A remarkable cast has been assembled for BBC2’s MotherFatherSon, which stars Richard Gere (yes, Richard Gere!) as charismatic self-made American newspaper magnate Max.
Across eight episodes, this new series from The Assassination of Gianni Versace and London Spy screenwriter Tom Rob Smith will tell a story of family, loyalty, power, and a country on the brink of change.
Also starring are Helen McCrory as his ex-wife Kathryn, Billy Howle as their messed-up son (and Max’s would-be heir) Caden, and Sarah Lancashire as opposition politician Angela Howard.
- Meet the cast of MotherFatherSon
- PREVIEW: Richard Gere drama MotherFatherSon is a brilliantly ambitious tale of family, conspiracy and power
- Sarah Lancashire joins Richard Gere in BBC drama MotherFatherSon
Here’s everything you need to know…
When will MotherFatherSon be on TV?
In the UK, the eight-part drama MotherFatherSon will begin on Wednesday 6th March at 9pm on BBC2.
Viewers in New Zealand can tune in to the first episode on Sunday 28th April at 9:45pm on TVNZ 1, and on Sunday 12th May at 8:30pm on BBC First in Australia.
Is there a trailer for MotherFatherSon?
Yes! And it gives a glimpse of what happens when Caden’s self-destructive lifestyle spirals out of control.
What is MotherFatherSon about?
The eight-part drama is centred around family members Max (Richard Gere), a self-made American who owns one of the world’s most influential business empires, his ex-wife Kathryn (Helen McCrory), and their grown-up son Caden (Billy Howle) who runs his father’s UK newspaper The National Reporter and is set to follow in his footsteps.
But although his father has installed him in this high-profile job that makes him one of the most powerful people in the country, Caden knows that Max considers him a liability – and it hurts. He is crumbling under the pressure of his father’s expectations and judgement and turns to drugs and excess.
After a disastrous meeting between father and son, Caden’s destructive lifestyle eventually catches up with him and he suffers a massive stroke that leaves him like a helpless child. This devastating event threatens the future of the family and their business empire, and also has profound implications for the country in the run-up to a general election.
“I think this idea that the capillary bursts in someone’s head, this crazy fluke thing, and then the idea that it could change the course of the country was interesting to me,” said writer Tom Rob Smith at a screening in London.
As Caden begins to learn basic skills from scratch, he must navigate his relationship with both his mother and father, and decide what life he wants to live.
Smith explains: “That is the heart of the piece. If you had to restart your life, what’s important? Who are we, essentially? And then if you think you’re using that as your central idea, then you look at everything. What’s the world like? Why is the world like this? You get to question everything.”
As the title “MotherFatherSon” might suggest, Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders), Richard Gere (Pretty Woman) and Billy Howle (Witness for the Prosecution) lead the cast.
Max is an “alpha male,” who loves to throw his weight around and play mind games that assert his dominance, whether that’s over his son or the Prime Minister.
On Richard Gere’s casting, Director James Kent said: “My job is to try and deliver authentic characters who you don’t go, ‘Ahhh he’s okay but he’s playing bigger than he really is.’ Well, if you have Richard Gere, who brings his legacy with him, but also he is truly a man of great presence on the screen, then you don’t doubt he couldn’t be a Max.”
His ex-wife Kathyrn is a bit of a “rebel” who finds herself on the outside of her son and ex-husband’s lives. McCrory said: “You start with somebody who’s a shadow of their former self because she’s still in the throes of getting over a divorce… and she is not yet ‘the mother’ perhaps.”
As for Caden, he is a ball of anger and resentment who is so buttoned up he can barely talk to his parents, instead turning to drugs and self-destructive behaviour. Howle explained: “People consider anger such a sort of simplistic emotion, but [in Caden] there’s a sort of resentment but no explanation for it… there’s this alienation.”
The drama also boasts Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) as Angela Howard, MP and Leader of the Opposition, although which political party she belongs to is never specified.
This was deliberate, as Tom Rob Smith revealed: “You can see we’re dealing with issues of populism, but we’re not really talking about specific parties… there’s no real life references in this piece. We don’t talk about real politicians, we don’t mention any real events. But it’s about the nature of power.”
Pippa Bennett-Warner plays Max’s senior executive and advisor Lauren, and Black Panther star Danny Sapani plays Jahan Zakari, the first Muslim Prime Minister of the UK.
Sinéad Cusack (Call the Midwife), Paul Ready (Motherland) and Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones) also star.