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. Continue reading Claire Foy interview: The ‘Wolf Hall’ star on politics in the Tudor court and Hollywood
I really like the fact that Charity Wakefield and Claire Foy, who play the Boleyn sisters, took their time to research the characters they played:
“Anne was called the Great Whore by people who didn’t like her. But Claire and I talked about it and researched it and we’re pretty sure that, actually, she was a virgin until Henry and that was all part of her determination to become the queen.”
Read more in a new interview with Charity Wakefield, who plays Mary Boleyn: Daily Mail
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“Wolf Hall” starts on BBC Two on Wednesday 21 January at 9pm.
By Lucy Worsely
His Tudor costume weighs a ton, held together by a complex arrangement of pins; there are no sewing-machine seams, zips or modern fastenings to simplify the laborious chore of dressing.
Yet Homeland star Damian Lewis is not only comfortable in King Henry VIII’s velvet robes, but is alarmed – and delighted – to discover character traits he shares with England’s most famous king.
Like Henry, he suffered concussion after an accident – though he tumbled from a motorbike, rather than from a steed during a vigorous bout of jousting.
I was intrigued to find Lewis shared the latest historical theory that the accident may have triggered great change in the monarch and led to his descent into tyranny and darkness.
‘I’ve suffered from concussion myself from a motorbike crash,’ he explains.
‘I spent three months afterwards getting into needless fights and suffering from bouts of depression, unable to watch TV or read because of migraines.
‘I would often not get dressed and just do puzzles in my flat.
‘So I think it’s absolutely plausible that it had an effect on Henry’s character.’
He adds: ‘I think we all have an understanding that Henry was a womanising, syphilitic, bloated, genocidal Elvis character.
‘But in the period I play him he had a 32in waist and was much taller than anyone else. His beautiful pale complexion was often remarked on.
‘I found that the grandiose, more paranoid, self-indulgent, self-pitying, cruel Henry emerged in the period after this.’
Lewis is playing King Henry in Wolf Hall, the ambitious six-part BBC television series based on Hilary Mantel’s Booker prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. The programme will be screened on BBC2 this month.
After the success of the books, and the smash-hit stage play with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the stellar cast (with the likes of Mark Rylance, Claire Foy and Jonathan Pryce alongside Lewis) has made the TV production the most talked-about BBC drama in decades.
On the day I have exclusive access to the set and actors, at Bristol Cathedral (one of 40 locations selected for filming), they are shooting the coronation of a heavily pregnant Anne Boleyn (played by Claire Foy).
Of Boleyn, Foy says: ‘I think she was born at the wrong time. She was really a modern woman who believed that she could rise above where she was born.
‘She didn’t see any restrictions on what her opinions should be, or what she could read. She was incredibly intelligent, especially about herself, what her charms were and weren’t.
‘She was obviously an incredible character with such spirit, but she was just that bit too much of a powerful opponent for Cromwell, so she had to go.’
There are 16 make-up artists among the production team of 80, and disarray is caused by the constant doffing of caps (there are eight minutes of cap-doffing in the entire series).
About 70 per cent of the cast are wearing either wigs or hairpieces, and the constant Tudor on-and-off takes its toll on them.
Also present are 74 courtiers, six bishops, six knights and four royal guards. (And still they don’t fill the cathedral.)
Foy reveals that the ‘baby bump’ is uncomfortable under her costume, and isn’t sure how to ‘prostrate’ herself to the ground before the altar.
With his customary attention to detail, director Peter Kosminsky asks me, as a historian, how she should do it.
We agree that two of Anne’s ladies in waiting should help their pregnant mistress down to the floor. Continue reading Accuracy is king in the most eagerly anticipated TV event of the year… but how does Wolf Hall stand up to the scrutiny of one historian?
Category: BBC Two; Drama
Two-time Olivier and three-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance is Thomas Cromwell in a major adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies for BBC Two and Masterpiece on PBS.
“Once you have exhausted the process of negotiation and compromise, once you have fixed on the destruction of an enemy, that destruction must be swift and it must be perfect. Before you even glance in his direction, you should have his name on a warrant, the ports blocked, his wife and friends bought, his heir under your protection, his money in your strong room and his dog running to your whistle. Before he wakes in the morning, you should have the axe in your hand.”
