Damian Lewis in full Henry VIII Costume for “Wolf Hall”

Posted on June 09, 2014

And now for something completely random.

Damian-Lewis-BBC-Wlf-Hall-On-Set-Henry-VIII-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (1)Damian Lewis films scenes in full Henry VIII costume for the upcoming BBC Drama mini-series “Wolf Hall” in Wiltshire, England.

Damian-Lewis-BBC-Wlf-Hall-On-Set-Henry-VIII-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (2)

Damian-Lewis-BBC-Wlf-Hall-On-Set-Henry-VIII-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (3)

Damian-Lewis-BBC-Wlf-Hall-On-Set-Henry-VIII-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (4)

Damian-Lewis-BBC-Wlf-Hall-On-Set-Henry-VIII-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (5)

Henry VIII costume porn – although that’s perhaps overstating it. We couldn’t claim any expertise as to accuracy or anything like that, but we’d guess he’s going to wear more impressive outfits than this at some point in the story.

We have to say, he makes a much better choice to play Henry than Jonathan Rhys Myers. We don’t care how many times people defended it with “But he was thinner and good-looking as a young man!” We thought it was a ludicrous bit of casting, akin to Angelina Jolie playing Elizabeth I. Damian’s just right for the part. Looking forward to this one, which should be airing in the U.S. on PBS some time next year.




[Photo Credit: FameFlynetUK/FAMEFLYNET PICTURES]

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  • Carleenml

    Bless! Favorite book, favorite actor, I’m melting in anticipation for this one.

    • leahpapa

      I LITERALLY (and I’m using this word in the only acceptable sense) started fanning myself and squeeing in my office when I saw this. I didn’t know it was being made into a film. Lurved the book (and the sequel; eagerly anticipating book 3) – really hoping this isn’t a big ol’ stinkaroo.

      • Carleenml

        oh you have to google Cromwell now, too then! Mark Rylance is playing him.

        • leahpapa

          The books are so literary but also cry out for adaptation; the whole time I was reading, I was wondering who could possibly play Cromwell successfully…and I think if anyone can, it’s probably Mark Rylance! Though I wish he and Damian Lewis were a little closer in age; there’s that fraternal-ish/parallel relationship between Cromwell and Henry, and I think of Lewis as being a lot younger, for some reason. But having just Googled the cast, I think it’s spot on (Thomas Sangster as Rafe is perfect!).

          • Chickadeep

            They’re only about 10 years apart in real life…not TOO bad. πŸ™‚ I high-tailed it to IMDb and the casting is great! Mark Gatiss (Mycroft Holmes) as Gardiner, Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey, Sangster…really looking forward to it!

        • Chickadeep

          SQUEE!! Okay, officially loving this production. Reading the sequel right now. Thrilled when I heard they’d chosen Lewis as Henry; Mark Rylance is the cherry on top. I actually met Rylance years and years ago, when he was super young and pretty and playing Ariel in an RSC production of The Tempest (with Derek Jacobi and Alice Krige). Such a good actor.

      • smayper

        Fingers and toes crossed. Also, can’t wait for the 3rd book in the series. Hilary Mantel….literary crush.

      • Just what I need. Another book on my TBR list.

    • gabbilevy

      Oh, man, I don’t know how I’ve never heard of these books but I’m IMMEDIATELY putting them on my to-read list.

      • Chickadeep

        They are great; you won’t be disappointed!

      • P M

        You’ll get quickly drawn in. It is such a whirlwind of a life in the first book.

        And indeed, how have you NOT heard of them?! πŸ˜€

        • gabbilevy

          Honestly, I don’t know!! But I’ll have a Jamie-and-Claire-shaped hole in my life as soon as I finish the next Outlander book (out today!! woot!!) and need some new historical fiction, stat.

          • Diane Bellora

            These books (print and audio) are fab. Both won the Booker Prize.

    • Margaret Grace

      Can’t wait for this and ESPECIALLY can’t wait for Outlander this fall!

      • gabbilevy

        Today today today!!! New book!! (Can you tell I’m excited?)

  • Glam Dixie

    The casting was a bit ridic for The Tudors but the costumes were gorgeous. Damian makes a much more likely looking Henry VIII.

    • Carleenml

      I didn’t care in the least…I was too busy looking at Henry Cavill.

      • Glam Dixie

        No sh*t, me too! Johnathan was not too hard on the eyes either.

        • Carleenml

          I saw the series on dvd and a few of the discs opened with the shot of Henry running a chess piece up Catherine Howard’s ass so I kinda didn’t take it all too seriously.

          • Glam Dixie

            Probably for the best. πŸ˜‰

          • Carleenml

            I worked at the public library then and when patrons asked if they should watch it I would say “Tudor porn — and I mean that in the best possible way” – and they could make up their minds from there. It was fun.

