Anne Boleyn has been represented in movie and tv for practically a century, courting again as early as a brief movie from 1912, and as just lately because the 2021 movie Spencer. Hollywood legends together with Vanessa Redgrave, Charlotte Rampling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Natalie Portman, have all performed the Queen of England, second spouse of Henry VIII, and mom of Queen Elizabeth I. Now, Jodie Turner-Smith, who made a splash in Hollywood when she starred within the 2019 movie Queen & Slim reverse Daniel Kaluuya, is the most recent actress to tackle the long-lasting position of the betrayed and beheaded queen within the miniseries Anne Boleyn, which drops on AMC+ December 9.
The three-part collection focuses on the Queen within the final 5 months of her life, following the dissolution of her marriage to Henry VIII, the trauma of her miscarriage, her arrest, and imprisonment. In simply three episodes, Turner-Smith, who shot the collection a number of months after giving beginning to her daughter Janine in April 2020, redefines Anne Boleyn by giving her company, energy, and a definite character. Opening with Turner-Smith as Boleyn, wearing a brilliant yellow robe and carrying intense gold make-up round her eyes, the collection immediately comes alive with the actress’s magnetism. As a substitute of portraying her as a mistress determined for energy, Turner-Smith depicts her as an clever, strategic girl with flaws and emotions.
When she was first forged because the queen consort, Turner-Smith’s casting ruffled some feathers, attributable to the truth that she is Black and the actual royal was white. However within the collection, it really works—Boleyn stands out amongst a forged of principally white folks, which deepens the viewer’s understanding of her isolating journey. In an interview with W, Turner-Smith opened up about taking part in Boleyn as a Black girl, and the way, from her perspective, the casting determination makes room for extra folks of shade to have comparable alternatives to star in interval items, regardless of some historic inaccuracies of this one. It “embraces how actors can carry themselves to a personality,” Turner-Smith says. The actress additionally mentioned how turning into a mom modified her perspective as an actress, the racial politics of the collection, and going public along with her personal relationship.
Anne Boleyn was the primary venture you filmed after giving beginning. Has being a mother modified your strategy to performing?
Positively. There’s only a totally different lens I see the world by way of now, which, I consider, provides some depth and nuance, hopefully, to my work.
Was there something specifically about taking part in Anne Boleyn that you simply won’t have been in a position to faucet into for those who hadn’t been a mom?
What attracted me to the position was [that] I felt like I actually was seeing that ingredient of her story. Not a lot what was sensational about her, however the truth that how cool she was as a lady and a mom doing the perfect that she may to make sure the survival of her kids. Having filmed 5 months after giving beginning, I had a connection to this concept of delivering a toddler stillborn that I would not actually have had the scope of reference to in the identical approach [before giving birth]. As artists, we perceive grief, we have all grieved. However this specific horror felt totally different to me having simply been by way of a dwell beginning, and I wished to deal with that with as a lot sensitivity and care as attainable.
You painting Anne Boleyn in a novel approach; the ache she felt after shedding a toddler isn’t positioned on the heart of her story. However you additionally portrayed her as a lady who had plenty of energy and plenty of pull. How necessary was that so that you can seize?
It was essential for the filmmakers [all three parts were directed by Lynsey Miller]. They actually wished to indicate that ingredient of Anne, like how she was politically concerned and the way she wished to have a say, and even simply the spiritual parts, bringing an English-language Bible [to the royal court]. This concept of her making an attempt to actually push ahead the conversations round tradition and artwork, how she wished to make use of cash from monasteries to push England ahead differently, and the way that made her threatening.
There’s a lot that’s already recognized about Anne Boleyn in relation to Henry VIII, however there may be actually not a lot recognized about what she was like on her personal. How did you determine the way you had been going to provide her such a particular character?
