“Even in the end when she is waiting to be executed, she’s very true to herself. She doesn’t pander to anyone or anything like that. I think she’s already a solid, strong person from beginning to end,” reveals actress Claire Foy about her real-life role as Queen Anne Boleyn in the limited series “Wolf Hall.” This six-part saga aired in the U.S. on PBS under the umbrella of “Masterpiece” programming.
In her recent interview with Gold Derby (watch below), Foy discusses in-depth her character, the second wife of King Henry VIII (Damian Lewis). While she was outspoken, her failure to produce a male offspring was eventually her downfall and led to a public beheading. She adds, “History would have been very, very different if she had a son… That’s all he wanted, and he was such a maniac for having (that). He wanted to continue the line as the throne would be safe.”
For this lavish British production, the behind-the-scenes team working on production design, costumes, hair and makeup helped the actors assume their roles. Foy says, “The locations we were in were extraordinary, and a lot of them were locations that had been visited by Henry VIII… The art department did some incredible things dressing it, but so much of it came from the buildings we were in. And the costumes were just extraordinary… and amazing to wear, painful but amazing.”
The series is based on two award-winning novels by Hilary Mantel, with the focus on the rise of royal advisor Thomas Cromwell (three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance) and his championing of a marriage between Henry and Anne in the early 16th century. Director Peter Kosminsky filmed the lavish production in some of the finest British medieval and Tudor houses.
Once upon a time there was a Princess who was more glamorous than her elder sister, who was Queen.
The younger royal was in line to the throne, so she couldn’t marry the man she loved, for fear it would trigger a constitutional crisis.
That princess was Margaret, and the Queen in question is Elizabeth who, later this year, is set to become the longest-reigning British monarch.
Director Stephen Daldry, writer Peter Morgan and their associates have spent six months interviewing scores of actresses to play Margaret in the first two series (20 episodes in total) of The Crown, which charts the reign of our sovereign.
Vanessa Kirby, an award-winning actress, is in the process of doing a deal to portray Margaret in the television blockbuster.
Tony® Award-winning actor Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night), Claire Foy (Little Dorrit, Wreckers, Season of the Witch, The Promise, White Heat, Macbeth) and Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winner Damian Lewis (Homeland) star in the six-hour television miniseries adapted from Hilary Mantel’s best-selling Booker Prize-winning novels: Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. The television event presents an intimate and provocative portrait of Thomas Cromwell, the brilliant and enigmatic consigliere to King Henry VIII, as he maneuvers the corridors of power at the Tudor court. MASTERPIECE brings both of these works to life in Wolf Hall, airing on Sundays, April 5-May 10, 2015 at 10pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS.
Enjoy the masterful series with Mark Rylance, Claire Foy and Damian Lewis!
“Wolf Hall,” a splendidly somber six-part “Masterpiece” series premiering Sunday on PBS, deserves the cartload of praise being heaped upon it — t’would be a shame if it gets lost in the usual Sunday-night TV gridlock.
If you’re feeling nothing from Don Draper these days (and who could blame you?), then hop over to the 16th-century world of Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance), the savvy and quietly manipulative lawyer at the center of it all when King Henry VIII (“Homeland’s” Damian Lewis) scandalously marries Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy) and effectively starts the Church of England.
Based on Hilary Mantel’s prize-winning historical novels (“Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies”), “Wolf Hall” tells a tabloid-worthy tale that has been re-imagined countless ways over the centuries, especially in movies and TV — most recently in Showtime’s satin-sheety “The Tudors.” This time, the story is less tawdry and more sturdily and elegantly envisioned as the political watershed event that it was. Continue reading Wolf Hall: : A somber, perfect take on that time the Tudors went tabloid
“As some men have an eye for horseflesh or cattle to be fattened,” Hilary Mantel writes in Wolf Hall about Thomas Cromwell, “he has an eye for risk.” The ambitious six-part Masterpiece production of Wolf Hall—adapted by Peter Straughan from Mantel’s two Booker-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies—is an exploration of that eye for risk. But it ends, tantalizingly, just before the real-life Cromwell’s wagers began to be called in, dooming him. Directed by Peter Kosminsky and originally telecast on BBC Two—the first episode premieres in the U.S. on Sunday night—the series is a robust and satisfying experience, one that doesn’t skimp on the story’s world-spanning political and religious intrigue, but keeps at its center one man whose calm gaze focuses the sweeping material and makes it feel manageable.