Bafta-winning director Peter Kosminsky (The Government Inspector, The Promise) directs the flagship drama that presents an intimate portrait of Thomas Cromwell, the brilliant consigliere to King Henry VIII, as he manoeuvres the corridors of power at the Tudor court. The story follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this pragmatic and accomplished power broker – from humble beginnings and an enigmatic past – who must serve king and country while navigating deadly political intrigue, the King’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.
Oscar-nominated Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) has adapted both novels for the screen.
Emmy-winner Damian Lewis is Henry VIII and Claire Foy (The Promise) plays the calculating and ambitious Anne Boleyn in the drama which is a Playground Entertainment and Company Pictures production.
Hilary Mantel says: “My expectations were high and have been exceeded: in the concision and coherence of the storytelling, in the originality of the interpretations, in the break from the romantic clichés of the genre, in the wit and style and heart.
“The spirit of the books has been extraordinarily well preserved. The storytelling is fast and fluid, the characters compelling, the tone fits that of the novels,
“Mark Rylance gives a mesmeric performance as Cromwell, its effect building through the series.” Continue reading Wolf Hall: A major adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels
Category: BBC Two
How did you approach the role of Anne Boleyn?
I did a lot of research but it is difficult with Anne because there is no hard evidence or first-hand account of what she was like. Obviously at her trial and her execution there are lots of people talking about her, but much of the time the information you get is that she wasn’t particularly attractive, no one understood why the king wanted anything to do with her – all those kinds of clichés, people saying she had six fingers and warts. It is quite difficult when you are approaching it to find that true material.
Hilary (Mantel)– in the books and Peter (Straughan) in the scripts – write Anne seen from Cromwell’s perspective, so he only sees things in her that he relates to, or the things that he finds interesting. So it was my job to figure out the other side of Anne that you don’t see; like when she is in a scene having a hissy fit, understanding why that might be as opposed to thinking she is this mad woman. I had to figure that out for myself, with the help of the research that I did and imagining how mad her life must have been.
I fell in love with the way Hilary writes and how you genuinely feel you are in the room with these people. So when my agent told me I had the audition I was so worried I would let them all down, let Anne Boleyn down as I had such a clear idea of what she was like in my head…to then have the words come out of my mouth, I struggled to get my head around that at first. Continue reading Media packs / Wolf Hall / Claire Foy is Anne Boleyn
Hilary Mantel has praised the “visual flair” of the BBC’s adaptation of her Booker Prize winning novel Wolf Hall, which uses latest camera technology to film by candlelight in Tudor halls and country homes.
The director of the six-part series, Peter Kosminsky, who is known for his minute attention to authentic detail, used an Arri Alexa camera to film all the night-time scenes by candlelight.
“With the advent of the Alexa camera it is actually possible to shoot by candlelight,” he said. “One of the extraordinary things was to be in some of these rooms where the characters had stood and to light the rooms as they had been built to be lit – not by floodlights and space lanterns in the ceiling but by candlelight.”
He recalled one scene with Mark Rylance, who stars as lawyer and statesman Thomas Cromwell, began with six candles burning and continued when only one was still alight. “The technology has allowed us to get a level of authenticity,” he said. Continue reading New camera technology meant Wolf Hall adaptation could be shot by candlelight
Guess who’s playing Henry Percy, Anne Boleyn’s suitor? Harry Lloyd (BBC1’s Robin Hood, Game of Thrones)!
Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview for the London Evening Standard Magazine:
At 30 he is tall, dark and devilishly handsome, with floppy hair and a pointed courtier’s beard that he has grown to play Harry Percy, the hapless young suitor to Anne Boleyn in the BBC’s forthcoming adaptation of Wolf Hall.
Fresh from filming, he is still high on the experience. “I have these two big scenes with Mark Rylance [playing Thomas Cromwell], which is an actor’s dream. But they cut me a Tudor fringe which I’m trying to grow out.”
