May 12,2014

BBC Adaption Of ‘Wolf Hall’: What We Know So Far

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by Sophie Miskiw

The BBC adaption of Hilary Mantel’s historical novel ‘Wolf Hall’ seems like it’s finally making some headway.

It may be nearly two years since BBC Two first announced that it would be adapting Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize historical novel Wolf Hall, but details about the series are only just beginning to emerge. The series was announced in August 2012 and at the time director Peter Kosminsky, who was chosen to bring the book to life, said, “It is an intensely political piece. It is about the politics of despotism, and how you function around an absolute ruler…When I saw Peter Straughan’s script, only a first draft, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was the best draft I had ever seen.”

Wolf Hall, which charts the rise in power of English statesman Thomas Cromwell under the rule of Henry VIII, has been hailed by The Observer as one of the ’10 best historical novels.’ Casting news has begun to trickle through, with Homeland’s Damian Lewis pegged to star as Henry and The Woman in Black’s Jessica Raine as the manipulative Jane Rochford. Rochford was marred to Anne Boleyn’s brother, George, and played a role in the downfall of Henry’s second wife.

Mark Rylance, two time Tony Award winning stage actor, will play Cromwell. Also cast is Little Dorrit’s Claire Foy as the infamous Anne Boleyn, Mark Gatiss, best known as Mycroft Holmes from BBC’s Sherlock as Stephen Gardiner and Game of Thrones’ Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Rafe Sadler.

Wolf Hall is part of Mantel’s trilogy of books based on the life and downfall of Thomas Cromwell, of which Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies have been released thus far. Bring Up the Bodies was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2012, 3 years after she won it the first time with Wolf Hall.

Filming on the BBC adaption of Wolf Hall recently began in the South West of England, while six National Trust properties have been used. Speaking of the project Mark Rylance said, “[Kosminsky] has cast Wolf Hall with a superb eye for character and all the nuanced humanity Ms Mantel’s masterpieces deserve.”

The six-episode adaption of Wolf Hall is scheduled to be first broadcast on BBC Two in 2015. Let’s hope that it goes down a little better than the BBC’s last attempt to adapt a historical novel. The White Queen was a disappointment to both fans of the book and those new to the story and was not commissioned for a second season, despite being part of a triology itself.

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