Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category


Feb 28,2015

Claire Foy: Wolf Hall’s perfectly complex Anne Boleyn

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Was King Henry VIII’s second wife a sly mistress, ambitious hussy or doomed pawn in Tudor power games? Claire Foy’s magnetic portrayal in Wolf Hall left viewers thinking all of these things

Julia Raeside

For all the praise heaped upon Mark Rylance’s deserving shoulders for his beautifully subdued performance in Wolf Hall, less has been said about Claire Foy, the poised and emotionally complex Anne Boleyn he finally had executed in last night’s superb conclusion.

What did we think we knew about Anne before this series? In my mind she was a fusion of every painting, film and TV adaptation I’d seen on the subject, and there have been many. She was a six-fingered sorceress and trollop who seduced the married king, slept with her own brother, was wrongly accused of sleeping with her own brother, a pawn in a deadly game of Tudor chess, and an arch manipulator who pulled the king of England around by his codpiece, issuing instructions and forcing him to dump the Pope. Somewhere in there lies the truth.

In Foy’s firmly clasped hands she was ambitious. Spoiled and determined, certainly, but from the moment we met her, Anne was a woman desperately trying to keep her grip on an oily rope. Foy’s total assurance as she navigated scene after scene in which she was barely given more than two or three lines was dazzling. She didn’t need words to convey that inner bubbling tar barrel of fear and desperation; it all came burning through her eyes. It’s hard to look at anyone else in a scene with her because those eyes always pull you back. Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 25,2015

Wolf Hall episode 6 review: Master Of Phantoms

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Louisa Mellor

Wolf Hall concludes its superlative series with an episode that makes historical tragedy come alive…

This review contains spoilers.

1.6 Master Of Phantoms

A TV show that can make its audience feel every shaking, terrible moment of a death so muffled by historical wadding that it’s now more playground rhyme than human drama is something to cherish. And something to miss like a brother now that it’s gone.

Wolf Hall made Anne Boleyn’s beheading so rightly, wretchedly real that we could have been watching an online video of one of its horrendous modern day counterparts. With none of Debbie Wiseman’s delicately intuitive score to accompany Anne’s journey to the scaffold, deliberately, you could barely hear her final words over the sound of wind and flapping cloth. Director Peter Kosminsky positioned the audience as an onlooker in the crowd, complicit in an execution we all knew was coming, but that somehow came as a shock nevertheless.

All praise to Claire Foy in the role of Anne, who should properly be considered the joint lead of Wolf Hall’s final episodes. It was a work of alchemy that Foy managed to make Anne monstrous and pathetic at the same time. Her spite and arrogance toppled so quickly into desperation and panic when she realised her mistake in publicly speaking of remarriage after Henry’s death (“Get him back”) that you couldn’t rejoice in her cold, hard death. Who could smile broadly and open their arms in a celebrative embrace after something like that?

Well, he could, obviously, the real monster of Wolf Hall. Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 25,2015

Wolf Hall finale TV review: Claire Foy gives a fine turn as scheming Anne Boleyn

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Neela Debnath

It’s a dirty business being the king’s right-hand man.

For the Wolf Hall finale viewers witness Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) at his most vindictive as he ousts Anne Boleyn so that Henry (Damien Lewis) can pursue Jane Seymour (Kate Phillips).

Throughout we’ve sympathised with Cromwell. He has lost two daughters and his wife before his master Cardinal Wolsey (Jonathan Pryce) was toppled from power and kicked the bucket. But viewer empathy wears thin as he elicits false confessions for the sake of Henry’s ‘cause’. It’s an important and necessary shift and shows Cromwell as a multi-dimensional character – ultimately, we still like him.

Rylance has been consistently brilliant throughout this series and keeps the audience hooked – even when he says nothing at all. Lewis’ fickle monarch is marvellous too and is the real villain of Wolf Hall; his impulsive behaviour costs lives not to mention the entire excommunication of Rome. The closing shot of Cromwell and Henry’s hug neatly sums up their relationship.

However, Claire Foy steals the limelight in this episode with a fine performance as scheming queen Anne Boleyn.

In the closing scenes we experience something verging on sympathy for the wretch she is reduced to. All the arrogance and pride gives way to humility but of course it’s too late.

Wolf Hall has held us captive for six weeks. This is a rich and well-drawn presentation of Cromwell, whose Machiavellian character has been the focus of so many history books.

If the show gets a second series (which it most probably will) it will be delightful to see Rylance return. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Damien Lewis in a fat suit?

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Feb 25,2015

Fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about Anne Boleyn

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Henry VIII’s ill-fated wife was vivacious, violent – and apparently not that pretty. As BBC2’s Wolf Hall dramatises her final days, Ben Dowell delves into her life and death

Wolf Hall, BBC2’s magisterial adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor novels, finishes tonight and – spoiler alert! – things aren’t looking too clever for Anne Boleyn.

Yes, as anyone with even a passing interest in history could tell you, Henry VIII (as played by Damian Lewis in the drama) didn’t put his feet up alongside his second wife to enjoy their peaceful and romantic twilight years together.

Anne – played by Claire Foy – lasted just three years as Queen before her beading following a trial on charges of adultery, incest and high treason. Henry went on to exchange wedding vows four more times.

You may well know about Anne’s place in history and that she was the reason Henry broke with Rome after forcing his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon in order to marry her.