– Magazine Scans > Scans from 2011 > Isleham Informer (UK) – October 2011
ITV marks First World War centenary by telling the people’s story in partnership with Imperial War Museums
The extraordinary stories of ordinary people whose lives were transformed during the First World War will be told in their own words in a landmark new series for ITV, made in partnership with Imperial War Museums
Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the war in 1914, the experiences of men and women, young and old, from across Britain and the social classes that divided society at the time, are vividly brought to life in 4×60 series The Great War: The People’s Story, produced by Shiver [ITV Studios].
As part of ITV’s partnership with IWM, a book accompanying the series will also be published as well as three e-books. In addition to its partnership with IWM, ITV is also announcing two other programmes to mark the First World War centenary.
With narration from Olivia Colman, The Great War: The People’s Story tells the real-life stories of soldiers, from privates to officers, their wives and girlfriends left behind, and people from Britain’s villages and cities. They are portrayed by a cast of actors including Alison Steadman, Daniel Mays, Claire Foy, Brian Cox, Romola Garai, MyAnna Buring and Matthew McNulty, who speak their words as they were written in their diaries and letters.
These moving accounts, revealing their intimate thoughts and feelings offer a raw insight into the profound impact of being caught up in a conflict that would change their lives – and Britain – forever. Sourced from archives and libraries across the country, selected in partnership with Imperial War Museums, which provided much of the material, and brought to life by actors – each story conveys the hopes, fears, heroism and tragedies of countless ordinary British people… made all the more powerful by the fact that every word is real.
Diane Lees, Director General of IWM, said: “IWM is pleased to have worked in partnership with ITV on the development of The People’s Story – The Great War. The Imperial War Museum was established while the First World War was still being fought, to ensure future generations would remember those who contributed during the conflict. This series, featuring a number of people whose diaries and letters are held in the museum’s archives, gives an insight into some of the experiences and innermost thoughts of individuals from the time. Now that the war is out of living memory, it is up to our generation to ensure that their stories are and continue to be told – the stories of ordinary people living through extraordinary times.”
Richard Klein, ITV Director of Factual, said: “This programme gives the stage to the authentic voice of the British people as they endured over four years of the greatest violence in human history. The diaries, letters and memoirs of privates and officers, wives and mothers, working class and the well-to-do all brilliantly and emotionally document the journey from the patriotism and positivity at the start of war to the gradual understanding of the deadly and mind-shattering realities of modern warfare to the final days of simple endurance and exhaustion. This is a beautifully composed portrait of a country during a war that changed everything for everyone.”
Ollie Tait, Executive Producer of The Great War: The People’s Story for Shiver added: “Alongside the heartbreak and horror of war, Britain was changing at an amazing pace for everyone and there is something hugely powerful about reliving this through the people who never thought their voices would be heard. We really wanted ‘The People’s Story’ to be a world apart from the usual approach to the First World War and to make it about us, to bring to life the treasured letters that are tucked away in attics across the nation.”
By David Bol
Damian Lewis will play Henry VIII in a BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall – due to be filmed in Sherborne this summer.
The Homeland and Band of Brothers star will play the lead role in the series, based on the first of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels, with part of the feature being shot at Sherborne School.
The six-part mini-series, to be broadcast next year on BBC 2, also includes Mark Gatiss and Jonathan Pryce in the cast.
Pryce will play Cromwell’s early mentor and protector, Cardinal Wolsey, while Gatiss will play Stephen Gardiner, Secretary to the King. Continue reading Homeland star Damian Lewis to film BBC’s Wolf Hall in Sherborne
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.” Continue reading BBC Adaption Of ‘Wolf Hall’: What We Know So Far
By Baz Bamigboye
Charity Wakefield is brushing up on her court etiquette as she prepares to portray the other Boleyn sister in the television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novels, about how Henry VIII’s urges caused bloodshed and upheaval in Tudor England.
The actress will play Mary Boleyn, described as a ‘vivacious blonde’, who was wooed and bedded by the king before he took up with her younger, ruthlessly ambitious sibling Anne, who will be played by Claire Foy in the six-part drama based on Mantel’s Man Booker-prize winning historical books Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, to be broadcast next year.
Charity joins a growing ensemble led by Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis as the much-married monarch.
