobean period, [the] little known 23-year reign of King James, that we haven’t heard too much about in television or film, and how contemporary it felt,” Curran said. “The very fruity vernacular language, it’s very uncompromising in its delivery.”

While the series shows King James having many male lovers, Curran says he doesn’t believe it to be the focus of the project.

“I think the story has queer elements to it but it’s not, like, a story, per se, about a queer king. It is, obviously. But I think there’s a more human story as well,” Curran said.

The actor continued, saying King James “was deeply trying to find some sort of meaning” in life.

“When you can’t find meaning, you’ll find distraction,” Curran said. “I think he definitely found meaning in George Villiers.”

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