Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies on Masterpiece: Thomas Cromwell, A Wholly Original Man, A Charmer and A Bully
Mark Rylance is Thomas Cromwell, a brutal blacksmith’s son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster, and deftly picks his way through a court where 'man is wolf to man.'
England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe oppose him. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, master of deadly intrigue, and implacable in his ambition.
Winners of the Man Booker Prize and hugely successful stage plays in *London's West End and on Broadway, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies bring history to life for a whole new audience having now been adapted into a six-part television series by the BBC and PBS Masterpiece.
*Editor's Note: We had read the first novel beginning the second when we visited London last year. Happily, I had stumbled across the theater tickets that took us to the dramatization of the second novel, Bring Up the Bodies. There wasn't a seat left in the theater. The books are to be enjoyed and consumed slowly, but one has difficulty not roaring through quickly if there's time and energy on the part of the reader. The acting was admirable but we look forward to a different cast just to note the differences and continue to enjoy the dramatization skills. It's always enjoyable to watch a 'new' Henry, so we won't complain that Damien Lewis will be replacing Nathaniel Parker on film.
Tony Award-winning actor Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night) 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 television in Wolf Hall, beginning on Sundays April 5 — May 10, 2015.
Mark Rylance is Thomas Cromwell, a brutal blacksmith's son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster, and deftly picks his way through a court where 'man is wolf to man.' Damian Lewis is King Henry VIII, haunted by his brother's premature death and obsessed with protecting the Tudor dynasty by securing his succession with a male heir to the throne.
Told from Cromwell's perspective, Wolf Hall follows the machinations and back room dealings of this accomplished power broker — from humble beginnings and with an enigmatic past — who must serve king and country while dealing with deadly political intrigue, Henry VIII's tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.
A historical drama for a modern audience, this re-telling lifts the veil on the Tudor middle class and the internal struggles England faced on the brink of Reformation. At the center of it all is Cromwell, navigating the complexities that accompany the exercise of power, trapped between his desire to do what is right and his instinct to survive.
The cast also includes Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) as the future queen Anne Boleyn, Bernard Hill (Five Days) as the king's military commander the Duke of Norfolk, Anton Lesser (Endeavour) as Thomas More, Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) as Cromwell's rival advisor Stephen Gardiner, Joanne Whalley (The Borgias) as Henry's spurned first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and Jonathan Pryce (Cranford) as Cardinal Wolsey, the powerful Lord Chancellor who recognized Cromwell's potential.
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