That man is Cromwell, the blacksmith’s son from Putney who becomes Henry VIII’s most trusted adviser, who stage-manages the ascent of Anne Boleyn to the throne and, mere years later, to the scaffold on Tower Green. He’s played by Mark Rylance, wonderful stage actor and weirdo, with a reserve that feels beautifully out of place in a grand six-part miniseries. “From the day he was sworn into the king’s council, he has had his face arranged,” Mantel writes in Wolf Hall, and I get the impression that Rylance underlined this passage three or four times in his copy before filming began. Cromwell, Mantel writes, spends his time
watching the faces of other people, to see when they register doubt, reservation, rebellion—to catch that fractional moment before they settle into the suave lineaments of the courtier, the facilitator, the yes-man.
As Cromwell, Rylance is aggressively blank, convincingly intimidating as a man who intimates, in Mantel’s writing, that he might once have torn out a man’s heart—but convincingly mournful as a man who lives through tragedy and still pursues his goals because, he says, “God takes out your heart of flesh, and gives you a heart of stone.” The series underplays those tragedies somewhat—the deaths that tug at Cromwell throughout Mantel’s books earn only occasional mentions onscreen—but Rylance’s impossibly large eyes and deeply lined face do a lot of emotional work on their own. Continue reading Wolf Hall – A rich, riveting TV adaptation brings Hilary Mantel’s book to life
With the beginning of the end for AMC’s Mad Men, the debut of NBC’s Biblical A.D. and American Odyssey plus the premiere of The Lizzie Borden Chronicles on Lifetime, Easter Sunday’s primetime is a very crowded place this year. Among the offerings, I recommend in the review that you check yourself into Wolf Hall on April 5. The six-part series onPBS’ Masterpiece provides some very compelling television.
Based on Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels and executive-produced by former HBO Films boss Colin Callender, Wolf Hall takes you deep inside the intrigue and power plays of the 16 century court of Henry VIII.
With former Homeland star Damian Lewis in regal form as the much-married King and acclaimed theatre actor Mark Rylance excelling as conniving courtier Thomas Cromwell, this is an old story, literally and figuratively, made anew with wonderful results. As history tells us, Henry wanted a new wife to have a male heir and the lowborn but Reformation-inclined Cromwell did everything for the King and himself to fulfill that desire. The result: The Church of England and the king’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, played here by Claire Foy. We all know how this ends but the path revealed in this fictional account is a golden one.
I personally couldn’t get enough of Jonathan Pryce as the ultimately doomed, vain and fawning Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Already set for the upcoming season of HBO’s blockbuster Game Of Thrones, which debuts on April 12, Pryce’s Wolsey is a delight as a man who thinks he has a gilded spoon for his political soup only to discover he’s holding a lead fork.
A huge hit for the BBC when it aired earlier this year.
Wolf Hall was adapted for the small screen by Peter Straughan and directed by Peter Kosminsky. Callender is EP for his Playground, John Yorke for Company Pictures, Polly Hill for BBC Two, Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece, Martin Rakusen for BBC Worldwide, and Tim Smith for Prescience and Altus Productions.
Rosewater is based on The New York Times best-selling memoir “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival,” written by Maziar Bahari. The film marks the directorial debut of “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, and stars Gael García Bernal. Rosewater follows the Tehran-born Bahari, a broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship. In June 2009, Bahari returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mousavi’s supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad’s victory declaration hours before the polls closed, Bahari endured personal risk by sending footage of the street riots to the BBC. Bahari was arrested by police, led by a man identifying himself only as “Rosewater,” who tortured and interrogated him over the next 118 days. With Bahari’s pregnant wife, Paola (Claire Foy), leading an international campaign to have her husband freed, and Western media outlets keeping the story alive, Iranian authorities released Bahari on $300,000 bail and the promise he would act as a spy for the government.
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
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. Continue reading Claire Foy: Wolf Hall’s perfectly complex Anne Boleyn
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?
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?
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…
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? Continue reading Wolf Hall, episode 5, review: ‘gold-standard drama’
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.’ ”
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.