Wolf Hall FUN has finally arrived in America, with a NEW hashtag in the king’s hands!
Welcome to America, Henry!
Wolf Hall FUN in America started at a tea party hosted by the British Consul Chris O’Connor’s LA home on January 18.
“Henry VIII, infamous King of England in the sixteenth century, is often remembered for his gluttonous form, his string of wives, his disharmony with the Pope and his brute beheading spree. But Damian Lewis, star of the BBC’s new miniseries “Wolf Hall” — a six-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s prize-winning novels that will premiere in the UK on January 21 and on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre on April 5 — plans to introduce you to a different sort of monarch.
“He was generally regarded as the preeminent sportsman of his era,” said Lewis on Sunday afternoon, at a quaint tea held at the British Consul-General Chris O’Connor’s Los Angeles home to honor the series. “He was one of the best hunters, horsemen, jousters, archers. And he was an incredibly trim, fit man — very proud of a fine pair of calves that he had. He used to boast that his calves were better than Philip the Fair’s of France.”
How did Lewis, fresh off of “Homeland,” hone his own physique for the role? “I stuck handkerchiefs down there,” he joked (of his calves), before adding, “No, I wore boots to cover them up.” He also grew a beard and donned square-toed boots, which he thinks “might set a new fashion.”
Weight gain, however, wasn’t a prerequisite. “He had a 32-inch waist for a lot of his lifetime, and he only really ballooned much later on, after a jousting accident… All this ‘ tearing bits of chicken flesh and throwing them over your shoulder’; it’s all nonsense,” added Lewis, who brings a charisma, intelligence and sensitivity to the slovenly ruler depicted in portraits.
Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance, Claire Foy, director Peter Kosminsky, executive director Colin Callender, and series executive producer Rebecca Eaton participated in the TCA Winter Press Tour #WolfHallPBS session on January 19.
“Lewis, who was killed off Showtime’s hit, for which he won an Emmy and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Nicholas Brody, said playing King Henry VIII is a part he’s excited to tackle.
“My vanity will always relish a challenge,” Lewis said. “In fact, that probably encourages me.”
Assuring the room of reporters he’s not afraid to take on such a weighty role, Lewis said, “There’s a real opportunity to look differently at a period of history that is loved and well-known.” He’s also excited to bring new light to the “syphilitic, philandering Elvis people think [King Henry VIII] is.”
“Henry, as a brand, is right up there with Coca Cola,” Lewis said. “In terms of brand recognition, you have to go look at other things, and I think we have.”
Update 02/19: PBS Masterpiece shares an extended preview of Wolf Hall on YouTube! Enjoy and follow me for some serious Wolf Hall overdose 🙂