The series attempts to go beyond the folklore to unravel whether Rasputin was “a true healer or the greatest charlatan the world has known.” Rasputin played an influential role in Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra’s household as a healer for their only son, Tsarevich Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia. His enemies tried to kill him in 1914, finally succeeding in 1916. Kapur, who has previously directed Bandit Queen (1994) and Elizabeth (1998), will direct and executive produce with Scheuring. Smith serves as consultant. The makers decided to bring the director onboard after learning about his fascination for Rasputin’s life.