Firebrand: period drama meets psychological thriller as Jude Law takes on the role of a violent Henry VIII

Firebrand: period drama meets psychological thriller as Jude Law takes on the role of a vulgar, violent Henry VIII

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Ever wondered what Bridgerton would be like with a dark twist? Firebrand, a new period thriller from the writers of Killing Eve may just answer your question.

Call us suckers for classification, but we love gripping psychological thrillers. We adore classic corseted period dramas, too.

But what if Bridgerton had been a little bit darker? How would Downton Abbey play out as a twisting murder mystery?

Well, we may just be about to find out. Meet your new favourite genre: the period thriller. And, quite possibly, your new film obsession: Firebrand.

This is definitely one to be excited about. From the team behind the script of Killing Eve, Firebrand is billed as “a psychological horror tale set in the bloody Tudor court with a focus on Queen Catherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII, and the only one to avoid banishment or death.”

Taking one of history’s most famous figures and delving into his true darkness? Sounds very intriguing. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming project so far.

What is the plot of Firebrand?

Firebrand tells the story the history books didn’t.

As Deadline explains: “By the time young Catherine Parr (played by Michelle Williams) married the deteriorating, increasingly despotic King Henry VIII (portrayed by Jude Law), she had no assurances of a happy marriage; in fact, she had no assurances of surviving this marriage at all. Of her predecessors, two were thrown out, one died in childbirth and two were beheaded.

“While Catherine tried to keep her head about her to navigate the politics of her position, she brought a secret agenda. She was Protestant, and believed it her duty to marry Henry, for it would be the only position in which she could convert him – and the kingdom – from his pro-Catholic position.”

“With arrests, torture, and executions of Protestants on the rise, Catherine invited a dangerous game that would leave one of them dead before long. The thriller is told through Catherine’s singular point-of-view of the psychological horror of living with a monster—and the remarkable will to not only survive, but thrive.”

Who stars in Firebrand?

As previously mentioned, the film has already found a stellar lead duo in Williams and Law. Williams has multiple Emmys and Golden Globes under her belt for performances in My Week with Marilyn and Fosse/Verdon.

Law himself has earned four Golden Globes alongside Academy Award nominations for roles in Hollywood blockbusters like Fantastic Beasts, The Young Pope and Sherlock Holmes.

No further casting announcements have been made yet, but we can safely presume that whoever joins the upcoming film will prove an exciting addition to the cast.

What are people saying about Firebrand?

Buzz around the project is already starting to build, and for good reason.

“This is a woman who deserves a portrait,” director Karim Aïnouz told Deadline. “There has been much depicted on the king and the wives that perished. It’s important to look at someone who turns out to be stronger than the forces around them. This is a modernistic look at the classic trope of the woman trapped in a castle with a monster.”

Speaking about the film’s influences, he continued: “One of the first things that came to mind when I started this was the legend of Bluebeard. I think it’s important to revisit narratives that have been conveyed as romantic love stories. Henry was a most interesting person, but he was uber-violent, which was in tune with the times.”

The project will indeed skew the narrative from what historical re-enactments usually tell us. “Jude will not play him as the clichéd fat man eating the turkey leg,” Aïnouz explains. “Jude got how complex this guy was, not a loveable character but as a most powerful man of his time. And Michelle immediately came to mind. I so admire her choices, going back to Brokeback Mountain, and there is something fascinating about her each time I rediscover her in a performance.”

It sounds like we’re in for a deliciously dark take on one of history’s most famous marriages.

When will Firebrand be available to stream?

The not-so good news is that the film is still in its extremely early stages, and is currently on the American film market awaiting the distribution rights to be bought. But as soon as there are any developments, we will be sure to keep you updated.

In the meantime, why not check out the best period dramas to escape into now?

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