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'The Serpent Queen': Samantha Morton to play Catherine de Medici

April 7 (UPI) -- Samantha Morton has joined the cast of the Starz series The Serpent Queen.

Starz confirmed in a press release Wednesday that Morton, 43, will play Catherine de Medici in the upcoming drama.

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The Serpent Queen is based on the Leonie Frieda book Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France. Justin Haythe will write the series and executive produce with Francis Lawrence. Stacie Passon will direct multiple episodes, including the pilot.

De Medici was an Italian noblewoman who became queen of France upon her marriage to King Henry II in 1533. She was the mother of Frances II, Charles IX and Henry III, all of whom became king of France.

The Serpent Queen will follow Catherine (Morton) as she marries into the 16th century French court. She learns her husband is in love with an older woman, her dowry is unpaid and she's unable to conceive.

"Yet, only with her intelligence and determination, she manages to keep her marriage alive and masters the bloodsport that is the monarchy better than anyone else, ruling France for 50 years," an official synopsis reads.

The Serpent Queen consists of eight episodes.

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Morton is known for the films Under the Skin and In America and for playing Alpha on The Walking Dead.

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