But there are plenty of other fascinating things about Anne’s life. And here are the best…

No-one knows how old she was…

Different historians have suggested that Anne was born as early as 1499 and as late as 1512, meaning that at the time of her execution at the Tower of London she could have been aged anywhere between 25 and 37… Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 20,2015

Wolf Hall, episode 5, review: ‘gold-standard drama’

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The Tudor drama has the best ensemble cast in years, says Gabriel Tate

4 stars out of 5

Anyone grumbling that Wolf Hall (BBC Two) has been a bit slow should have been sated by a penultimate episode cramming in a tournament, a murder, a miscarriage, possible arson, a blowing of the royal top and more award-winning eyebrow work from the magnificent Mark Rylance. While the latter has understandably hogged the limelight, his supporting players continue to prove themselves the finest ensemble assembled for a TV drama in years. Wan, twitchy Jessica Raine is a wonderfully slippery Jane Rochford, Mark Gatiss dripped poison in another tantalising cameo as Stephen Gardiner, and Bernard Hill’s glare on discovering the King had survived a jousting mishap (and therefore torpedoed Lord Norfolk’s loudly proclaimed wish to be crowned regent) would have frozen over the hell where Cardinal Wolsey was presumably residing.

Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), meanwhile, began her unwitting slide toward the scaffold. While the precariousness of her predicament was gradually dawning on her, she remained incapable of curbing either her inveterate scheming or tendency to overplay her hand. Her dog was the latest to pay the price, falling from a high ledge. “Perhaps his paws slipped?” suggested Cromwell. Where’s CJ Sansom’s Tudor detective Matthew Shardlake when you need him? Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 19,2015

Interview: Claire Foy, Anne Boleyn in ‘Wolf Hall’

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In a small room in Soho, Anne Boleyn is very far from dead. “She is tightly bound and birdlike, bony and mean,” Claire Foy says with feeling, as if describing a difficult friend. “She’s incredibly holy in a way. But then she’s horrible and pinches people. She’s violent, and she’s a snob.”

If Anne Boleyn has been gone since May 19 1536, beheaded at the Tower of London, her fame has kept her awkwardly alive: as shrew, victim, schemer or saucepot, depending on your version of events.

Foy knows Boleyn the hard way: she plays the Tudor queen in the BBC’s forthcoming miniseries Wolf Hall, a bewitching six-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novels. It’s a part that demands she be dislikeable, a part that she says she initially decided not to “go near with a bargepole”. But it wasn’t Anne’s spikiness or the overcrowding of actresses who have already chalked up the role, but rather Mantel’s telling of the story in Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies that made her wary.

“I was totally obsessed [by the books]. I loved them so much and had such a clear idea in my head of what she was like. When Peter [Kosminsky, Wolf Hall’s director] asked me to audition for it I said, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea. I don’t want to let you down because I love you.’ ”

Read the rest of the article at its source.



Feb 19,2015

Wolf Hall – On Set with… Claire Foy – Daily Mail Weekend Scans

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Claire, 30, who made her name in the title role of the BBC’s Little Dorrit in 2008, plays Anne Boleyn in BBC2’s epic Tudor drama Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s books. Here she takes us behind the scenes on the series, which was filmed at historic locations across Britain.

Thanks to Chuckie for the scans.



Feb 18,2015

Will BBC Renew The Series? Claire Foy Discusses Anne Boleyn’s ‘Emotional’ Death Scene

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New spoilers for “Wolf Hall” reveal that members of the miniseries’ production team are eager to film the third installment of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy, which the author is currently working on at the moment. Plus, Claire Foy discusses what it was like to film Anne Boleyn’s “emotional” death scene.

According to Radio Times, Mantel is currently hard at work writing the final installment of the series, which will be titled “The Mirror and the Light.”

However, executive producer Colin Callender revealed that the production team plus Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance are “eager” to film the last book in the trilogy because the miniseries has “substance” to it and isn’t just a “shallow” television show with no depth.

Given the fact that the Independent reports that “Wolf Hall” is now BBC2’s biggest original drama in a decade, as long as everyone’s schedules work out, it would not be surprising if the company greenlights a sequel miniseries once Mantel’s final novel in the trilogy is published.

Aside from whether or not there will be a sequel to BBC2’s popular miniseries, Claire Foy discussed what it was like to film Anne Boleyn’s death scene in “Wolf Hall.”

The actress admitted that she “got emotional” when the time came to film the execution scene in front of 200 extras and joked that she “had to have a word with herself” in order to gather her composure, especially since the famous Queen was stoic throughout the ordeal, notes Express.

Foy also pointed out that the speech Anne gave on the scaffold in “Wolf Hall” was actually the same one that the real Queen gave moments before her death.

Given the authenticity of the lines, the director also chose to film that sequence like a documentary in order to make the audience feel as if they are in the crowd watching Anne talk.

Keep checking back with Fashion&Style for the latest “Wolf Hall” news and updates!

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Feb 18,2015

Claire Foy DISHES On Playing Henry’s Doomed Queen

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‘Wolf Hall’ NEWS: Would Anne Boleyn Have Made An ‘Extraordinary Ruler?’ Claire Foy DISHES On Playing Henry’s Doomed Queen

It’s a good time to be a fan of the Tudors, as Claire Foy and Edward Holcroft have recently mused on what it is like to play the infamous Boleyn siblings in “Wolf Hall.” Meanwhile, Mark Rylance revealed how a childhood speech issue actually helped him to become a better actor as well.

