Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles

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?

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?

Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles

Wolf Hall: A major adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels

Date: 02.01.2015
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

Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles

Media packs / Wolf Hall / Claire Foy is Anne Boleyn

Claire Foy is Anne Boleyn

Date: 10.12.2014
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

Categories "Wolf Hall" Gallery News / Rumors

New still of Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn – after the coronation

I think this might be the scene after Anne Boleyn’s coronation, when Cromwell visits pregnant Anne in her bedchamber. The fragment from “Wolf Hall“:

“The bedcurtains are drawn close. He pulls them back. Anne is lying in her shift. She looks flat as a ghost, except for the shocking mound of her six-month child. In her ceremonial robes, her condition had hardly showed, and only that sacred instant, as she lay belly-down to stone, had connected him to her body, which now lies stretched out like a sacrifice: her breasts puffy beneath the linen, her swollen feet bare.”

One of my favourite scenes in the book. The dynamics between Anne & Cromwell is amazing.


Source

Categories "Wolf Hall" Gallery

Wolf Hall TV show sets prepare for tourist invasion

New BBC drama set locations ready for influx of tourists

By Ruth Doherty

The National Trust is preparing for an influx of visitors to properties chosen as location sets for the new TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.

The properties in Somerset, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire were chosen as they provided the perfect backdrop for filming the story of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII.

The six-part BBC series, set to be broadcast next month, stars Damian Lewis as Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell.

Six British National Trust venues were chosen for to film scenes for the show. Montacute House, in Somerset, was used as the set for Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s main London seat and the scene of Anne Boleyn’s arrest.

Lacock Abbey, also used in two Harry Potter films, will be seen as the exterior of Wolf Hall, the Seymour family seat. Continue reading Wolf Hall TV show sets prepare for tourist invasion

Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles

New camera technology meant Wolf Hall adaptation could be shot by candlelight

Ian Burrell

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

Categories "Wolf Hall" Gallery

New pictures for Wolf Hall

Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Jonathan Pryce and Claire Foy appear in new stills from BBC2’s adaptation of the Hilary Mantel novel.

As we inch closer to December and the shops fill up with Christmas, your thoughts probably aren’t straying into 2015. But – just for a second – look ahead to the new year and a string of exciting new dramas, among them the BBC’s Wolf Hall. Continue reading New pictures for Wolf Hall

Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles

Harry Lloyd is Henry Percy, Anne Boleyn’s First Love

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.”

Source

Categories "Crossbones" "Wolf Hall" Gallery

Claire Foy spotted as Anne Boleyn while filming Wolf Hall on July 3rd and July 15th

That’s a wrap on Wolf Hall. Stay tuned.

Gallery links:
– Movies & Television > Wolf Hall (TV, 2014) > On Set (Bridgwater) – July 3, 2014 –> Credit: Tim Horne for the first photo.

According to This is the West Country, the scene “shows the journey of Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy) from the Thames into Traitors Gate at the Tower of London being re-enacted along the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal just off Bridgwater town centre.”

Thanks to Wolf Hall TV, we now know that “it’s a myth that Anne Boleyn entered the Tower through Traitors Gate. According to Charles Wriothesley’s chronicle, Anne entered through the Court Gate. Today it’s known as the Byward Tower.” Source: “In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn” by N. Grueninger & S. Morris.

– Movies & Television > Wolf Hall (TV, 2014) > On Set (Wells Cathedral) – July 15, 2014

Regarding Crossbones, tomorrow night, the Commodore will make his final stand. The series ends its run with its final two new episodes airing back-to-back. Catch the epic two-hour Crossbones finale at 8 ET/PT on NBC.

Here are a couple of stills from the finale below.

Gallery link:
– Movies & Television > Crossbones (TV, 2014) > Production Stills

There’s an online petition going on to help save Crossbones. Sign it. Promote it. We don’t know what will come of it, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Categories "Wolf Hall" Gallery

Wolf Hall Filming at Chastleton House

Filming continued on the six part BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall at Chastleton House, a Jacobean country house, built between 1607 and 1612. Now in the hands of the National Trust, the house has remained essentially unchanged for nearly 400 years. Seen filming on July 29th were Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, Bernard Hill and Anton Lesser.

Gallery link:
– Movies & Television > Wolf Hall (TV, 2014) > On Set (Chastleton House) – July 29, 2014

Categories "Wolf Hall" Gallery

Claire Foy sports vibrant Tudor costume as she gets into character as Anne Boleyn for Wolf Hall

Claire Foy was pictured in her full period costume on Friday as she filmed scenes for the anticipated new drama at Gloucester Cathedral.

Gallery link:

– Movies & Television > Wolf Hall (TV, 2014) > On Set (Gloucester Cathedral) – July 25, 2014

Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles

Homeland star Damian Lewis to film BBC’s Wolf Hall in Sherborne

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

Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles

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

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

Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles

Wolf whistles for the racy Tudors

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

Categories "Wolf Hall" Articles Gallery News / Rumors

Brody’s all set for a Tudor turn

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