Last night we started watching Wolf Hall, the BBC television adaptation of the historical novels of Hilary Mantel. I haven’t read the books, but I’m interested in the topic (the reign of Henry VIII) and love the cast of this series. Mark Rylance plays Thomas Cromwell, Jonathan Pryce plays Cardinal Wolsey, Bernard Hill has a small role; I’m fans of theirs from Bridge of Spies, Brazil, and The Lord of the Rings, respectively.
The negative characterization of Thomas More is an interesting counterbalance to his hagiographic depiction in A Man for All Seasons, but there’s certainly some hero-worship at play in Wolf Hall — it’s just directed toward a different figure, Cromwell. The character with the most nuance so far is Wolsey, so it’s a shame he won’t be among the living for much longer. I hope that’s not too much of a spoiler; it happens early, and this is 500-year-old history we’re talking about. I’m looking forward to seeing more, though, because the setting is so much up my alley, and Masterpiece productions and co-productions always seem to entertain me. Incidentally, I could swear I’ve seen Anne Boleyn’s rooms before in some movie or other. When you start seeing shooting locations repeated, you know you’ve watched a lot of British period pieces!