Recently, Foy sat down with Radio Times to discuss how “history has done a great disservice” to Anne Boleyn, as she’s usually portrayed as a conniving temptress, an innocent martyr, or a traitor to the crown.

The actress points out that Anne didn’t fit into any of those stereotypes and muses that the truth about who the doomed Queen really was is far more complicated.

Foy adds that in real life, Henry’s second wife was incredibly interesting because despite the limitations for women at that time, Anne was able to achieve a great deal and if she had been born a man, the actress sincerely believes she would’ve made “an extraordinary ruler.”

However, Foy isn’t blind to the real Anne’s faults and admitted that “she had to convince herself that the contradictions within her character” was what drew Henry to her. Plus, while Anne was certainly not saint, she was an incredibly important person in English history.

Meanwhile, Edward Holcroft, who plays Anne’s brother George, also mused on the other infamous Boleyn sibling in an interview with Harpers Bazaar

He admitted that in “Wolf Hall,” George was written as a very arrogant man who, despite his meteoric rise to power at Henry’s court, is ultimately accused of incest and sentenced to death.

Despite the fact that Mantel’s version of George is not a very nice person, Holcroft is thrilled that he had the opportunity to star in “Wolf Hall,” especially because it gave him the opportunity to meet his idol, Mark Rylance.

Finally, even though Rylance’s critics and co-stars have praised the actor for his compelling portrayal of Thomas Cromwell, he revealed the basis for his talent: he couldn’t speak until he was six years old.

The Independent reports that Rylance admitted that “he’s very appreciative of words and speaking” because he was unable to talk until the age of six.

However, the actor also pointed out that even though he had speech difficulties as a child, it actually helped him in the long run because he learned to listen carefully and watch his surroundings.

Rylance added that the skills he developed in early childhood actually made him a better actor and is partially the reason why he’s winning such acclaim for his role in “Wolf Hall” as well.

Tudor history fans, do you agree with Foy’s assessment of Anne Boleyn? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment!


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Feb 07,2015

5 Reasons Claire Foy’s Wardrobe In Wolf Hall Is BANG On Trend

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by Hannah Rochell

Who’d have thought it? Anne Boleyn’s Tudor wardrobe was, like, SO s/s2015

Don’t know about you, but we’re hooked on BBC2’s new drama Wolf Hall starring Damian Lewis as a slightly slimmer Henry VIII than historical pictures might have us remember him, and brilliant actor Mark Rylance as the story’s hero Thomas Cromwell. But even though all the men are wearing skirts and jaunty hats (nice), it’s the ladies’ wardrobes we’re more interested in, and Claire Foy’s in particular. She plays Anne Boleyn, and it turns out that she was quite the trailblazer in fashion terms if costume designer Joanna Eatwell’s creations are anything to go by. Here’s why…

1. The Sleeves
We swooned over these totally impractical voluminous sleeves when they swooshed down Chloe’s catwalk at Paris fashion week in September. Perhaps best worn by ladies who don’t need to bother themselves with the mundane activities of everyday life like cleaning the loo/changing babies’ nappies/using the paper shredder at work.

2. The Square Necklines
If you’ve been listening to us harping on about it, you’ll know that this season is all about the Edwardian frilly high neckline. But for those of you who’d rather show a bit of boob, this is the historical period for you. Here’s a more modern squared off neckline at Alexander McQueen.

3. The Shades of Khaki
Anne even managed to squeeze one of the hottest colours of this season into her wardrobe – the Marc Jacobs collection was a sea of army green. We particularly like how this shot shows why turning up your sleeves was a whole world of pain in Tudor times (you needed more sleeves in a coordinating colour underneath!)

4. The Crowns
“Well she’s OBVIOUSLY going to wear a crown” you cry, “she was the blimmin’ queen!”. OK, you’ve got us there, this one was just an excuse to show this pretty Dolce & Gabbana shot from its s/s2015 collection. #regalchic

5. The Undergarments
As this behind-the-scenes picture of Claire shows, even Tudor undergarments are worth talking about. These bear a striking resemblance to Raf Simons’ stunning collection for Dior. We’d maybe lose that fetching yellow hair net, mind you.

Read more at http://www.instyle.co.uk/fashion/news/5-reasons-claire-foy-s-wardrobe-in-wolf-hall-is-bang-on-trend



Feb 07,2015

Claire Foy interview: “Anne Boleyn is the underdog, but she has massive balls…”

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By Adrian Lobb

Claire Foy plays Anne Boleyn in the BBC2 adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, alongside Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis and Mark Gatiss

Are you filming anything at the moment?

No, I’m not working. Just pottering around the house. We are attempting to sell our flat and there is crap everywhere. Oh, gosh, it is so boring. We have a baby imminently on the way as well. Perfect timing. We planned it all really well!

How much did you know of Anne Boleyn before you got the role?

I knew as much as everyone else knows, especially anyone who has been to primary school in England where you are taught the ‘divorced beheaded, died’ rhyme. She was always, obviously, the most interesting one. But we have all these ideas of what she is like, that she had six fingers, that she had loads of affairs, that she was a witch and a terrible, terrible wife. That is the impression I got as a seven year old. It is amazing that such crude propaganda lasts that long.