          • P M

            Oh do tell: how many of them had confused looks on their faces? ;-D

      • Yolanda

        Amen sister! That’s when I fell for Henry Cavill. He was the reason to watch The Tudors (and from a purely acting POV, Natalie Dormer – she was fabulous as Anne Boleyn)

        • Natalie was absolute perfection as Anne. 100% owned that character.

        • smayper

          Yeah, Cavill rocked it. Didn’t he have some bodice-ripper porn sex on a boat??

          • Yolanda

            I do believe you are correct! I may have to go back and watch that episode again. Just to confirm of course! πŸ™‚

          • AthenaJ

            Yup, with Henry’s sister… and oh how I wanted to be her in that scene!

  • Paigealicious

    Maybe the book(s) is good, but I’m burnt out on Tudor-y TV shows for a while.

  • gsk241

    Loved the books. Cannot wait for this!

  • Trent

    But…but Damian Lewis is “thin and good-looking” too! At least to these American eyes…

    • somebody blonde

      Not perfect cheekbones good-looking, though. Merely cute and mostly thin.

    • dulcian

      True enough, but JR-M comes off as more waif-thin than Damian Lewis, who has a broader chest and shoulders and stronger looking hands. More to the point, at least to my eyes, is that Lewis’s redhead coloring is perfect for Henry VIII.

    • ThaliaMenninger

      Jonathan Rhys Meyers = 5’9″ and dark and skinny
      Damian Lewis = 6’1″ and ginger and medium-to-thin build
      Henry VIII = 6’4″ and ginger and medium-to-thin build

      • Beardslee

        Exactly! Jonathan Ryhs Meyers was just a ridiculous choice. Henry VIII was huge, that was a big part of who he was, and I’m sure it made him all the scarier.

        • AthenaJ

          Agreed, though I respect the intensity Jonathan brought to the role, he always came across as more of a bipolar emo guy from an indie band.

    • P M

      Let’s put it this way: one can see Damian Lewis attending a joust AND winning a match.

  • TAGinMO

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers. John Rhys-Davies would have been neither too young nor too good looking.

    • Trent

      Good catch. Also, Jonathan Rhys Meyers was wonderfully OTT and sexy/romantic in Dracula, and I’m still bitter that it wasn’t renewed…

      • KinoEye

        Jonathan Rhys Meyers will forever and always have a soft spot in my heart for Velvet Goldmine. I have such fond memories of sneaking a DVD of that film from my best friend’s older sister’s bedroom when we were in middle school, thinking we were so bad/cool for watching an R-rated film with gay sex and drugs. Not to mention how we swooned over Meyers and Ewan McGregor. Good times.

    • John Rhys-Davies would make a magnificent Henry VIII. In later years.

  • hughman

    The skirt length ages him. But the boots are fab.

    • Oh,….Hugnman, you do make me smile so big.

    • StellaZafella

      Charles Laughton wore it better…

  • Fordzo a.k.a. Fancy Mukluks

    Yes, Meyers was too young and good looking (and brunette, I think) to be Henry, but he was certainly nice to watch. In fact, most of that cast was eye candy, and I wasn’t complaining.

    • Aidan B

      Agreed. Plus I thought Natalie Dormer was truly a fantastic Anne.

      • I HATED her as Anne. But each to their own πŸ™‚

    • lunchcoma

      I found that series worked best when I pretended it was historical fiction about a bunch of people who just so happened to be named Henry and Catherine and Anne and that took place in a fantasy universe that just so happened to be called England.

  • Aidan B

    HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?? Oh my god I will be all over this. Damien is awesome and the book was fantastic. Now I have to go over to IMDB and see who’s slated to play Anne, though. Nervous…

    • Carleenml

      but it’s all about Cromwell. If he doesn’t nail the part all the book fans will be hunting him down, don’t you think?

      • Aidan B

        Oh, absolutely! I’m just slightly obsessed with Anne Boleyn and don’t want to see the part botched. I’m not familiar with the actress playing her or the actor playing Cromwell, so I’ll just have to wait and see! Judging by the sheer amount of work he’s done he seems qualified to hold the lead.

        • PurpleHaze

          Mark Rylance is a super respected actor over here – especially in theatre (and recently has gotten massive applause for his Shakespeare stuff). I have full confidence in him.

          Claire Foy is also pretty great. She was in a modern remake of Upstairs, Downstairs and was just excellent as this messed-up, bit bitchy, independent but ultimately rather sympathetic young lady in the 1920s.

          • Aidan B

            Excellent! In that case I am very excited.

        • You’re so right. I couldn’t watch The Tudors after they cast Posh Spice to play her…

          • Aidan B

            I see we disagree on that, but that’s fine. I’ll tell you what though, I HATED the film adaptation of “The Other Boleyn Girl.” The most random casting ever, and no one was good in it.

