Both the BBC and PBS confirmed Saturday that Tony and Olivier award-winning actor Mark Rylance will play Thomas Cromwell in the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of the novels from author Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
The six-part drama, which will air on BBC Two and PBS’ Masterpiece series, will be overseen by BAFTA-winning director Peter Kosminsky (Warriors, No Child of Mine) and written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare at Goats, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Rylance, the former artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London, has won Tonys for his performances in the Broadway plays “Boeing-Boeing” and “Jerusalem” and will next be seen on Broadway in a repertory production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III.”
Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning Tudor trilogy follows the atmospheric rise to power of Cromwell within Henry VIII’s court. The eventual chief minister to the King was born to a blacksmith in Putney and initially came to prominence when he served under Cardinal Wolsey before rising through the ranks to become Henry’s most trusted advisor.
The “Wolf Hall” mini-series will begin filming next spring for broadcast in 2015.