History is famously written by the winners, and I guess Anne didn’t win…

They destroyed so much of her legacy. They got rid of everything. I knew vaguely about her, from watching the Henry VIII with Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham Carter, who is the most amazing Anne Boleyn. And that was everything you imagine – she was sexy, crazy, dangerous. But then I read Wolf Hall and was surprised. She wasn’t at all how she was written by history. She was mean, not very attractive – I thought she was meant to be this massive sexpot! Cromwell finds her attractive in his own way, but he sees her more as a political player than a woman. She was not a woman by his standards, she has very dark hair, she is quite a dark person – not blonde and buxom and shiny like her sister. That is why I loved the books so much, it was so exciting to meet these new people, it was like reading someone’s diary, you were discovering them.

Do you see Wolf Hall, the novel and now the series, as rewriting history or correcting it?

It is Hilary Mantel’s interpretation of what might have happened. She is not taking liberties and changing stories, she is going with the facts and events of the time. You are genuinely looking at what might have happened, and what their psychologies might have been. I was taught as an actor that you start from what you know as factual. What makes her work so amazing is that you feel like it happened. I’m playing the Anne Boleyn that Hilary wrote. Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 07,2015

Wolf Hall, episode 3, review: ‘better and darker’

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The tense third episode of the BBC’s Wolf Hall confirmed it as a stellar political drama, says Tim Martin

5 stars

The gloves had to come off at some point. The third episode of Wolf Hall (BBC Two) opened as Thomas More (Anton Lesser) primly delivered a homily to a Protestant heretic under torture. Cut to Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell, gazing at a tapestry of a woman with fire under her feet and a sword at her throat. Cut again to Cromwell, in audience with Anne Boleyn herself. By this stage in the drama the queen-in-waiting (Claire Foy) was playing a dangerous game, but, tragically, straying out of her depth. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 30,2015

Radio Times – January 31, 2015 (Scans) – Claire Foy Interview – Wolf Hall

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Claire Foy is breathing new life into Anne Boleyn, the greatest ruler England never had…

Better than Henry — If Anne Boleyn had been born a man, she’d have made an extraordinary ruler, says Wolf Hall star Claire Foy.

Adapted from Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, BBC2’s six-part series is a finaly nuanced interpretation of historical events.

“All the facts are incredibly well researched,” says Foy, “but Hilary has written Anne as Thomas Cromwell would observe her. And that’s not particularly easy for an actor, because you can’t play what people see in their mind as opposed to what is actually going on.”



Jan 29,2015

Wolf Hall: everything you need to know about BBC Two’s Tudor drama

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Tonight is the second episode of the TV show everyone’s talking about. If you’re playing catch up, here’s our guide to everything you need to know about Wolf Hall

Neelanjona Debnath

Last week Wolf Hall became the biggest drama series on BBC Two for a decade after 3.9 million tuned in to watch the first episode. It’s also received glowing reviews all round from the critics.

The six-part drama set in the 16 Century during the reign of Henry VIII and focuses on the dissolution of his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon. But it’s Thomas Cromwell who is the main character rather than the king.

If you missed the start of the BBC Two Tudor drama but are planning on tuning in for the second episode tonight, we’ve put together a handy guide to help get you up to speed in time.

What’s it all about?

Wolf Hall is a fictional historical drama. It follows the rise of lawyer Thomas Cromwell during the reign of Henry VIII and Cromwell’s attempts to secure an annulment for the king from Catherine of Aragon. After 20 years of marriage she has failed to produce a male heir and now the king has set his sights on Anne Boleyn.

Actually, now that you mention it, Wolf Hall sounds familiar…

Wolf Hall has been adapted from Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name. It is the first book in a trilogy and the follow up Bring Up the Bodies again won the Man Booker Prize in 2012. Mantel will be concluding the series with The Mirror and the Light. Wolf Hall was also adapted into a play by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 29,2015

Wolf Hall, Entirely Beloved – TV review: Like Game of Thrones, but without the dragons or White Walkers

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Episode 2: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?

Neela Debnath

If last week was the start of this delicate and dangerous game of chess, the players merely assembled and ready, then tonight they begin to make their first moves. Just one step wrong and that could be the end – much like Cardinal Wolsey (Jonathan Pryce) who ends up dead leaving Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) to find a new master in Henry VIII (Damien Lewis).

Game of Thrones fans tuning in to watch Wolf Hall might notice similarities between the politicking in King’s Landing and Henry VIII’s court – and they wouldn’t be wrong.

George RR Martin was partly inspired by the reign of the English monarch while writing his A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and it’s not hard to see why: this is no boring history lesson, it’s compelling stuff. You really do win or you die at Henry’s court.

The power play keeps us hooked: Cromwell’s “interpretation” of Henry’s dream illustrates perfectly how the lawyer is manipulating the situation to help secure the King’s divorce from his first wife Katherine of Aragon (Joanne Whalley) to clear the way for Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy). Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 29,2015

Wolf Hall: Bring up the bodices … how Tudor costumes of Damian Lewis, Claire Foy and Mark Rylance measure up

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Corsets, codpieces and going commando — dressing as a Tudor is quite the costume drama. We pile on the velvet and pull up our tights for a big Wolf ball

Susannah Butter
Guy Pewsey
Joshi Herrmann

There is no requirement to read the book first. Political intrigue combined with the triumvirate of Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance and Claire Foy in a study of a court ruled by ambition and desire make the television adaptation of Wolf Hall an instant Wednesday night watch. But what really grabs us is the costumes. In last night’s episode we saw Mary Boleyn stroking Thomas Cromwell’s Italian grey velvet jacket admiringly. This sumptuous fabric was enough — apparently — to make her forget Cromwell is old enough to be her father.

