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From Queen & Slim to actual Queen.
British actress Jodie Turner-Smith, who starred alongside Daniel Kaluuya in last year’s racially-charged road crime drama, is to play Tudor Queen Anne Boleyn, who famously lost her head at the behest of King Henry VIII, in a three-part psychological thriller mini-series set to air on ViacomCBS-owned Channel 5 in the U.K., with Sony Pictures TV distributing internationally.
The as-yet-unnamed project comes from rising Sony-backed Brit banner Fable Pictures, which has been behind Wild Rose, Stan & Ollie and recent hit Rocks, with a cast that also includes Amanda Burton (White House Farm) Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You), Thalissa Teixeira (Two Weeks to Live), Barry Ward (White Lines) and Jamael Westman (West End’s Hamilton).
Written by newcomer Eve Hedderwick Turner, with Lynsey Miller (Deadwater Fell) to direct, the psychological drama follows Boleyn as she struggles to survive, to secure a future for her daughter, and to challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her.
“I am so excited to join these exciting filmmakers in bringing the story of one of history’s most controversial queens to the screen,” said Turner-Smith. “Delving deeper into Anne Boleyn’s immense strengths while examining her fatal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Eve’s scripts immediately captured my imagination. In the hands of Lynsey Miller, the legend of this formidable queen and fierce mother will be seen as a deeply human story that is still so relevant for today. I look forward to bringing my heart and spirit into this daring retelling of the fall of this iconic woman.”
Added Fable Picture’s creative directors Faye Ward and Hannah Farrell: “Eve’s drama challenges all the conventions of who we think Anne Boleyn was and shines a feminist light on her story. We’re absolutely thrilled to have the magnetic Jodie Turner-Smith on board to encapsulate Anne’s determination to be an equal among men and to pave a path for her daughter. We feel that history has side-lined the voice of this ambitious Queen in favour of the men who brought her down, and that Lynsey Miller’s beautiful, intimate vision will put Anne’s gaze at the heart of the piece.”
Ben Frow, director of programs at ViacomCBS, said: “It is no secret that I’m a huge Anne Boleyn fan, and we know she’s a proven success as a subject with factual and film audiences. This project re-frames her story as a propulsive psychological thriller, told from a new perspective, with top talent like Jodie Turner-Smith attached. It was simply too irresistible to say no to and I’m very excited to see the finished product.”
The show was commissioned by Channel 5’s controller Frow and deputy director of programs Sebastian Cardwell and SPT’s president of international production Wayne Garvie. Historian Dan Jones will serve as executive producer.
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