Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis to Star in BBC Miniseries WOLF HALL

Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis to Star in BBC Miniseries WOLF HALL

Fresh from the hit drama Homeland, Emmy(R)-nominated Damian Lewis will play Henry VIII opposite Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in the much anticipated adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize-winning novels which has begun filming. Wolf Hall will air in the U.S. on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

Wolf Hall is a Company Pictures and Playground co-production for BBC Two and MASTERPIECE in association with BBC Worldwide.

BAFTA-winning director Peter Kosminsky (White Oleander) will direct the flagship drama that charts the meteoric rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court, from his lowly start as a blacksmith's son to Henry VIII's closest advisor.

Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) will play the calculating and ambitious Anne Boleyn in the six-part mini-series written by Oscar(R)-nominated Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).

Other casting includes Jonathan Pryce (Cranford) as the ostentatious and powerful Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Joanne Whalley (The Borgias) as Henry's first wife Katherine of Aragon, Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) as the haughty Stephen Gardiner, Secretary to the King, Anton Lesser (Endeavour), as the heretic hunter Thomas More, Mathieu Amalric (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Ambassador of Spain Chapuys, Charity Wakefield (Sense & Sensibility) as Anne's sister Mary Boleyn, Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) as Anne's sister-in-law Jane Rochford, Bernard Hill (Five Days) as the King's military commander the Duke of Norfolk, Richard Dillane (The Dark Knight) as the King's brother-in-law the Duke of Suffolk, Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones) as Cromwell's ward Rafe Sadler, Natasha Little (Case Histories) as Cromwell's wife Liz and Saskia Reeves (Wallander) as her sister Johane.

Mark Rylance says: "I love it when an author, such as Hilary Mantel, does her research and discovers an original understanding of a very familiar piece of history. Even during our rehearsals her detailed imagination of the world of Thomas Cromwell is alive in Peter Straughan's ingenious and faithful adaptation. I have to say, after my experience on The Government Inspector, I would gladly take part in any film that Peter Kosminsky makes. His ability to grasp complex political situations and bring them to life on film seems particularly suited for this material. Myself aside, I feel he has cast Wolf Hall with a superb eye for character and all the nuanced humanity Ms. Mantel's masterpieces deserve."

Filming has begun in the South West of England for broadcast in 2015 on MASTERPIECE on PBS and BBC2. Locations include six National Trust properties across the region.

Wolf Hall is a co-production of Company Pictures (Elizabeth I, Shameless, The Devil's Whore, The Shadow Line), and Playground (The White Queen, Dancing on the Edge, Dracula) - the U.S. company helmed by Colin Callender - for BBC Two and MASTERPIECE (broadcaster and co-producers of Downton Abbey, Sherlock) in association with BBC Worldwide, Prescience and Altus Productions.

Colin Callender will executive produce for Playground, John Yorke for Company Pictures, Polly Hill, BBC Head of Independent Drama, for BBC TWO, Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE, Martin Rakusen for BBC Worldwide and Tim Smith for Prescience and Altus Productions.

MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is Executive Producer for MASTERPIECE. Funding for the series is provided by Viking River Cruises and Ralph Lauren Corporation with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series' future. pbs.org/masterpiece

Rylance won Tony Awards for his performance in BOEING BOEING on Broadway in 2008 and in JERUSALEM in 2011. He is also a two-time Olivier Award recipient for MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at the Queen's Theatre and JERUSALEM in the West End.

Rylance recently appeared on the West End in RICHARD III and TWELFTH NIGHT; he also reprised those roles on Broadway last fall. Other stage credits include LA BETE, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA and HENRY V, among others.

Film appearances include The Other Boleyn Girl and Anonymous. He has also appeared in the TV drama The Government Inspector.

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