Meanwhile codpieces and corsets trended on Twitter and Pinterest is humming with mood boards about 16th-century apparel. Even Valentino gave a nod to the era in his Paris couture show yesterday. Everyone wants a Wolf Ball. The prize venue is Hampton Court Palace — which celebrates its 500th anniversary this year with the reopening of the wine fountain and roaring fires designed to roast an entire cow.

With all that in mind, we visited the National Theatre Costume Hire Department, where they are dusting off the bustles in anticipation of a Wolf Hall inspired renaissance for 16th-century themed parties (Downton and Gatsby saw similar boosts in Edwardian and flapper garb).

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall’s author, says our fascination with the Tudors comes from our ability to recognise ourselves in them. That includes the appeal of getting trussed up in velvet hats and corsets. Jessica Proudman, who dressed us, says no one is immune. “We get corporate clients interested in dressing up — people from Glencore [the commodities giant], investment bankers, people in oil — more often than not it is the men who are dragged in against their will but end up staying here for ages trying on different hats. Some go for the codpieces, although many are scared.” Prices start at £120 for a consultation and rental.

Henry VIII was a powerful man — the look is not to be taken lightly. Wolf Hall costume designer Joanna Eatwell describes the outfits as walking furniture, and Proudman says costumes are made from upholstery fabric. No central heating meant velvet layers were essential and the corridors of power were wide enough for three-dimensional outfits. Whether or not you follow the example of the Tudors and dispense with underwear is up to you. Proudman says knickers were not necessary until the 1920s — when shorter hemlines came in. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 29,2015

Wolf Hall, episode 2, review: ‘magnificent’

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The second episode of the BBC’s Wolf Hall was a dizzying spectacle, says Jasper Rees

5 stars

We’re now two hours in and, with a mass of plot to get through, Wolf Hall (BBC Two) is still in no hurry. Though adapted from a wordy source, it has a world of time for silence, for the pregnant spaces between speeches, in which everything and nothing is said.

It goes without saying that Mark Rylance is a master at withholding. In this second episode, both Boleyn girls – poor, pleading Mary (Charity Wakefield) and fearsome, frustrated Anne (Claire Foy) – looked into Thomas Cromwell’s green eyes and waited for the flicker of a response. Only the king got answers, and even he was told what Cromwell wanted him to hear. When the king’s dead brother Arthur visited him in a dream, Cromwell was summoned in the night to put a positive spin on the vision.

The relationship between Cromwell and Henry VIII has grown intimate. As Rylance hovered in the tall shadow of Damian Lewis, not presuming to look him in the eye, was anyone else reminded of The Fast Show’s vertical bromance between Charlie Higson’s diffident country gent and Paul Whitehouse’s wary yokel? Except that here Rylance is performing the seduction, and we’re caught in his web.

The only one with any sway over Cromwell is his sister-in-law Johane (Saskia Reeves). In their understated scenes he sits exposed. “There’s a conversation I shouldn’t have had,” he berated himself after inquiring about her marriage. Soon they were kissing, putting Cromwell in a good enough mood to share anecdotes from his years in Italy. No wonder his boisterous young entourage crowded around.

So far director Peter Kosminsky and scriptwriter Peter Straughan have arranged the narrative as, more or less, a series of conversational jousts. It’s like watching a chess grandmaster go around a room playing 20 challengers at once. The spectacle is dizzying, and the acting magnificent. By the end, as Cromwell was sworn into the Privy Council, the prospect loomed of taking God’s vengeance for Wolsey’s humiliation.

“There’s no need to trouble God,” he muttered. “I’ll take it in hand.” Be warned. In one beautiful tableau Johane snuffed out a roomful of candles. Next week, it won’t be her doing the snuffing.

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Jan 27,2015

Claire Foy admits she was left ‘emotional’ over Anne Boleyn death scene in Wolf Hall

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ACTORS may be known for masking their emotions well.

By Stephanie Takyi

However Wolf Hall star Claire Foy has revealed she found it hard not to get emotional while filming her character’s death scene.

The 30-year-old TV star plays the second wife of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, in the hit BBC2 drama alongside Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII.

During an interview with Radio Times the pregnant actress admitted that the execution scene, in front of 200 extras, was a difficult experience.

“I had to have a bit of a word with myself, because I was feeling very emotional about the whole thing whereas Anne, by all accounts, really kept it all together,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 22,2015

Wolf Hall becomes BBC2’s biggest drama in a decade after attracting 3.9 million

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Wolf Hall becomes BBC2’s biggest drama in a decade after attracting 3.9 million

Wolf Hall won’t make its way to PBS’ Masterpiece until April 5, but it did kick off last night on BBC Two in the UK. The six-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning historical fiction novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, bowed to strong ratings and five-star reviews (see trailer below). The series charts the rise of Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance, from lowly blacksmith’s son to the closest adviser of Tudor king Henry VIII, who is embodied by Damian Lewis. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 21,2015

Interview with Damian Lewis, Claire Foy and Mark Rylance, stars of Wolf Hall

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By Herts & Essex Observer

From sword-fighting lessons to wince-inducing corsets, every effort was made to ensure BBC Two’s upcoming Tudor epic Wolf Hall was as authentic as possible.

