Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Casting Watch: UK's Finest Rylance to Play Ruthless Tudor Advisor Cromwell in BBC-HBO Adaptation of Mantel Bestseller 'Wolf Hall'

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood March 8, 2013 at 1:50PM

In a casting coup, Brit Mark Rylance, one of the greatest Shakespeare thespians of our time, will play statesman Thomas Cromwell in a BBC-HBO adaptation of Hilary Mantel's bestsellers "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies." (Mantel got slammed recently for calling out the media's handling of such royal femmes as Kate Middleton.) Peter Straughan, who garnered an Oscar nod for co-penning 2011's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," is set to direct the six-part mini-series.
0
Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance

In a casting coup, Brit Mark Rylance, one of the greatest Shakespeare thespians of our time, will play statesman Thomas Cromwell in a BBC-HBO adaptation of Hilary Mantel's bestsellers "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies." (Mantel got slammed recently for calling out the media's handling of such royal femmes as Kate Middleton.) Peter Straughan, who garnered an Oscar nod for co-penning 2011's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," is set to direct the six-part mini-series.

Rylance's screen appearances are choice but little seen, including "Angels & Insects," "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Blitz." But the actor is renowned for his work on the stage. He received Tonys in both 2008 and 2011, for "Boeing-Boeing" and "Jerusalem," respectively. He nabbed raves for his humorous take on Shakespeare's Richard III, and memorably cross-dressed in an all-male production of "Twelfth Night." He is currently rehearsing the Minneapolis production, "Nice Fish," and in the fall will return to the UK for "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Old Vic, opposite Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones.

Cromwell, Henry VIII's key advisor, has long been reviled as an historical figure, but Mantel's novels present him as a highly able member of the Tudor elite, despite retaining his notoriously manipulative behavior. 

Leo McKern played Cromwell in Fred Zinnemann's 1966 Best Picture winner, "A Man for All Seasons." 

This article is related to: News, CASTING WATCH, HBO, BBC, Peter Straughan, Mark Rylance


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.