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Wolf Hall, Damian Lewis: “I share character traits with him.” Daily Mail, January 2, 2015

‘I share character traits with him!’: Damian Lewis admits elite upbringing allowed him to play King Henry VIII in new BBC period drama Wolf Hall

By Lucy Mapstone for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 07:39 EDT, 2 January 2015 | UPDATED: 13:58 EDT, 2 January 2015

Actor Damian Lewis says his elite upbringing, attending a leading public school, helped to prepare him for his portrayal of a king in Wolf Hall.

The 43-year-old star, who plays Henry VIII in the forthcoming BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning historical novel, said his background has given him an insight into structure and social circles of royalty.

Lewis, who was a pupil at Eton, will be seen in the much-anticipated dramatisation when it launches on BBC2 later this month, bringing together both the books Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.

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Threatening: Damian Lewis shows off his sinister side as Henry VIII in the trailer for BBC2's upcoming period drama series Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel's Booker-prize winning novels

The actor, who has become an international name for his leading role in Homeland, said taking the role felt like a natural fit and he had found much in common with Henry.

‘The more I read about him the more I was happy – and alarmed – to find that I did share character traits with him,’ he said.’I suppose everyone else will be the judge of it, but certainly sitting in the clothes, it feels like a canny piece of casting, because I do feel, I do find similarities between myself and him.

‘I think there’s no question it helps having had the kind of schooling that I’ve had to play a King. Just the way, the sort of court structure, hierarchies, the way they’re set up, it’s something I feel I implicitly understand,’ Lewis added. (video here)

Tudor terror: The British actor - best known for his role as Nicholas Brody in Homeland - makes for an impressive monarch

He said it was easy to understand the fascination Henry continues to arouse as ‘a memorable, almost cartoonish king’ with the fundamental changes in state religion during his reign and the flourishing of the arts.

Although Lewis added: ‘But of course the reason we’re interested, is in the six wives and the fact that two of them were beheaded and the obsession with having a son.’

Read the rest of the article at the Daily Mail