But actor Mark Rylance had one issue on the set of the six-part drama, adapted from Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.

“The codpieces are too small,” says the star, 54, who plays Henry VIII’s closest advisor Thomas Cromwell. “I think it was a directive from our American producers, PBS – they like small codpieces which always seemed to be tucked away.”

The Kent-born actor clarifies that he “wasn’t personally disappointed” by the accessory, worn in Tudor times at the front of men’s breeches and seen as a symbol of virility. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 20,2015

The Independent Magazine (Scans) – To dress a King

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Thanks Chuckie for the exclusive scans.

Please credit or place a link back to our site if you decide to use them and don’t remove our tags. Thanks in advance.

Wolf Hall” starts on BBC Two on Wednesday 21 January at 9pm.



Jan 19,2015

Hot TV (Scans) – Mark Rylance stars as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall

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Right-Hand Man — Mark Rylance stars as Thomas Cromwell in an epic new drama.

Looking for something to get your teeth into this month? Well, you’re in luck, because a major adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels arrives on BBC2 this week and it’s a real animal.



Jan 19,2015

2015 Winter TCA Tour – Day 13

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2015 Winter TCA Tour - Day 13

(L-R) Executive producer Rebecca Eaton, actors Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance, director Peter Kosminsky and executive producer Colin Callender with actress Claire Foy (via satellite) speak onstage during the ‘MASTERPIECE “Wolf Hall”’ panel discussion at the PBS Network portion of the Television Critics Association press tour at Langham Hotel on January 19, 2015 in Pasadena, California.

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“If ever there was a masterpiece on ‘Masterpiece,’ this is it,” Rebecca Eaton, exec producer of PBS’ “Masterpiece,” said at Monday’s Television Critics Assn. panel for “Wolf Hall.” The six-part miniseries, based on Hilary Mantel’s book and its sequel “Bring Up the Bodies,” stars “Homeland’s” Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance and Claire Foy.

Lewis, whose character, Nicholas Brody, was killed off in Showtime’s hit, for which he won an Emmy, said King Henry VIII is a part he’s excited to tackle.

“My vanity will always relish a challenge,” Lewis said. “In fact, that probably encourages me.”

Assuring the room of reporters he’s not afraid to take on such a weighty role, Lewis said, “There’s a real opportunity to look differently at a period of history that is loved and well known.” He’s also excited to bring new light to the “syphilitic, philandering Elvis people think [King Henry VIII] is.”

“Henry, as a brand, is right up there with Coca Cola,” Lewis said. “In terms of brand recognition, you have to go look at other things, and I think we have.”

“Wolf Hall,” exec produced by Colin Callender and directed by Peter Kosminsky, debuts on PBS April 5. The drama runs through May 10.

Source: Variety

More from the PBS TCA Winter Press Tour:
Deadline – Damian Lewis Says Henry VIII As Big A Brand As Coca Cola



Jan 17,2015

Claire Foy on playing Anne Boleyn and getting her head chopped off

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Drama Queen – Claire Foy on the trials and tribulations of becoming Anne Boleyn for the television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.

Thanks Chuckie for the exclusive scans.

Please credit or place a link back to our site if you decide to use them and don’t remove our tags. Thanks in advance.

Wolf Hall” starts on BBC Two on Wednesday 21 January at 9pm.



Jan 17,2015

Wolf Hall’s Damian Lewis: ‘We try to give a more varied portrait of Henry VIII’

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THE Homeland star plays King Henry VIII in Wolf Hall, a gripping new BBC drama that reassesses the role of one of history’s arch-villains, Thomas Cromwell

By Vicki Power

Packed with intrigue, sex, scandal, royals and seismic change, the tumultuous tale of how King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church in order to marry his second wife, Anne Boleyn, is one of the most thrilling in our history.

It’s no surprise that the story has been rendered on film and television dozens of times and its cast of characters are as well known to us as the Mitchells on EastEnders.

But this week we’ll hear a different spin on the tale. BBC1’s lavish new drama Wolf Hall tells this chunk of English history solely from the viewpoint of Henry’s ruthless right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

It’s based on Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Booker Prize-winning historical novel of the same name, in which she controversially recast Cromwell not as the arch-villain of history but as a sympathetic, suave and brilliant fixer to the king whose actions are understandable even when they are incredibly brutal.

“I like stories where people change. And this character changes a lot.” – Mark Rylance

Acclaimed theatre star Mark Rylance tackles the role of Cromwell, with Damian Lewis as the capricious Henry VIII and Little Dorrit’s Claire Foy as ambitious queen-to-be Anne Boleyn.

In the first episode we meet Cromwell as a happily married father of three before he goes to work for Henry VIII. As legal secretary to Cardinal Wolsey (Jonathan Pryce), the former Lord Chancellor, Cromwell is trying to get his beleaguered master restored to the King’s good favour. Wolsey has been cast out after failing to get the Pope to agree to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Henry wants to marry Anne and produce a male heir – Henry and Catherine’s only surviving child is Mary, later Queen (or Bloody) Mary. Also, tragedy strikes the Cromwell household as a fatal epidemic claims the lives of his wife, Elizabeth, and two young daughters.

