Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Tudors: It's a WRAP!

The Showtime series The Tudors has just wrapped filming of the fourth and final season in Ireland.

I have very mixed feelings on the subject after my disappointment in season three... but in general, I am sad it is over. I also have very high hopes for season four, with the execution of Catherine Howard, Joely Richardson as Kateryn Parr and finally, the death of Henry VIII.

The huge project that was The Tudors was a very big event every year for the past four in Ireland. In honor of that, there is an excellent special feature on the IFTN (Irish Film & Television Network) website.
I'm VERY proud of Tudors' creator and writer Michael Hirst for FINALLY hitting back at Historian David Starkey for his non-stop criticism of himself and the show! Go Michael!!!
Check it out here!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Everyone Loves Wolf Hall

The accolades continue to roll in for Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.
This one - so perfectly worded - from iconic American musician Roseanne Cash:

Just when I thought I couldn't absorb or enjoy one more thing about the court of Henry VIII, a book arrives that makes everything else seem like amateur hour. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is written in such an elegant and natural voice, so well-researched and rich in detail that it's an exciting excursion to a time and a story that I thought I already knew well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On This Day in Tudor History:

On November 12, 1555, During the reign of Mary I, Parliament re-establishes Catholicism as the Church of England - in an ironic twist - on the very day that devout Catholic, Steven Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor, dies.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book Review: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

So much has already been written about Hilary Mantel's biography of Thomas Cromwell that I can hardly find something new to add.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction or anything about Tudor England, you will surely enjoy this book.

However, something must also be mentioned about the writing itself. The first thing that struck me about Wolf Hall was how very funny it was. Mantel has imagined Cromwell as a sardonic, witty, funny man who banters as easily with kings as he does with base born boys whom he takes into his home to educate in accounting or counter-intelligence. I especially enjoyed his conversations with Cardinal Wolsey.

Like so many authors, I do think there are pages on which Mantel was slightly too wordy in her descriptions... (I find myself thinking, Ok, I get it) but overall, Wolf Hall is incredibly entertaining and fully deserved the Man Booker Prize it won.

I am so looking forward to the sequel!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Tudors: Season 4 Premiere... with a FAT Henry???

Just got my press release from Showtime...

The Tudors Season Four will premier on Sunday night April 11th.
Looking forward to seeing the fall of Kitty Howard and Joely Richardson as Kateryn Parr. Here's a peek at Joely arriving on set in Ireland...

Gossip Columnist Liz Smith recently wrote a piece for Variety that claims that Jonathan Rhys Meyers has agreed to allow make-up artists on set to properly age him.

Interestingly, other outlets picked-up this story and claim in their items that he will be fat in the final season. Nowhere in that interview does Jonathan or Liz state that Henry will be corpulent, or for that matter even the least bit pudgy!!!

In fact, here is the excerpt from Variety:

He will now appear as the older, more debauched Henry VIII. I am told that Jonathan has actually consented to "some aging." After all, he was, from the beginning, such an unlikely -- though brilliant -- choice for the role of the red-haired English monarch, and he got through most of this amazing series looking ravishing.

Look for the graying hair and prosthetic wrinkles, but don't expect Jonathan to pull a Tom Cruise... Here is a shot of JRM on set of season 4... a lil gray, but NOT fat!

However... they DO seem to be fattening the delicious Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk. Here's a photo posted on the TudorsWiki on

How Hilary Mantel wrote Wolf Hall

From the Wall Street Journal:

British novelist Hilary Mantel likes to write first thing in the morning, before she has uttered a word or had a sip of coffee. She usually jots down ideas and notes about her dreams. "I get very jangled if I can't do it," she says.

She's an obsessive note taker and always carries a notebook. Odd phrases, bits of dialogue and descriptions that come to her get tacked to a 7-foot-tall bulletin board in her kitchen; they remain there until Ms. Mantel finds a place for them in her narrative.

Ms. Mantel spent five years researching and writing the book, "Wolf Hall," her Booker Prize-winning Tudor drama set in the court of Henry VIII, out in the U.S. this month. The trickiest part was trying to match her version to the historical record. To avoid contradicting history, she created a card catalogue, organized alphabetically by character. Each card contained notes showing where a particular historical figure—such as protagonist Thomas Cromwell, Henry's adviser—was on relevant dates.

"You really need to know, where is the Duke of Suffolk at the moment? You can't have him in London if he's supposed to be somewhere else," she says.

One day, she was in a panic over how she would fit everything she needed to into the novel. She took a shower—her usual head-clearing ritual. "I burst out of the shower crying 'It's two books!'" says Ms. Mantel, who is writing a sequel that will end with Cromwell's beheading in 1540.