Eve’s [writer Eve Hedderwick Turner] scripts actually instructed a really lovely story about what was taking place emotionally, internally for Anne. It was actually nearly bringing the nuances of my very own experiences as a human being and as an artist to what was already on the web page. I beloved how a lot there have been these parallels to fashionable instances. There’s nothing [else] that permits you to see how a lot issues haven’t modified as dwelling and searching into the expertise of a lady who lived within the time earlier than this one, and the way so lots of these limitations nonetheless exist.
What does Anne Boleyn imply to you each as a feminist and as a British girl?
I hadn’t actually seen her in that feminist gentle. I felt that she was at all times portrayed as this seductress, this harlot. It was, did she have intercourse along with her brother? Did she have six toes, six fingers? And it was at all times a demonization of her. This story was a unique one than what I had seen. After I began doing analysis, I used to be fascinated by her upbringing and the way in some ways she was this outsider, and an grownup girl present within the patriarchy. It made me understand that maybe a lot of her story actually is nearly how she’s been written about by males, and it is probably not a real reflection of who she was. And what would I do in among the circumstances that she was in?
Was there something in your analysis on her that you simply discovered that you simply did not find out about earlier than?
I simply didn’t know a lot about her upbringing. She mainly spent all of her childhood round highly effective ladies and which may have influenced her and why which may have influenced her to be the form of girl that she was and are available to England to make the modifications that she did, not purely simply making an attempt to be a queen consort.
Anne Boleyn was a predominantly woman-led manufacturing. How did that evaluate to your experiences on different tasks?
There are particular nuances to be discovered if you enable ladies to be on the helm of telling a lady’s story. [There are] issues which can be lacking when [women are] not in command of it due to their very own internalized prejudices that they’re possibly not even conscious of, and a few that they’re. I believe additionally, as I stated, I had simply given beginning 5 months earlier than doing this venture and there was undoubtedly a unique degree of compassion and care by way of the area that I used to be given to do what I wanted to do [as a mother] whereas additionally leaping into this position. That was actually interesting to me.
I additionally wished to speak concerning the racial politics on the present, which defies conference relating to telling a narrative that’s already been instructed many instances. What’s important to you about portraying Anne Boleyn as a Black girl?
I believe it makes area for and embraces how actors can carry themselves to a personality. You already know? My particular person identification added to the expertise of the movie. I perceive there was a historic determine. Anne Boleyn was a white girl, however as a human being, having a human expertise, how far more can we get from the story once we simply distill it right down to that? Once we take race out of the image and we speak about this concept of experiencing ache, ambition, grief, need, loss, motherhood, issues which can be common experiences? It’s fantastic to have the chance to simply inform tales and to not be restricted by race.
I imply this as a praise, however you’re a really on-line individual, and also you’re notably very sharp, humorous, and trustworthy on Twitter. Are there ever days if you simply want that you simply weren’t very on-line or if you want you might simply put the cellphone down?
I believe it’s good to plug out, so I do. Generally I’m not on-line, I don’t publish something. However clearly our worlds are actually in our telephones, whether or not we are literally on the web posting issues ourselves or not. That is how we get our information, our info—it’s all within the palm of our fingers now. However it’s additionally good to simply get exterior and speak to folks in actual life and be with our household, and I undoubtedly do a wholesome quantity of placing my cellphone down and simply doing that.
Is there something particular you do if you unplug?
It’s a number of sizzling baths. Scorching tub, going to a park with my daughter, simply speaking to my husband.
You and your husband [Joshua Jackson] have grow to be an “it couple” in Hollywood, however you appear to maintain plenty of particular particulars about your relationship non-public. What’s sustaining that stability like for you?
It’s very straightforward to try this. I’m a millennial. We grew up on the web, the place, in a approach, a lot of it’s regular to have that interplay. However I’m an actual human individual, and I wish to scent timber and swim and hike and browse books. There’s a lot extra of me than what you see on-line, as with every individual, ? So it’s totally straightforward to not give all of myself to the web as a result of most of my life truly exists exterior of it. I don’t have totally different personalities for various locations. I’m not one individual on the web and one individual in actual life. It’s the identical individual.