Friday, February 9, 2007

Great Harry!

Boy, am I excited about Showtime's new series The Tudors. I saw a preview the other night and it looked bloody fantastic--that is--bloody AND fantastic.

Jonathan Rhys Myers may look not a wit like the young Henry, but I don't care. I think he's a great choice to play Great Harry in his rock-star phase. What--you didn't know that Henry VIII had a rock-star phase. Oh yes, my dearies, he sure did.

Today we remember Henry mostly as that guy who looked like Charles Laughton, waved a turkey leg around, and executed six of his wives. No matter that historically speaking, Henry did not look like Charles Laughton, turkeys hadn't been invented yet (at least not in Europe), and only two of his wives went to the block--a mere 33.3 percent. It was only later in life that Henry turned overweight and overbearing. He became King of England in 1509 at the age of eighteen and for the first twenty odd years of his reign he was handsome, dashing, erudite, boisterous and stud-ly.

(Nb: The Warlord of Califa is modeled a bit after Great Harry: likable but cunning--affable yet cruel. Flora knows him only in his disabled dotage, but in his salad days Florian was formidable...)

Judging from the previews, this is the Henry that Jonathan Rhys Myers is going to play. And judging from Sieur Rhys Myers' past roles, I think he's going to portray a ruthlessly charming predatory Renaissance prince really really well.

The Tudor court was a seething jungle of intrigue, sex, power, lust and greed, all played to extremely high stakes, as Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas More, and Catherine Howard, just to name a few, all found out. Viz. the preview, all this fun stuff is in the mini-series, and I just can't wait.

(And you know what--if I could pick any actor in the world to play Hardhands---guess who it would be....?)


Gloria said...

There's a striking resemblance between Charles laughton (as dressed and made-up in the film) and the portraits that Holbein did of King Henry. In fact, he was the actor who most resembled the king as portrayed in the Holbein pictures (and I've seen quite a number of film & TV Henries...).

Ysabeau Wilce said...

Ayah, so you got me there...I guess that in his later years (at least according to Holbein), Henry did somewhat resemble Charles Laughton--or the other way around. Altho' once you dump a bunch of makeup and a doublet and trunk hose of that size upon someone, and then add the hat, it's possible that even Brad Pitt might then resemble the older Henry! Still, you have a good point and I stand corrected and I'll still take Sieur Myers over Sieur Laughton any day, resemblance or no! Thanks for the comment...

Ysabeau Wilce said...

NB: Meaning no respect to Sieur Laughton who was an extremely talented actor who deserves far more recognition than he gets today. I love The Canterville Ghost, and he was amazing in Spartacus. And, of course, his Captain Bligh was the best ever.

Gloria said...

I must say that portraits of Henry as a teenager, or a young man, don't resemble the portly mature King of later pictures ;D

Laughton is also my favourite Bligh ( with no disregard to the other thespians who eventually played the Bounty commander)

Ysabeau Wilce said...

I fear that Henry is a prime example of what happens when you let yourself go! Let that be a lesson to us all...And I agree with you on Bligh. Anthony Hopkins was credible, but Trevor Howard did nothing for me. Charles Laughton it is!