Rylance, best known for his 1995-2005 stint as artistic director of London’s Globe Theatre, says he was drawn to the part after his wife, musical director and composer Claire van Kampen, praised the books to him. “I like stories where people change,” he says. “And this character changes a lot.” Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 17,2015

Actress Claire Foy talks about her character Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall

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By Czarina Nicole O. Ong

Actress Claire Foy has been given the role of Anne Boleyn in the BBC 10-episode series Wolf Hall, and she talks about the challenges she encountered portraying the infamous love of King Henry VIII of England.

“The more auditions I did, the more I didn’t know who she was,” Foy told The Independent. But she did try her best in understanding the workings of her mind in order to give a better, more honest portrayal of the queen who lost her head.

“Anne didn’t see any limitations in what she could achieve. She saw that she was very bright and could charm people, even if they hated her. Her real downfall was that she couldn’t leave well enough alone: she was supposed to be silent and graceful and admired, but wouldn’t be that ethereal figure. She wanted to be in the thick of it.”

But understanding Boleyn wasn’t even half of her challenge. Her pregnancy, of course, made it difficult for the actress to get into character because of all the hormones acting up.

“I’m normally very focused, especially if it’s an emotional scene,” Foy said. “But I was sitting going: there’s nothing happening here, I’m completely dead inside. I thought I’d lost the ability to act. When I did realize I was pregnant and that my hormones were going slightly mad, I couldn’t tell anyone. The costumes were hot and tight, but I couldn’t complain so I was just angry with everyone all the time.”

Despite her emotions, what Foy wanted, of course, was for the audience to be completely enamored by the show, the same way she was with Pride and Prejudice.

“As a teenager I watched Pride and Prejudice with my cousins every weekend under the duvet, and made no connection to literature or anything,” she recalled. “I was just completely involved. I’d love it if people responded to this in the same way.”

Source



Jan 17,2015

Claire Foy on Wolf Hall – Time for a little history.

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By Teddy Jamieson

The actress Claire Foy plays Anne Boleyn in the new BBC historical drama series Wolf Hall. But how’s her own knowledge of the Tudor era? Let’s test her. Complete this sentence, Claire. “Henry the Eighth was a …”

“A bit of a tyrant, I think,” Foy says, smiling, as we sit in an office in central London. “He was like the perfect king. He was tall. He was strong. He had red hair.”

Red hair? Maybe that’s why the BBC chose Damien Lewis to play him in this new adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel.

“He was the most English, virile bloke,” Foy continues. “He was amazing at all sports. But he really did do some incredibly dubious, sly, untoward things. He was a kid really. He couldn’t deal with the consequences of any of his decisions. He got other people to do everything for him. And how could you sentence your wife to death and meanwhile be in the country romancing another girl and never think about her? It shows how tyrannical he could be.”

So, we’re agreed then Claire. Henry the Eighth was a sociopath. “Yes, I think that’s definitely the word. But then saying that, he was incredibly charming and gregarious.”

Do we know that though? Who would have dared tell the King he was being rude? Yeah, Foy agrees. “He could just have been horrible and flatulent. But Damien was very charming.”

So what can have we learned? Perhaps that Damien Lewis does not fart on set. Good to know. We’ve also learned that Claire Foy has done her research about the Tudors. She was a big fan of Mantel’s novel even before she was approached to appear in Peter Kosminsky’s new drama. The star of TV dramas Little Dorrit and Promises was worried that she wouldn’t be able to play Anne because, having read the book, she didn’t actually like her very much.

Even now, she admits, it’s difficult to understand Boleyn’s actions. “A lot of the stuff she did I just couldn’t get my head around. She’s really religious but she is incredibly cruel to people and if something’s wrong she deliberately takes it out on other people straight away. She just instantly lashes out. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 17,2015

Claire Foy talks about playing Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall

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Claire Foy has admitted that dressing up in period costume for new drama Wolf Hall isn’t as glamorous as it might seem.

The Upstairs Downstairs actress plays Anne Boleyn, eventual wife of Henry VIII (Damian Lewis), in the new BBC Two drama.

“In the first few weeks, the dresses were magical and amazing,” the 30-year-old said.

“But then it gets to July and you’re in a stately home, not able to drink water, sit down, not really able to breathe, and you’re regretting asking for the corset to be so tight in the fitting,” she said of filming the Tudor epic.

Claire found her character, in the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, more sympathetic than the “cliched Anne Boleyn version” she learnt about in school.

“She is this amazingly strong woman living in this man’s world, and she has [traditionally] got to be seen as hormonal and a bit mad,” she said.

“I felt a lot of compassion for this woman. She was an incredible character with such spirit and an amazing person to be around, but she was too much of a powerful opponent for Cromwell, so she had to go.”

Wolf Hall begins on BBC Two on Wednesday, January 21.

Source



Jan 15,2015

Radio Times (Scans) – Wolf Hall: Damian Lewis & Hilary Mantel on 2015’s biggest drama

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He’s one of history’s great villains. So how did the author of Wolf Hall turn Thomas Cromwell into Henry VIII’s hero?

