Jonathan Rhys Meyers first gained international attention and a London Film Critics Circle Award for his starring role in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine with Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale and Toni Collette. Since then, Rhys Meyers has snatched up a Golden Globe® Award for his starring role in the CBS television miniseries Elvis, as well as an Emmy® nomination. The flawless portrayal of "The King" by a young Irish actor floored critics and audiences alike.
Recently, he was honored with a Golden Globe® nomination for his role in SHOWTIME's THE TUDORS. Rhys Meyers continues to land leading roles opposite today's hottest film actors and directors, and has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men.
In addition, Rhys Meyers is soon to appear in the psycho-thriller Shelter opposite Julianne Moore and directed by Swedish duo Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein; and opposite John Travolta in From Paris with Love. He also starred in Roger Spottiswoode's The Children of Huang Shi, which takes place in 1930s war-ravaged China and co-stars Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun Fat, and Radha Mitchell.
Rhys Meyers showed great range in the musical romance August Rush directed by Kirsten Sheridan and starring Terrence Howard, Robin Williams and Keri Russell. Other feature films include the blockbuster action sequel Mission: Impossible III co-starring with Tom Cruise, Laurence Fishburne, and Philip Seymour Hoffman under the direction of J.J. Abrams. He also earned critical acclaim for his role opposite Scarlett Johansson in Woody Allen's film Match Point, which was nominated for three Golden Globes® including "Best Picture." The film debuted at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival with Rhys Meyers winning the festival's Chopard Trophy for Male Revelation.
Rhys Meyers is also recognized for his role as the girls' soccer coach in the award-winning sleeper hit Bend It Like Beckham, in which he starred with Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra. Other film credits include starring roles in Oliver Stone's epic Alexander, with Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie; and Mira Nair's Vanity Fair, with Reese Witherspoon.
His television credits include the SHOWTIME presentation of The Lion in Winter, with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close; Alfonso Arau's The Magnificent Ambersons, Gormenghast, The Tribe, and Samson and Delilah.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Rhys Meyers made his feature film debut in A Man of No Importance, and then played the young assassin in Neil Jordan's biopic Michael Collins. His subsequent film credits include The Maker, Telling Lies in America, The Governess, B. Monkey, Mike Figgis' The Loss of Sexual Innocence, Ang Lee's western Ride with the Devil, Julie Taymor's Titus, Prozac Nation, The Tesseract, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead and The Emperor's Wife.
King Henry VIII was never intended for the throne of England. However, the death of his older brother Arthur at the age of 15 and his taking of his dead brother's bride, propelled the young prince into the limelight and laid the foundations for one of the most spectacular reigns in English history. The young Henry VIII was an artist, musician, theologian and sportsman — the perfect Renaissance prince — but the failure of his first wife Katherine of Aragon to produce a male heir brought out his darker side. Henry could be cruel and capricious, using arbitrary execution as an instrument of Royal policy. In his bid to produce an heir, he would dismantle the established church in England, loot its posessions, and set himself up as an absolute monarch. By the time of his death, his desire to maintain his own magnificent dynasty had seen him marry six times, deplete the nation's coffers, and cut a swath through the English nobility. Yet a new age had been born in the fires of change and through the years had transformed a Renaissance prince into a sickly, overweight tyrant, his rule marked a sea-change in the fortunes of England.
Henry Cavill began his career as an actor in Stowe Boarding School in England where he appeared in many student productions. He has appeared in several films, including The Count of Monte Cristo, I Capture the Castle, Riding Hood, Hellraiser: Hellworld and the film adaptation of the myth of Tristan & Isolde.
In 2007, he appeared alongside Robert DeNiro and Claire Danes in the magical-realist fantasy Stardust prior to taking a leading role in Joel Schumacher's Creek. His elevation to the top ranks of the screen acting profession was confirmed by Woody Allen casting him alongside Evan Rachel Wood in Whatever Works.
Charles Brandon was the third son of Sir William Brandon who, as Henry VII's standard bearer, had been killed by Richard III in person at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was brought up at the court of Henry VII and became a favourite of Henry VIII. He held several posts in the royal household and distinguished himself in the French campaign of 1513. In 1515 he privately married Mary Tudor, Louis XII's (king of France) widow and Henry VIII's sister, to avoid the political difficulties surrounding the marriage — Henry was keen to acquire the gold plate and jewels which Louis had promised Mary before his death and he made it clear he would only sanction Suffolk's marriage to her if he did indeed get them. Wolsey brokered a deal, however and the couple were able to have a public wedding some months later. Suffolk supported Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon, in direct opposition to Wolsey, and after the latter's disgrace, his influence increased rapidly to the point where he acted as High Steward at the coronation of Anne Boleyn. He died in 1545, a year after commanding an English army invading France. Through his daughter by Mary, Frances, he was grandfather to Lady Jane Grey who would reign for nine days in 1553.
James Frain was discovered at college by Sir Richard Attenborough, who directed him in his 1993 feature film debut, Shadowlands. He has since appeared in Nothing Personal, Elizabeth, Hilary and Jackie, Titus, and Where the Heart Is. In addition, Frain boasts an impressive theatrical resume, appearing in productions with the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 2007 appeared in the Broadway revival of The Homecoming.
Thomas Cromwell was not of noble descent, but, having studied law and been employed by Cardinal Wolsey, he became a member of the English Parliament in 1523. Just nine years later, having gained the King's confidence, he was Henry VIII's chief minister. Under his leadership of Parliament the English Reformation proceeded apace and acts were passed which freed Henry from the control of Rome, establishing him as head of the English church and enabling him to divorce his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. Cromwell also presided over the dissolution of the monasteries, and in 1540 he was created Earl of Essex. He had supported Henry in disposing of Anne Boleyn and replacing her with Jane Seymour, his son's wife's sister. However, after her death, his advice to Henry to marry Anne of Cleves, a disastrous alliance, gave his political enemies (most notably Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk) the ammunition they needed to remove him from office. He was arrested, imprisoned and executed privately at the Tower of London in 1540 after which his head was boiled and set upon a spike on London Bridge.