        • P M

          What’s your take on the Boleyn girls? Willing accomplices or hapless pawns?

          • Aidan B

            Oh lord, I could write you an essay on this. To summarize: Mary, probably a pawn. A good-looking one, apparently, since she ended up in two kings’ beds. Anne, a pawn to some extent, but I don’t think a hapless one. She had brains and probably realized what she was getting into. Up until the scaffold, anyway.

          • P M

            I keep thinking she was either resigned, or, more likely, furious – up until the scaffold. Imagine coming from a family of unscrupulous schemers and having control completely wrenched from you like that.

            Mantel’s book in small subtle ways points this out – this lack of control of women over many aspects of their lives. I really appreciate her way of showing women’s voices as they were perceived by men (I’m thinking of Elizabeth, Cromwell’s wife)

        • irielle

          Mark Rylance (Cromwell) just racked up another Tony. I think it was his third? I’ve been lucky enough to see him perform on stage and he’s wonderful! If you saw The Other Boleyn Girl, he played Thomas Boleyn.

  • Danielle

    I mean, JRD wasn’t even a redhead.

  • random_poster

    He should also be cast as Vincent Van Gogh is his life should ever be made into a film.

    • Aidan B

      Oh my god you are totally right. I don’t know how I never noticed that.

    • in a pickle

      There are at least two versions that I know of. Lust for Life with Kirk Douglas and Vincent and Theo with Tim Roth. Both have high ratings on IMDB.

    • Beardslee

      Tim Roth was an excellent Vincent in “Vincent and Theo.”

  • Frank_821

    This is perfectly acceptable royal day/travel wear costuming. Although I expected a codpiece. Damien is a good choice since they are covering the early years of Henry’s reign. Henry was a stud and a successful jock in his youth.

    This softcore Tudor porn. Hardcore stuff will be at the dinner table :p

  • muelonil

    Strategically (and comically) placed unicorn….?

  • Therese Bohn

    I look forward to seeing whatever this Henry VIII story is. He looks good.
    Jared Harris made and excellent Henry VIII too!

  • somebody blonde

    Yeah, he really looks the part. I didn’t even watch The Tudors because Jonathan Rhys-Meyers looked so completely wrong for the part.

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    I like his hat.

  • I am such a sucker for ANYTHING Tudor related, so I cannot wait to see this. And he really does look the part (though I think JRM did a fine job).

  • Gatto Nero

    It was a spectacularly good book. I hope they don’t fuck it up.

  • scoobynacks

    Is that a unicorn horn or is he just happy to see me? Love Damian Lewis. Agree about JRM. This is gonna be good. The casting’s great.

  • nosniveling

    One of the best books I’ve ever read, in the middle of Bring Uo the Bodies- Hillary Mantell, a master!!

  • Cyd Butler

    In honor of D Day I spent all weekend re-watching HBO’s Band of Brothers and I had forgotten how wonderful Damian was in that production. Just amazing….Ron Livingston too…

    • smh4748

      That series is incredible. That was the first thing I saw Damian Lewis in, and I think I’ll love him forever just for that.

    • smayper

      Oooh, I didn’t know he was in that. Now I must see.

      • in a pickle

        He’s the star and excellent in it!

      • Chickadeep

        So, so, so good. You need to watch BoB like, yesterday.

        • Cyd Butler

          So many familiar faces! I was really surprised by everyone who kept popping up….I even resorted to IMDB to identify an actor I knew by face but couldn’t place. (Jason O’Mara who I recognized from The Good Wife) Lot’s of eye candy in BoB!

          • Chickadeep

            I know—it feels like everybody is in that thing! Simon Pegg. Jaime Bamber. Colin Hanks. Neal McDonough. Donnie Freakin’ Wahlberg. Schwimmer. Tom Hardy. McAvoy *and* Fassbender. It’s almost easier to list guys who *weren’t* in BoB.

  • bowlwoman

    So looking forward to this! I have a Masters in Tudor history, so this is definitely a must-see for me!

    And I could only stomach half a season of The Tudors. Maybe I should make myself watch it all just for the lolz. And the pr0n.

    • Annistella

      best not to watch it for historical accuracy, or even historical suggestions. While I am not an expert, I know a little bit about Tudor history. I watched the Tudors as a soapie in period costume and loved it. Highbrow lowbrow.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      I decided to pass on The Tudors, since both “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” and Elizabeth R remain treasured memories for me, as well as reasonably accurate portrayals of Henry, his wives and the period-plus Glenda Jackson was a splendid Elizabeth I

  • smh4748

    I hadn’t heard of this book, but now I’ve placed it on hold at the local library. That’s why I’ve become increasingly enamored with this site–pretty people, and book recommendations. πŸ™‚

    • Gatto Nero

      Afterwards you’ve got to read “Bring Up the Bodies.”