[…]

“The fall of Anne Boleyn is the subject of Bring Up the Bodies, my second Cromwell novel. The novel, and the TV retelling, ends with her execution. Why revisit some of the best-known events in English history? It seemed to me that at the core of the story there was something missing. There was a moving area of darkness where Cromwell ought to be. Much studied by academic historians, he appears in popular history as an all-purpose, pre-packaged villain. In fiction and drama he’s just off the page or in the wings, doing something nefarious: but what? I wanted to put the spotlight on him; more than that, I wanted to get behind his eyes, the eyes of a man obscurely born, and watch as his country shapes itself about him, a dazzle of possibility.” — Hilary Mantel



Jan 15,2015

The Tudor godfather: Henry VIII’s court was as brutal as any Mafia clan

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By Daphne Lockyer

A pale and dignified Anne Boleyn picks her way across the rough terrain in elegant little shoes, en route to her own execution.

Above her the sky is growing darker and more ominous by the moment. The blustery wind ripples through her ermine cape and buffets the skirts of her damask gown – its deep grey colour chosen to neutralise the bright red blood that’s about to flow.

The scaffold itself is a gruesome sight. There’s the executioner, ordered from Calais, and the glint of the 4ft-long sword that will dispatch her.

Before the end, of course, we must hear the famous, final speech – delivered by Anne while kneeling at the block – the one in which this former Queen of England, now dumped, divorced, divested of her title and about to be decapitated on the say-so of her husband Henry VIII, talks of his goodness.

‘I pray God save the King… For a gentler nor a more merciful prince there never was. Oh Lord, have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul,’ she adds, before the blade falls – at which precise moment of filming, the heavens decide to open and the rain begins to fall.

This is one of the pivotal scenes in the BBC’s brilliant six-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s duo of Booker Prize-winning historical novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, starring theatre veteran Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII.

Claire Foy, the actress who plays the doomed Boleyn, is still reeling from the execution scene, days later. ‘Everything on that day – including the weather – was just so heightened,’ she explains. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 14,2015

TV Times (Scans) – TV Times meets the cast of Wolf Hall

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“I think, probably, every actor in England went up for a part in this,” jokes Claire Foy, 30 (who starred in Peter Kosminsky’s 2011 C4 political drama The Promise). “And the really lucky ones, like me got included.”



Jan 14,2015

What’s On TV (Scans) – Damian Lewis stars as King Henry VIII in Wolf Hall

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“Anne Boleyn had an extraordinary power over the King,” says Damian Lewis. “Henry was so infatuated with her, he pursued her for five years. He’s also driven by his obsession over a male heir.”



Jan 14,2015

TV & Satellite Week – 17 January 2015 (Scans) – Damian Lewis and Claire Foy reveal what makes Wolf Hall’s Tudor England different and darker

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Power, corruption and lies — Damian Lewis and Claire Foy reveal what makes Wolf Hall‘s Tudor England different and darker.

“I’m not playing Henry as the womanising, syphilitic, genocidal, bloated Elvis character that people probably expect.” — Damian Lewis

[…]

“For example, I’d read stuff about Anne Boleyn having warts and six fingers,” laughs Foy. “Fortunately I wasn’t asked to play her that way”.

As well as that, she was also said to be promiscuous. “Her critics, and there were lots of them, called her ‘The Great Whore’, and claimed she had special tricks in the bedroom that she’d learned in the French court, which was why Henry fell in love with her. But, actually, it’s far more likely that she was a virgin, who kept Henry waiting for five long years.

“She was smart and knew exactly how to play him, although in the end, of course, it didn’t stop him from having her executed,” continues Foy.



Jan 12,2015

Telegraph Magazine Scans: Games of Throne

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Authenticity is everything in the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel’s take of Tudor intrigue, right down to the very last pin on an extra’s costume.

Thanks Chuckie for the exclusive scans.

Please credit or place a link back to our site if you decide to use them and don’t remove our tags. Thanks in advance.

Wolf Hall” starts on BBC Two on Wednesday 21 January at 9pm.



Jan 11,2015

Claire Foy interview: The ‘Wolf Hall’ star on politics in the Tudor court and Hollywood

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Foy is unforgettable as doomed queen Anne Boleyn in the six-part BBC adaptation, to be broadcast later this month

By Gabriel Tate

Claire Foy has been thinking about babies a lot recently. The reason is plain as soon as the 30-year-old walks into her publicist’s office. She’s unmistakably, gloriously pregnant (her first child with new husband and fellow actor Stephen Campbell Moore), and, with my own new parenthood looming imminently, I can’t help gasping in admiration. We then spend a frankly unprofessional amount of our allotted time sharing assorted hopes and fears before agreeing it might be best for our respective careers if we talked shop.

Foy’s latest role, as Anne Boleyn in the BBC’s Wolf Hall, means this segue isn’t as awkward as it might have been: Boleyn’s fate was determined by her fecundity. As to Anne’s psychology, however, she remains a conundrum. It’s no disservice to Foy, Hilary Mantel, or Peters Straughan and Peter Kosminsky, who have written and directed the six-part adaptation of Mantel’s Booker-winning diptych about the life of Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance), to suggest that she’s as unknowable at the end of the BBC’s six-part Wolf Hall as she was at the outset. Read the rest of this entry »





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