Emmy-nominated Damian Lewis will play Henry VIII in Wolf Hall, the much anticipated adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels, which has begun filming at The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol.
Company Pictures, the London-based production company behind Wolf Hall, has returned to The Bottle Yard after using the Studios last year as the base for Restoration drama New Worlds, which aired on Channel 4 last month. Filming has begun in the South West of England for transmission in 2015 on BBC2. Locations include six National Trust properties across the region.
Fresh from the success of US drama Homeland, Lewis will star opposite Mark Rylance (Jerusalem) as Thomas Cromwell in the flagship drama that charts the meteoric rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court, from his lowly start as a blacksmith’s son to Henry VIII’s closest advisor. Bafta-winning director Peter Kosminsky (The Government Inspector, The Promise) will direct.
Claire Foy (The Promise) will play the calculating and ambitious Anne Boleyn in the six-part serial written by Oscar-nominated Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare at Goats, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).
Other casting includes Jonathan Pryce (Cranford) as the ostentatious and powerful Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Joanne Whalley (The Borgias) as Henry’s first wife Katherine of Aragon, Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) as the haughty Stephen Gardiner, Secretary to the King, Anton Lesser (Endeavour), as the heretic hunter Thomas More, Mathieu Amalric (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Ambassador of Spain Chapuys, Charity Wakefield (Sense & Sensibility), as Anne’s sister Mary Boleyn, Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) as Anne’s sister-in-law Jane Rochford, Bernard Hill (Five Days) as the King’s military commander the Duke of Norfolk, Richard Dillane (The Dark Knight) as the King’s brother-in-law the Duke of Suffolk, Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones) as Cromwell’s ward Rafe Sadler, Natasha Little (Case Histories) as Cromwell’s wife Liz and Saskia Reeves (Turks&Caicos) as her sister Johane.
Wolf Hall Producer Mark Pybus says: “The Bottle Yard Studios is the perfect place for us to base Wolf Hall. It is convenient for our locations across the West of England and the adaptable space allows us all the flexibility and facilities we need.”
Fiona Francombe, Managing Director of The Bottle Yard Studios, says: “We’re delighted to welcome Company Pictures back to the Studios for this major new drama. It’s always a great indication for us that the Studios are performing well when companies choose to return to us for their next project. The production team have been in since January, busily building sets, stocking props and preparing the costume departments needed for a production of this scale.
“Wolf Hall is one of the most eagerly anticipated dramas to shoot in 2014; internationally bestselling literature brought to the screen by an award-winning writer/director team, performed by an outstanding cast. We are proud to be its home and can’t wait to see the end result.”
Wolf Hall is a co-production of Company Pictures (Elizabeth I, Shameless, The Devil’s Whore, The Shadow Line) and Playground (The White Queen, Dancing on the Edge, Dracula) – the US company helmed by Colin Callender – for BBC TWO and MASTERPIECE (broadcaster and co-producers of Downton Abbey, Sherlock) in association with BBC Worldwide Prescience and Altus Productions.