Looking like a role she was born to play, here’s a first look at Jodie Turner-Smith playing the famed Tudor Queen in the title role in the upcoming three-part drama “Anne Boleyn”.

Anne Boleyn
Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn
Image Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh

Exclusively revealed in Variety, the first images show the actress, most notably remembered for her breakout role in Queen & Slim, along with Daniel Kaluuya, staring solemnly into the camera.

The casting of Turner-Smith last year in this role caused uproar from some quarters, with some questioning why a Black actress should play the Tudor Queen.

At the time, director Lynsey Miller said in Metro: “I feel very strongly that we have the best actress for the role so I am happy to stand by it.”

“I’m very proud of what we have created together, so let them talk. There are going to be a lot of people who don’t like it, but I feel like there has to be space for that and there are going to be a lot of people who love it. I’m one of them.”

“She challenged the norms in a period when women were treated as objects and mistresses.”

Speaking about her character, in an interview with British Vogue, Turner-Smith said: “She challenged the norms in a period when women were treated as objects and mistresses. She demanded a seat at the table.” It stands to reason that the filmmakers would also want to challenge purist views about who should play the role of Boleyn.


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Boleyn is known as the most notorious of Henry VIII’s wives, famous for being beheaded to allow the monarch to marry yet another wife, Jane Seymour. Described as a three-part psychological thriller, the drama is commissioned by Channel 5 and produced by Fable Pictures and Sony Pictures Television.

According to Variety, Anne Boleyn: “Will explore the final months of Boleyn’s life from her perspective, as she struggles to secure a future for her daughter and challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her. The series will depict the key moments that cause Anne to topple, reflecting her strength, fatal vulnerabilities and determination to be an equal among men.”

Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You) also features in the drama, playing Anne’s brother, George Boleyn, alongside an ensemble cast.

Anne Boleyn wrapped production on location in Yorkshire in December and is set to air later this year.


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