The Tudors News Site


Deconstructing Henry
March 29, 2008, 3:47 am
Filed under: The Cast, The Show

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Sunday, March 30, 2008;

The past is always more interesting than it seems. That’s the premise Michael Hirst adheres to whenever he sits down to write “The Tudors.”

The Showtime series traces the reign of the oft-married King Henry VIII of England, and as the second season begins Sunday, the monarch continues his quest to wed mistress Anne Boleyn and gain supremacy over the Roman Catholic Church in England.”It may be dry in a history book, but if you think about it, it involves people’s beliefs and passions and their whole way of life being destroyed and challenged,” said Hirst, who previously wrote the Oscar-nominated 1998 film “Elizabeth” about Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I.As this season unfolds, the king realizes the extent of his power and uses it against two people close to him: his wife Anne (Natalie Dormer) and Sir Thomas More (Jeremy Northam).

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who plays Henry, said the history makes for good drama.

“People will die, and people will live,” he said. “And people will become very wealthy and very powerful, and other people will be destroyed.”

Rhys Meyers said he can sympathize with Henry despite the monarch’s reputation as a tyrant.

“Henry’s only a king because he was anointed such . . . but you have go right through the crown, go right through the jewelry, go right through the clothes, go right through the doors of the apartment, go right through into the naked human. And you realize how vulnerable he actually is.”

Hirst, also the show’s creator and an executive producer, said the scope of a 10-episode season allows him to delve into the characters’ nuances, including Henry’s more admirable traits and some of the negative aspects of More, who was canonized in the 20th century.

In doing historical research, Hirst said he looks for “oddball moments” that people might not have seen before, such as in the first season when Henry wrestles the king of France — shirtless.

When he’s more fully dressed in the Emmy-winning costumes designed by Joan Bergin, Rhys Meyers said the wardrobe is just one of the ways he feels transformed into Henry.

“You’ve got to learn to allow the clothes to wear you as well as you wearing the clothes. And you have to walk differently. You stand differently,” he said. “It’s quite extraordinary.”

The Tudors

Sundays

9 p.m.

Showtime

Players in Season 2 of ‘The Tudors’

Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer): Henry’s young mistress; queen-to-be; gives birth to future Queen Elizabeth I

Thomas Boleyn (Nick Dunning): Anne’s power-hungry father; enemy of the Roman Catholic Church

Charles Brandon (Henry Cavill): Henry’s longtime, loyal friend

Thomas Cromwell (James Frain): A Protestant influence on Henry

Queen Catherine (Maria Doyle Kennedy): Henry’s first (current) wife

Sir Thomas More (Jeremy Northam): King’s adviser; devout Catholic opposed to Reformation

Pope Paul III (Peter O’Toole): Opponent of church split with England

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