Jodie Turner-Smith stars as Anne Boleyn in new teaser for series
The three-part drama will shine a 'feminist light' on the historical figure's life during her final months, says its synopsis.
Jodie Turner-Smith is literally getting the royal treatment: The Queen & Slim actress stars as Anne Boleyn in the teaser for the upcoming series first announced by Deadline last fall.
Only approximately 20 seconds long, the teaser for the highly-anticipated three-parter instantly draws viewers in with a sneak peek of Turner-Smith’s regal portrayal of Boleyn. Per the synopsis, the Channel 5 drama “shines a feminist light on the final months of Boleyn’s life, re-imagining her struggle with Tudor England’s patriarchal society, her desire to secure a future for her daughter, Elizabeth, and the brutal reality of her failure to provide Henry with a male heir.”
Boleyn, of course, is an enormous historical figure known for being the second wife of King Henry VIII. By focusing on her perspective, the series is reportedly more psychological thriller than “stuffy period drama.”
At the time of her casting’s announcement, Turner-Smith shared, “Delving deeper into Anne Boleyn’s immense strengths while examining her fatal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Eve’s scripts immediately captured my imagination,” referring to the show’s writer, Eve Hedderwick Turner.
Speaking of Turner-Smith’s selection for the major role, Hedderwick Turner told Deadline last fall, “Jodie is a complete natural queen. She is magnetic and has this deep dignity that she brings to the part.”
In February, Turner-Smith was featured in Vogue UK, where she opened up about her new role, how it resonated with her as a Black woman and what Boleyn’s story means for today’s audiences.
“It resonated with me as a story about motherhood, having just had my own child, and it highlights the many ways in which female bodies were policed and politicised, and still are,” she explained. “In Anne’s case, whether her body ‘worked’ according to the patriarchy’s demands was literally a matter of survival.”
She dove into how universal the story’s themes are. “There’s so much about her story that feels modern,” Turner-Smith said. “It’s one I can relate to as a Black woman, and it shows how little has changed in terms of our desire to tear down powerful women, to not let them live in their truth.”
Boleyn was also known for defying societal standards, pushing back against the norms set at the time. “She challenged the norms in a period when women were treated as objects and mistresses,” said the actress proud to play her. “She demanded a seat at the table, and she loved hard — and of course, she’s been depicted by history as this incestuous, six-fingered Jezebel as a result. Even in terms of fashion and beauty, she went against contemporary standards. She was not en vogue for the period.”
Anne Boleyn, which will be distributed internationally by Sony Pictures Television, also stars I May Destroy You breakout actor Paapa Essiedu as Boleyn’s brother, George Boleyn. Mark Stanley portrays the King himself, Henry VIII.