A native of Oxford, England, Annabelle Wallis made her acting breakthrough in the 2005 period drama Dil Jo Bhi Kahey. In 2006, she appeared in the taut thriller True True Lie before appearing in the 2007 television docu-drama Diana: Last Days of a Princess. More recently, Wallis has appeared in Luis Cámara's Steel Trap, as well as starring in the 2008 comedy-drama Right-Hand Drive.
Jane's motto may have been "Bound to obey and serve," but Henry's third wife wasn't afraid to speak her mind. She frequently challenged him on issues—from his relationship with estranged daughter Mary to his punishment of the rebels in the North—but always kept her head. Perhaps it was because she delivered the male heir King Henry desperately sought. But their domestic bliss was short lived—Queen Jane died from complications soon after the birth of Prince Edward
Alan Van Sprang was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He made his screen debut in 1994 in the Aaron Spelling-produced TV series, Robin's Hoods. After working in television on such series as Earth: Final Conflict and Paradise Falls, he had his big screen breakthrough in George A. Romero's Land of the Dead and has since become a favorite actor of the veteran horror director.
Sir Francis Bryan was a man of many talents and few morals. A powerful member of the King's inner circle, the one-eyed poet/diplomat/soldier's fortunes rose as others fell from grace. He was instrumental in the downfall of his cousin Anne Boleyn, onetime ally Thomas Cromwell and bitter rival Cardinal Wolsey. He was also something of a royal recruiter, lining up women for the King's many affairs.
County Tyrone-born Gerard McSorley is one of Ireland's finest actors and has starred in every major Irish film of the last 18 years including: Michael Collins, In The Name of the Father, The Boxer, Veronica Guerin, Bloody Sunday and Omagh. McSorley took Best Actor honors at the 2004 Irish Film and Television Awards and the Royal Television Society Best Actor Award for his role in Omagh, the powerful story of the 1998 Omagh Bombing. His most recent work includes The Constant Gardener and Joel Schumacher's Creek.
A charismatic lawyer and gifted speaker, Robert Aske led the Pilgrimage of Grace, an uprising of approximately 10,000 rebels in Northern England angered by King Henry's economic, political and social policies. With promises of negotiations and a pardon for the insurgents, the King lured the rebel leader to the palace. Once there, Aske and many of his conspirators were arrested, tried for treason and put to death as a warning to others.
Joss Stone has sold more than 7.5 million albums worldwide; been nominated for four Grammy® Awards; appeared onstage with James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Patti Labelle, Mavis Staples, Donna Summer, and Smokey Robinson; sat for an interview with Oprah Winfrey; starred in two major ad campaigns for the Gap; and performed for more than 200,000 people at the 2005 "Live 8 Concert" in London—all before reaching the ripe old age of 19.
Hailing from Kent, England, Stone was a fresh-faced 14-year-old when she won the popular BBC talent show, "Star for a Night." She wowed audiences with her version of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," stupefying the crowd when a booming, old-soul voice came bellowing from the frame of a small blonde girl. In 2002, she arrived stateside, in New York City, catching the attention of a label CEO Steve Greenberg who signed her and the two began work on her first CD, The Soul Sessions, which was released in 2003. Her subsequent album the following year, Mind, Body & Soul (her first album of original material) earned her three Grammy Awards, including "Best New Artist." Her latest effort, ironically titled Introducing Joss Stone, was released in 2007 to industry and fan acclaim. Recently, Stone branched out into acting, landing small roles in the 2006 fantasy film Eragon and an episode of the CW series Gossip Girl.
There was no love at first sight for Henry and his fourth wife Anne of Cleves, a German who barely spoke English but loved to drink and gamble. The King found her unattractive, claimed he was unable to consummate the marriage and asked for an annulment. In return, Anne was given land, a yearly income and a position of power at Court. She lived happily ever after as a beloved former Queen of England.
An internationally recognized screen star, Max Von Sydow studied acting at the Swedish Royal Dramatic Theater School. He made his film debut in Alf Sjöberg's 1949 Bara En Mor, but it was his devotion to the theatre during the 1950s that earned him a reputation as a fine classical stage actor. At that time he met director Ingmar Bergman, with whom he would collaborate on some of his soon-to-be best known and most memorable work. The two began a long professional relationship with the 1957 film The Seventh Seal and von Sydow soon became the cornerstone of Bergman's group of performers. Their early collaborations included Wild Strawberries, Brink of Life, The Magician, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass, Darkly and Winter Light. In 1960, von Sydow became a member of the Royal Dramatic Theater of Stockholm, and he has continued his ties to the stage to this day. In the mid-1960s, von Sydow was drawn to Hollywood, debuting as Christ in George Stevens' mammoth The Greatest Story Ever Told. His additional screen credits include The Quiller Memorandum, Hawaii, The Exorcist, Hour of the Wolf, Shame, The Passion of Anna and The Touch. In the '70s, von Sydow appeared in Steppenwolf, Three Days of The Condor and The Hurricane, Most recently, he starred in the stage and screen productions of Duet For One and his Oscar®-nominated role in Pelle the Conqueror.
A fierce critic of King Henry 8 and a sworn enemy of the Protestants, Von Waldburg was a natural choice to lead Pope Paul III's Inquisition against the English Reformation. Strongly religious and passionately anti-Protestant, the Cardinal was also an avid art collector and patron of the arts.