The Boleyn women were the key part of their father’s plan to secure political influence. Continue reading Wolf whistles for the racy Tudors
The adult characters are almost all total lost causes. Joely Richardson’s minimal screen time is completely insignificant. She could and should have been written out of the film to give more time to Olga Kurylenko’s Headmistress Kirova. This is easily the most one-dimensional role in the film. Kirova’s actions have no motivation whatsoever beyond being the all-business principal of sorts and, even worse, her scenes are so poorly written it’s a wonder Kurylenko was able to perform them with such sincerity. Claire Foy had something going with Ms. Karp, especially with the eeriness that comes with not blinking throughout the entire film, but Daniel Waters really misses the mark in terms of using Ms. Karp’s storyline to build Lissa’s predicament.
“Vampire Academy” isn’t a particularly well-made book-to-film adaptation, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun and there’s nothing wrong with going to the movies, letting loose and getting a little silly. Ultimately, the bad will likely outweigh the good and turn this potential franchise into a fleeting film fad, but for now, there’s no harm in giving it a go for the sake of a quick, upbeat laugh and thrill.
By Perri Nemiroff
Thanks to Chuckie for the scan.
By Baz Bamigboye
Damian Lewis has stepped out of hit U.S. TV series Homeland and into complex negotiations to portray Henry VIII
Claire Foy has been asked to play the ruthlessly ambitious Anne Boleyn, while David Bradley has been in discussions about portraying Norfolk
Damian Lewis has stepped out of hit U.S. TV series Homeland and into complex negotiations to portray Henry VIII in the six-part BBC television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s mammoth bestselling novels about the Machiavellian machinations at his court.
If a deal can be reached, Lewis, who played Nicholas Brody in Homeland, will join Mark Rylance, already cast as Thomas Cromwell, the monarch’s scheming but family-loving counsellor.
‘To have Damian playing opposite Mark will be electric,’ an executive on the project told me.
Other leading actors have also been offered major parts in the drama.
Claire Foy has been asked to play the ruthlessly ambitious Anne Boleyn, while David Bradley has been in discussions about portraying Norfolk.
Mark Gatiss, who stars in and writes for Sherlock, has been approached about a major part. (Gatiss is currently in Josie Rourke’s excellent Coriolanus at the Donmar.)
Damian has met with Peter Kosminsky, who will direct the epic screen version of Mantel’s two Man Booker Prize-winning fictional novels: Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
The actor is hoping he will be able to juggle dates on the film he’s shooting in Morocco — Queen Of The Desert, with Nicole Kidman — so he can portray the much-married king.
In Mantel’s telling, Henry goes from being an athletic, heroic figure to a middle-aged, balding hypochondriac who vacillates between romantic passion and murderous rages as he charges Cromwell to rid him of first wife Catherine of Aragon so he can marry Anne. Continue reading Brody’s all set for a Tudor turn
CLAIRE FOY: ANATOMY OF MY OUTFIT
We caught up with the star of Little Dorrit and Upstairs Downstairs at a tea party held at the Kate Spade New York boutique in Chelsea to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show.
The 29-year-old actress is currently filming Vampire Academy with Olga Kurylenko and Gabriel Byrne.
‘It takes me about five hours to get ready,’ she told us. ‘I’m not very good at it – I spend a lot of time standing and staring at my wardrobe and not achieving much.
‘Then I suddenly think of something I want to wear only to discover it’s in the wash’
Jewellery I wear this Monica Vinader necklace every day. It was a gift from the producers when I did Macbeth with James McAvoy at London’s Trafalgar Studios. I love all of Monica’s designs and they make perfect presents. My bracelet is from Cos. I’m loving fluoro accessories for summer.
T-shirt This is from Asos – I’m a big fan of online shopping. I’m not sure why I chose this, but I do love Paris so I guess it makes sense.
Clutch bag I love the colour of this Kate Spade New York bag – everything this label does adds an instant injection of fun and style to your outfit. I want it all!
Trousers These cost me £10 in the Whistles sale about nine million years ago when I had an office job and needed to look smart every day. They are such a great fit and I’ve bought Whistles trousers ever since.
Shoes I call these leopard-print numbers my emergency shoes. I panic-bought them before I went to an awards do. They are by Mulberry and they weren’t cheap. But I now wear them whenever I have to dress up for something, so it makes it OK.
By Amy Williams
from ATG’s Magazine / by Imogen Sarre & Jasper Rees
Roughly how old are the Macbeths?
