HBO’s The Regime Real Locations and Inspirations

Mar 10, 2024


The Regime is a political satire set in a fictional country, drawing inspiration from real-world politicians and authoritarian nations.
Filmed in Vienna, the series brings authenticity through European locations, contributing to the show’s unique setting and storyline.
Showrunner Will Tracy aimed to create an original story, avoiding direct parallels to real events to maintain the show’s comedic intentions.

Created by Will Tracy, The Regime is an HBO original series that debuted on March 3, 2024. Directed by Stephen Frears and Jessica Hobbs, the 6-episode drama stars Kate Winslet as Elena Vernham, the chancellor of a fictitious Central European country whose authoritarian hold is beginning to slip away. To stabilize the nation and maintain world order, Chancellor Vernham turns to Herbert Zubak (Matthias Schoenaerts), an ill-reputed soldier looking for public redemption.

Although The Regime takes place in an unnamed fictional country and focuses on fabricated characters, the drama draws inspiration from several real-life politicians and authoritarian nations. Furthermore, The Regime was filmed in several authentic European locations that fans are bound to get a kick out of. To gauge the story’s veracity, it’s time to find out how much of The Regime is based on reality and where the HBO original series was filmed.

The Regime 4/5 Release Date March 3, 2024 Streaming Service(s) HBO

Read our review

What is The Regime About?

Expanding the synopsis above, The Regime is an HBO original comedy series and political satire that takes place over one year in a fictional Central European nation. As the unspecified country struggles to maintain its authoritarian influence, former physician and current Chancellor Elena Vernham vows to increase her tyrannical rule and restore power to her autocratic nation. However, things don’t go as planned when Vernham relies on several incompetent and corrupt political advisors who often fail to advance the country’s agenda.

To help Chancellor Vernham return her nation to glory, the ruthless dictator turns to Herbert Zubak, a blemished soldier looking to get back into the country’s good graces. The closer Vernham and Zubak become, the more jealous Vernham’s French husband Nicholas (Guillaume Gallienne), sowing domestic turmoil among the growing political upheaval. As Nicholas conspires with Vernham’s staff members to discredit Zubak, Vernham’s foreign policies are challenged by the U.S. Secretary of State, Judith Holt (Martha Plimpton). The U.S. is invested in a cobalt mine in the fictional nation and vows to maintain a political and economic relationship with Vernham.

What is The Regime Based On?

While it’s easy to notice the real-world comparisons to the political leaders in The Regime, the story is not based on one specific person, nation, book, or previously published source material. According to showrunner Will Tracy via The Wrap, the goal was to use loose inspiration from several sources and create an original story. The blueprint was HBO’s hit drama Succession, a political satire loosely based on the Murdoch family, which he wrote for Season 4. As Tracy puts it:

“Everyone thought [‘Succession’] was going to be just an analog of the Murdochs or the Redstones or the Trumps and that was gonna be very reactive to what was happening in American politics, but you have to create your own thing. “I knew with inventing a country that although we did a lot of research that informed the show, I had to put it aside at a point and use what I could to make my own field.”

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For Tracy, the biggest challenge on The Regime was to avoid mirroring real-world events as accurately as possible. Because the show is a satire meant to poke fun at the state of world politics in 2024, hewing too closely to the facts would rob the show of its comedic intentions. According to Tracy:

“I did everything I could to go through there and try to iron out and remove any similarities or parallels as I could. Because it’s an invented country, and because it’s a small landlocked country in central Europe with a very particular politics and a very particular economy and very particular kind of leader, it would be difficult to mistake Elena for anyone but Elena.”

While the fictional country and characters do not have real-life inspirational counterparts, The Regime retains a sense of authenticity through its filming locations.

Where Was The Regime Filmed?

Principal photography for The Regime commenced in January 2023. While some filming took place at the Warner Bros. studio in Leavesden, Hertfordshire in England, and some exterior shots were filmed in London. However, most of the series was filmed in Vienna, Austria. When the show was in production under the title The Palace, HBO released a first-look image (above) of Kate Winslet’s terrific performance filming an interior scene in Vienna. According to the press release via Deadline, principal photography continued in the U.K. Specifically, filming took place at Titan Studios at 44 Kendal Avenue, London, England.

To increase the authenticity of the fictional country’s culture and customs, photography in The Regime also took place in The Liechtenstein Garden Palace, a portion of the city’s famed Liechtenstein Museum located in the Fürstengasse, in the 9th district of Vienna (via The Kurier). Per the trade, 200 people were on hand during the filming of The Regime in Vienna (two-thirds were Austrian), with the city earning up to 7 million Euros for its participation in the HBO original series. Interior scenes were also filmed inside the Palais Pallavinci in Vienna.

Tracy explained why he chose Vienna for the central location, he told Decider:

“One of the reasons why I was keen on Vienna was not just because it had the look and feel of how I imagined this country might look and feel — a feeling of Europe gotten into decrepitude — but also that Vienna strangely has not been over-filmed. What I have in my mind is a palace that looks kind of like this, where it’s sort of on the outskirts of a major capital city, but doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s like right in the heart of the city. And it feels sort of grand and a bit baroque and it looks as though it’s been sort of added on to over the years,”

In addition to the Garden Palace, parts of The Regime were also filmed in Vienna’s Schiller Park. According to The Kurier, the park was closed to the public until the end of February 2023 to accommodate filming. Schiller Park is located next to the Hotel am Ring, where The Regime co-star Andrea Riseborough was spotted boarding a shuttle for her call time by onlookers.

Matthias Schoenaerts was also spotted with a dog while filming took place in Schiller Park. The publication even included the catering company working on location for The Regime, Ö wie Knödel, which comes from South Tyrol, a western state in the Austrian Alps. The same catering company worked on the 2015 man-vs-nature movie Everest.

The first three episodes of The Regime are available to stream on Max. New episodes debut on HBO every Sunday.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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