The first look image has been released of FIREBRAND, where Academy award-winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl, Ex Machina) plays Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives. Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts, The Nest) plays Henry VIII alongside a cast of Erin Doherty (The Crown, Chloe) as Anne Askew, Simon Russell Beale (Operation Mincemeat, Benediction) as Bishop Stephen Gardiner and Sam Riley (Rebecca, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) and Eddie Marsan (The Gentlemen, Vice) as Thomas and Edward Seymour, respectively. Further cast includes Ruby Bentall (Poldark), Bryony Hannah (Call The Midwife) and Maia Jemmett. Olivier award-winning Patsy Ferran will play Princess Mary and Junia Rees will make her acting debut as Princess Elizabeth.
The highly anticipated title's synopsis reads: "In blood-soaked Tudor England, Katherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of King Henry VIII, is named Regent while tyrant Henry is fighting overseas. Katherine has done everything she can to push for a new future based on her radical Protestant beliefs. When an increasingly ailing and paranoid King returns, he turns his fury on the radicals, charging Katherine’s childhood friend with treason and burning her at the stake. Horrified and grieving, but forced to deny it, Katherine finds herself fighting for her own survival. Conspiracy reverberates through the palace. Everyone holds their breath – for the queen to slip up, for Henry to take her head like wives before. With the hope for a future free of tyranny at risk, will Katherine submit to the inevitable for the sake of King and country?"
The film is the English-language debut of Karim Aïnouz (Invisible Life, Mariner of the Mountains), is produced by frequent Ralph Fiennes collaborator Gabrielle Tana (The Dig) of Brouhaha Entertainment and written by Henrietta and Jessica Ashworth (Killing Eve).
Aïnouz’s recent films include Invisible Life, which won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes in 2019 and documentary Central Airport THF, about Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport, which won the Amnesty International award at the Berlinale in 2018. His latest film Mariner Of The Mountains premiered in Cannes 2021 and we interviewed the filmmaker about it here.
Further creatives involved in Firebrand include Academy award-winning hair and makeup designer Jenny Shircore (Elizabeth), Academy award-winning costume designer Michael O’Connor (The Duchess) and BAFTA award-winning production designer Helen Scott (Small Axe). Following her collaboration with Aïnouz on Invisible Life, the DoP is Hélène Louvart whose work includes Soudade Kaadan's Nezouh, Maggie Gyllenhaal's The Lost Daughter and past works by Italian auteur Alice Rohrwacher, as well as her next Cannes title La Chimera. The casting director is Nina Gold (The Power of The Dog).
Executive producers are Maria Logan of MBK Productions Ltd and Anne Sheehan. The producers are Gabrielle Tana and Carolyn Marks Blackwood.
FilmNation Entertainment handled international sales. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions will distribute in Germany, Greece, Iceland, Middle East, Scandinavia, Turkey, all of Asia (excluding Japan), Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Other territories sold include Switzerland (Elite Film AG), Israel (Lev Cinemas), Spain, Italy and LATAM (Vertice Cine), and UK and Benelux (Black Bear Pictures).
Photo credit: Courtesy of Brouhaha Entertainment, used with permission.