Sacha Dhawan Plays Orlov on ‘The Great,’ But What Else Has He Been In?

The Great tells a fictional story about Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) and her Russian emperor husband Peter (Nicholas Hoult). One of her biggest allies is Orlov, who is portrayed by Sacha Dhawan. The actor might look familiar to some, so here’s a breakdown of the other popular projects Dhawan has been in.

Sacha Dhawan and Elle Fanning in 'The Great'
Sacha Dhawan and Elle Fanning in ‘The Great’ | Hulu

Sacha Dhawan has an impressive TV resume

Dhawan is a British voice, screen, and stage actor who started his career at the age of 12. He landed his first TV role on the children’s series, Out of Sight in 1997. After that, the actor went on to work on popular British series like Weirdsister College and Chuggington.

But Dhawan eventually made the move to American TV with the recurring role of Manmeet on the 2010 NBC sitcom, Outsourced. He then went on to star in main roles in other British shows, including In the Club and Mr Selfridge

However, American audiences may recognize Dhawan from the Netflix Marel series, Iron Fist. In the second season, he played Danny Rand’s (Finn Jones) best friend-turned-enemy, Davos. The actor currently plays The Master on the popular sci-fi series, Doctor Who

Sacha Dhawan plays Orlov on ‘The Great’

In the Hulu series, The Great, Dhawan plays Catherine the Great’s confidant, Orlov. The character is very loosely based on the monarch’s real-life adviser and ally who helped her build a successful coup and ultimately rule Russia.

On the show, Orlov is shy, but a clever adviser to Peter. After Peter marries Catherine and treats her badly, she turns to books for solace. Eventually, it is Catherine’s love of literature that connects her to Orlov.  

RELATED: Before ‘The Great,’ Nicholas Hoult Was a Popular Child Actor

As she plans a coup to take over Russia, Catherine realizes Orlov’s unique position and intellect. So she recruits him to help her take over Peter’s throne. 

Orlov is reluctant at first, but seeing Peter’s destructive nature, he realizes Catherine would be a much better ruler. Through a number of different diplomatic tactics, Orlov manages to get other major players in the monarchy to see Catherine as a savior. 

‘The Great’ is a satirical version of a true story

While it may be based on real-life Russian monarchs from the past, The Great takes creative license to make their stories more satirical and entertaining. In an interview with Golden Derby, showrunner and writer Tony McNamara talked about why he chose to tell Catherine the Great’s story this way. 

“For me, period stuff was always very polite and I wasn’t a huge fan of politeness,” said McNamara. “I really wanted to tell Catherine the Great’s story, but I wanted to do it in a way that was fun for me to write and hopefully fun for the audience to watch.”

McNamara noted that while the monarch’s story is well-known, he wanted to tell it in a more relatable way. However, he said that covering Catherine’s rise to power, specifically, the impact she had on culture and enlightenment, was his main inspiration for the series. 

“How are you a 20-year-old kid who arrives in a country, who doesn’t speak the language, who’s married off to an idiot and you’re in this political system and somehow you take over the country and run it for the longest time,” McNamara explained. “And at the same time you do amazing things like you keep the Enlightenment alive, you start women’s education, you start science, you bring art, you invent the roller coaster and you’re also complicated and funny and certainly not perfect.”

The Great is currently streaming on Hulu.