Channel 5, Fable Pictures, and Sony Pictures Television have released a first-look image of Queen & Slim actress Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn in their convention-busting series on the Tudor monarch.
The three-part series, first revealed by Deadline, will examine the downfall of Boleyn through the prism of a psychological thriller rather than a stuffy period drama retreading the demise of King Henry VIII’s second wife.
Penned by newcomer Eve Hedderwick Turner, Anne Boleyn shines a feminist light on the final months of Boleyn’s life, re-imagining her struggle with Tudor England’s patriarchal society, her desire to secure a future for her daughter, Elizabeth, and the brutal reality of her failure to provide Henry with a male heir.
Vogue, which was first with the stills of Turner-Smith in character, spoke to her about taking on the iconic role. She said: “There’s so much about her story that feels modern. It’s one I can relate to as a Black woman, and it shows how little has changed in terms of our desire to tear down powerful women, to not let them live in their truth.”
Speaking to Deadline last year, Hedderwick Turner said Turner-Smith is perfect for the part: “Jodie is a complete natural queen. She is magnetic and has this deep dignity that she brings to the part.”
Her co-stars include I May Destroy You’s breakout performer Paapa Essiedu as Boleyn’s brother, and Mark Stanley (White House Farm) as Henry VIII. Amanda Burton (White House Farm), Thalissa Teixeira (Two Weeks To Live), Barry Ward (White Lines), and Jamael Westman (Hamilton) also feature.
Fable founders Faye Ward and Hannah Farrell are the producers. Historian Dan Jones, who has an overall deal with Sony, is an executive producer. Sony Pictures Television is co-financing the project with Channel 5 and will distribute internationally. Anne Boleyn was commissioned by Ben Frow, ViacomCBS’s director of programs in the UK, his deputy Sebastian Cardwell, and Sony’s international production president Wayne Garvie.
The shoot wrapped in December and the show will premiere in the coming months.
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