Nicholas Galitzine shot 4 sex scenes with different partners in 1 day on “Mary & George”

"It's an incredibly empowering feeling," Galitzine tells EW.

Mary & George gives viewers plenty of bang for their buck.

Starz's new historical drama tells the story of George Villiers (Nicholas Galitzine), the eventual Duke of Buckingham, and his rise to power as the favorite (and rumored lover) of King James I of England (Tony Curran) — which mostly involves sleeping his way to the top.

The show features numerous intimate sequences, and it requires Galitzine to strip down as George rotates through a variety of partners and beds the King. But Galitzine says it wasn't as emotionally or as physically taxing as one might think.

"It always was about George," he tells Entertainment Weekly. "And telling George's story and finding out who he is in those moments and how he rose to such power via his dominating nature."

In fact, Galitzine describes shooting the intimate scenes with pride, remembering a day that put him through his paces, as it were. "There was one day where we did about four sex scenes in one day," he says. "I was going from room to room meeting strangers and saying, 'Hi, I am Nick, nice to meet you. Okay, this is the position we're going to be in.'"

<p>starz</p> Tony Curran and Nicholas Galitzine on 'Mary & George'


Tony Curran and Nicholas Galitzine on 'Mary & George'

Discussing sexual positions and choreography is certainly a unique way to meet your scene partner for the first time. But for Galitzine, it was a useful way to tap into the character's psyche. "You vicariously live through this man's sense of power," he says. "It's an incredibly empowering feeling. We had such a wonderful intimacy coordinator, and for the day players who came in for these singular scenes, I hope I made them feel comfortable. But I'm so proud of all that work that we did together."

The series is based on historical book The King's Assassin by Benjamin Woolley, which Galitzine referred to often, particularly because he wasn't all that familiar with Villiers as a historical figure.

"King James was more familiar to me than George was," he notes. "Most people in the U.K. won't know about George's ascent to power, but the writing is on the wall as we were doing press on Villiers Street in London. Life truly is stranger than fiction. Finding out all of this power that he ascended to and his voracious sexual appetite. There were things that we couldn't even include in the show because we didn't have enough time. He very famously bedded the Queen of France as well. It was such a joy to be able to play someone so textured."

Galitzine says he turned to Woolley for input, eventually channeling his understanding of Villiers into some changes in the later scripts. "I got to know George so well," he explains. "At various points later on in the script, I felt like he maybe didn't have as much autonomy as he should have. So, we went back to the drawing table."

"George is a tricky character," he continues. "George's power is much more in his physicality and what he doesn't say. Getting to know who George is in his quiet moments and what he's thinking and how he's absorbing all of these political interactions and intimate situations. It's a melding of both historical and then bringing my own perspective to the table."

Mary & George premieres on Starz on Friday, April 5.

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