It’s extensively know that Henry VIII, the Tudor king, had a very grim batting common when it got here to matrimony.
His litany of wives, in fact, are the topic of the present Broadway present, “Six,” and lots of different productions. The wives’ succession of fates — two beheadings and three different deaths — has lengthy loomed in the historic creativeness.
The new movie “Firebrand,” which premiered over the weekend on the Cannes Film Festival, takes a unique method to a much-dramatised chapter of sixteenth century British historical past. The movie, directed by the Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz, stars Alicia Vikander as Catherine Parr, the sixth spouse of Henry and the one one to survive him.
“Catherine Parr, out of the entire six wives I in all probability knew the least of,” Vikander mentioned in an interview on a Cannes resort terrace. “And it appeared like that was the overall really feel from all people that I talked to. The one girl who survived was the least fascinating to learn about.”
“Firebrand,” tailored from Elizabeth Freemantle’s novel “The Queen’s Gambit,” has all of the accoutrement of a lush interval drama (Jude Law grandly co-stars as Henry), but it surely’s animated by a twist in perspective and a feminist spirit. “History tells us a number of issues, largely about males and battle,” a title card publicizes on the film’s starting.
The movie follows Parr as she negotiates a rough, abusive husband whereas attempting to have some position in shaping nationwide affairs. She’s buddies with the controversial Protestant preacher Anne Askew (Erin Doherty), a relationship that poses grave hazard to Parr if came upon. Meanwhile, some members of the king’s court docket, together with the bishop Stephen Gardiner (Simon Russell Beale), conspire to have Parr observe in the footsteps of Henry’s prior wives.
For Vikander, the preternaturally poised 34-year-old Swedish actor, investigating Parr was stuffed with discovery. Parr penned a number of books in her life and spoke overtly about Protestantism, the Reformation and then-controversial English translations of the Bible. That led to accusations of heresy and rising mistrust from Henry.
“The first Wikipedia search I did once I was despatched the script, I noticed that she was the primary queen who’s ever been revealed beneath her personal title in British historical past,” mentioned Vikander. “I believed: That’s actually an enormous feat to try this with the type of views that she’s tackling while being married to a person identified to be essentially the most terrifying and harmful man with fairly totally different beliefs.”
“I believed: When did I learn a textual content that’s older than 100 years from a lady?” added Vikander.
Vikander has usually been at dwelling in costume dramas. She starred in “A Royal Affair” and “Anna Karenina” earlier than successful an Oscar for her efficiency in 2015’s “The Danish Girl.” But a few of her greatest performances — the robotic android of “Ex Machina,” the miniseries “Irma Vep” — have been extra up to date.
“Firebrand,” which does not but have a launch date, speaks to each previous and current. To stretch the purpose, the movie in the end depends on some speculative fiction to think about what might need occurred behind closed doorways.
“Jude and I mentioned even when we sat with 20 historical past books in entrance of us, all of them have the identical pillars of factors and have other ways of deciphering what’s in between,” says Vikander. “That’s what we have been doing, too, with creative decisions we made.”
Shot on location at Haddon Hall, Vikander and Law had dressing rooms in the fort cellar. The garments, too, have been transportive.
“Between takes sitting with the opposite girls, in these costumes you don’t sit up. We have been all mendacity on the ground in these corsets,” mentioned Vikander. “It gave me an actual picture. This is what it was like.”