Damian Lewis’ Inspirations for Wolf Hall

source: BBC
source: BBC

As we continue to get inspired by Wolf Hall and write left and right about it, I am also pretty curious about the ways Damian Lewis was inspired as he worked on bringing Henry VIII to life.

In a recent interview with the Telegraph, Damian reveals some “usual” and “unusual” inspirations as he took on the role of Henry VIII in Wolf Hall:

“He said he had “drawn on the essential source material” of Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels during research, pointing out the story is still a “piece of fiction” despite its rigour.”

Now, this is exactly what we would expect from an actor as he took on a role based on some particular fictional work. And, even though Damian admits in a Sunday Times interview that, until he was cast “at the bottom of one of my eight piles of books-I-haven’t-read was Wolf Hall” he has quickly become a fan of the books. He says in an interview with Buzzfeed: “I loved the books, I loved Hilary Mantel’s reimagined world, and a little bit of a reappraisal of this central character, Thomas Cromwell, who — certainly if you’re a Catholic — is second only to Satan.”

Could you spot the pretty-worn-out-looking copy of Wolf Hall under his arm?


I admit that Wolf Hall stayed on my bookshelf, too, for a couple of years… until I decided to read it on the day we saw Mark Rylance as Richard III on Broadway last year — I talked about this in detail in “A Wolf Hall Junkie’s year-long Journey” because it has really been an incredibly special  and FUN journey.

In addition to drawing inspirations from Wolf Hall the Book, according to an interview in Buzzfeed, “Lewis learned that sometimes you must rely on the gifts of others to support and enhance the skills that you bring to the table. “It’s hard to play a king,” Lewis said. “You realize that you have to let external things influence your power. So, [they] put me in these extraordinary clothes — he’s very much the peacock, always the most colorful man there.He’s always got a bit more fur than anyone else, his codpiece is a little bit longer.”

source: farfarawaysite.com
source: farfarawaysite.com

“Then, with the brilliance of Mark and others, they play a slightly more deferential role. Choosing when to make eye contact, choosing when not to make eye contact, stillness, sometimes a measured quality in the delivery: All of those things can help you with status. People who … feel no need to rush, they’re used to being listened to and not interrupted. It’s finding different pace and rhythm.”

Now… on to Damian’s “unusual” inspirations… well, maybe a bit “unusual” but certainly a royal one 🙂

Telegraph reports that Damian “has had also taken influence from the Duke of Cambridge, a known fan of his hit television programme Homeland, and Prince Harry, after observing how the pair approach their public duties. “I have actually on occasion found myself thinking about Wills and Harry; wanting to normalize your life as much as possible,” he said.

Damian thinking about Wills and Harry got me thinking about Damian hanging out with Wills and Harry 🙂 Well, one gets inspired by whom he gets to spend time with, doesn’t he?

Firstly, Damian had a chat with Wills, the Duke of Cambridge, when he was awarded his OBE last November!

purchased from PAImages
Purchased from PAImages

From the Press Association News Report:

“Speaking about his brief chat with the Duke, Damian revealed: “He said ‘Catherine and I are huge Homeland fans’.

“He said ‘you appeared again the other night briefly, and we all got very excited,’ which is true, but it was also on Sunday night which means he is absolutely up to date with the latest episode and I’m amazed they have time for that.”

Well, everyone makes time for Brody 🙂

Only a few weeks later, Damian Lewis got to hang out with Prince Harry at the ICAP Charity Day in which Damian participated to raise funds for Prostate UK.

ITV news reports the hilarious chat between Damian Lewis and Prince Harry.

You will love this!

Prince Harry, when he bumped into Lewis: “I see another ginger.” Lewis replied: “What’s it like to be the second most famous redhead then?”

Spot the most famous redhead in the picture! 🙂

source: daily mail
Damian Lewis, Prince Harry and the Big Bird at ICAP Charity Day, source: Daily Mail

As much as Damian Lewis may enjoy hanging out with the two princes, when asked about his favorite royal, he says…


Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

2 thoughts on “Damian Lewis’ Inspirations for Wolf Hall”

  1. I was unfamiliar with Damien on TV, but was so pleased that SOMEONE had finally cast a ginger – and a tall, manly, broad-chested ginger – to play this king!!

    When a person of history has specific noted traits, I believe it is incombent upon the casting directors (or make up artists!) to ensure those characteristics are retained in their casting. Breathe some reality into it!

    (Lol and if Damien wants any incite, advise him to go to the tower, where Henry’s last suit of armor is on display – he’ll laugh himself silly when he sees it; just remember everything was always done to the king’s ego – not his actual size!!!)

    1. Agreed! Funny that you are saying Damian should go to the tower — because he visited the Tower with his family in the fall and even got his picture taken with the yeoman. I think he was intrigued to go, too 🙂 If only I could find that pic saved somewhere on my computer!

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