We know they have had at least one child, presumed dead, but beyond that Shakespeare offers no further clue. Such is the trajectory of their moral degradation that audiences, and indeed casting directors, tend not to think of the Thane of Glamis and his wife as still having the bloom of youth on their cheeks. Thus the lead role can happily be taken on by someone in his 60s, as happened with Patrick Stewart when the play was most recently revived in the West End.
But now the Hollywood star James McAvoy brings the zip and springiness of someone known mainly for playing callow young men in the likes of The Last King of Scotland, Atonement and The Last Station. He turns 34 during his run in the role at the Trafalgar Studios, and the latest King of Scotland is joined in matrimony to Claire Foy, who turns 29 in April but looks young enough to have twice played teenagers in 2012: at the Royal Court in Mike Bartlett’s Love Love Love and in the BBC drama White Heat.
Continue reading Meet the Macbeths (James McAvoy & Claire Foy)
by Louise Jury
He starred in the action movie Wanted opposite Angelina Jolie, played a telepathic superhero in X-Men: First Class and won the heart of Keira Knightley in Atonement.
But as he prepares to face theatre critics tonight, James McAvoy said playing Macbeth was tearing him apart.
“It’s like being mentally ill and being beaten up a lot. This is undoubtedly the hardest part I’ve ever played,” said McAvoy, 33, of the production in which he is constantly running, fighting and proving himself the bloodied virile soldier.
“I always wanted it to be a physical production because it’s a play that talks about killing people and killing people with your hands. It just so happened that the director Jamie Lloyd seemed to want to go for that with gusto. But be careful what you wish for. Now I’m falling to pieces.”
Lloyd’s version is set in a post-apocalyptic world of environmental disaster half a century in the future, with a dark atmosphere of godless superstition. McAvoy and Claire Foy, 28, who plays Lady Macbeth, are much younger than many of the actors who have tackled the roles — including Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and Patrick Stewart — and McAvoy said their youth “just increases the tragedy of the situation”.
Shakespeare suggests that Lady Macbeth has recently lost a baby and McAvoy sees the notion of “a big hole in their lives” as the fire that drives the drama. “The tragedy of their childlessness is really relevant. They’re at an age where they should have been making babies,” he said. Foy, who starred in Upstairs Downstairs, said: “I think it does add to the vibrancy of the production that we’re younger. He’s a brave warrior. I’m supposed to be a fertile young woman. But we end up throwing our entire lives away.”
The play is the first by Trafalgar Transformed, a partnership between director Lloyd and theatre owner Howard Panter. It runs at the Trafalgar Studios until April 27. Day seats cost £10. www.macbethwestend.com
James McAvoy and Claire Foy make a murderously attractive pair.
What can they bring to the Scottish play?
Jasper Rees – 10 February 2013
In the British Museum’s Shakespeare: Staging the World show last year, the most gruesome exhibit was a set of iron gags and jagged bridles used for the restraining of witches. Jacobean anxiety about the dire influence of “weird sisters” lives on in the rituals that surround Macbeth. The Scottish play, as actors fearfully call it, is back in the West End; and doubtless, at the Trafalgar Studios, there will be much spinning, spitting and cursing to counter the usual hexes. But they can be assured of warding off ill fortune at the box office, thanks to the presence of the most attractive young couple to murder their way to the Scottish throne in living memory.
Combine the years of James McAvoy, 33, and Claire Foy, 28, and they’re still five short of Patrick Stewart’s age when he embarked on his award-winning run in the role in 2007. McAvoy’s gingery beard has stripped away some of the callowness associated with his performances in The Last King of Scotland, Atonement and The Last Station. “When you meet Macbeth, he’s been away for quite a while,” he suggests, “and I don’t think he’s had access to a shaving kit.” For Foy, though, there’s no getting away from the fact that twice last year — in Love Love Love at the Royal Court and in the BBC’s White Heat — she was thoroughly convincing as a teenager. She should by rights be having a crack at Juliet. Indeed, she once went up for the role at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, but the job required her to double up as Gigi. “And I can’t sing to save my bloody life. It was a disaster.” Instead, for her professional Shakespeare debut, she will be given the daggers. Continue reading Monarchs of the glen