      • the_valkyrie

        I preferred the sequel to the first book. Can’t wait for the final book *squee* Mantel really deserved those Man Booker prizes.

  • Sly

    But I loved the Tudors, including Jonathan Rhys Myers. He had that I loath you to death look that made me both loath and kinda like his character. I’ve watched the series at least 5 times.

  • Bimbi

    Third photo down, he looks like Vincent Van Gogh; Google this self portrait: 1889 Self portrait in oil, San Remy.

  • mellorcr

    For anything other than a BBC production, this would be an extremely authentic level of costuming. For BBC, the fit is slightly off and as another poster said, “Where’s the cod-piece”?

  • Alyssa

    Well now I have a new book to read and a new series to anticipate! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    Oooh..I didn’t know they were adapting Wolf Hall. I actually preferred Bring Up the Bodies (I’m a bit of an Anne Boleyn fan girl), so hopefully they’ll make the entire series. I wonder who they have cast to play Thomas Cromwell (the more important character in Wolf Hall). Damian Lewis is definitely a better pick for the part of Henry VIII

    • Aidan B

      I’m an AB fangirl too, and I haven’t gotten around to reading “Bring Up the Bodies” yet since I reread Wolf Hall so long ago. I’m glad you enjoyed it, that’s encouraging! Another poster said Mark Rylance is slated to play Cromwell. I’m not familiar with him but apparently he’s really good.

  • LadyVimes

    Mmm Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in bodice-ripper period costume. Thanks for the afternoon daydream, Uncles.
    Now, what was this post about again?

  • procrastinatrice

    Oh man, I am sooo excited about this. To me, Lewis will always be Soames Forsyte and it will be awesome to see him in another period piece. I am sure he will rock it. He pretty much rocks everything anyway. JLaw was right to freak out when she saw him. He has the charisma to inspire celebrity crushes in A-listers!

  • MilaXX

    This made me giggle, but I’ll definitely check it out when it hits US airwaves.

  • majorbedhead

    Sweet! I could not get thru that book and I am a major Tudor history geek. But that one bored the pants off me. I’m glad it’s going to be made into a mini series (or whatever PBS is doing with it).

    • the_valkyrie

      Maybe you should give Bring Up the Bodies a try. I actually read it first and found it more engrossing than Wolf Hall.

  • Lilithcat

    I’m terrified that they’re going to ruin this book. I can’t imagine how they’re going to translate Mantell’s gorgeous prose.

    • Gatto Nero

      My fear exactly.

    • saintebeuve

      Well, at worst, you could watch it on mute?

  • ThaliaMenninger

    He’s a little short (just a couple of inches) for Hen VIII, but the ginger coloring is spot on for a Tudor. Jonathan Rhys Myers? Pah! Not even close.

  • Anne

    Cannot WAIT. I love these books so much.

  • berkeleygirl

    I never understood Rhys-Myers’ casting. Though Henry VIII is often considered by non-Tudor buffs as heavy, as a younger man, before a leg injury, he was reportedly god-like – not only a handsome redhead, but 6’3″ in an age when the average man was a foot shorter. Lewis should be right on the mark, though Ray Winstone was also fine. My favorite? Robert Shaw in Man for All Seasons.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      I loved Robert Shaw as Henry in A Man for All Seasons-he really captured a quality about Henry that seemed very realistic.

  • Jennifer Bober

    Actually, it looks quite good in the accuracy department too. I’m seeing fingerlooped cording, hand made tippets, appropriate fabrics and period details. It doesn’t surprise me though. While Hollywood usually sucks at it, BBC gets these things right!

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Well now I’m just going to have to read this book, and its sequel. I do like Damian Lewis as Henry VIII-a much better choice than Rhys Myers, but then that series was an excuse to cast thin, pretty actors so that they could do lots of sex scenes-’cause it’s cable! Bleah.

    • the_valkyrie

      Hilary Mantel is an amazing author! I devoured both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, plus the book about the French Revolution (A place of greater safety). She really is stupendous.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        It’s always good to discover an author who is new to me, and I have always enjoyed a good historical novel.

  • judybrowni

    He looks great in a skirt.

  • P M

    1. This adaptation had *better* be good.

    2. DROOOOL.. YUM. That is all.

  • LambeeBaby

    PERFECT HENRY VIII CHOICE (I’m quite enthusiastic).

  • MoHub

    That’s a lot of leather!

  • MoHub

    Keith Michell is still my benchmark for Henry VIII, so this will be interesting to see and compare.

  • carnush

    Oh MAN I cannot WAIT for this. The books are so good.

  • EEKstl


  • Linda LaPaz

    He looks like Hugh Laurie in some of these shots.

  • the_valkyrie

    So excited for this! Really wish I could go and watch the stage adaption in London. Apparently they’re killing it!

  • Clere Norrey

    He looks so much like Steve McQueen, it gives me chills.