Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Role Reversal: Henry VIII and the Duke of Buckingham

I read an article today about the Top Ten Best Henry VIII's in film/television. Not surprisingly, Jonathan Rhys Meyers made the list. I can't help it. I love The Tudors. JRM certainly plays the role of Henry role well. He has the abs, the charm, and certainly the attitude to play Henry, but does he have the look? Now, I'm not talking about the 300 pound Henry VIII of the 1540's, rather the young stud that romped around court in the early 1500's. Let's be honest. No, not really.


But there is another character on the show who does. He had the look of Henry: the red hair, the height, and, probably, the abs. Who is the character? Why none other than the Duke of Buckingham, one of Henry's many rivals in Season 1.


Let's take a look at what Henry really looked like. According to the Venetian Ambassador,

"His Majesty is the handsomest potentate I ever set eyes on; above the usual height, with an extremely fine calf to his leg, his complexion very fair and bright, with auburn hair combed straight and short, in the French fashion, his throat being rather long and thick.  He was born on the 28th of June, 1491, so he will enter his twenty-fifth year the month after next.  He speaks French, English, and Latin, and a little Italian, plays well on the lute and harpsichord, sings from book at sight, draws the bow with greater strength  than any man in England, and jousts marvelously.  Believe me, he is in every respect a most accomplished Prince; and I, who have now seen all the sovereigns in Christendom, and last of all these two of France and England in such great state, might well rest content..." 
According to this description, plus others not mentioned here, Henry looked little like JRM. He looked more like Steve Waddington (aka the Duke of Buckingham).

What think ye? Would you have rather seen the roles reversed? How do you think each would have done?
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13 comments:

  1. As soon as I saw JRM as Henry, I just knew he was wrong. He doesn't have ANY of the physical attributes of Henry, but I tried to see past that. However, he didn't have any of Henry's general demeanour, either! He had no "presence" in a room, which Henry did. He towered over everyone and was, in his younger days, a great renaissance King. A larger than life King who loved life. All JRM did well was lose his temper in the role and take his clothes off! Henry didn't even have that many mistresses, relatively speaking. As for the F-word that JRM utters in one episode, it was totally for effect, and didn't sound right.

    However, as soon as I saw Buckingham, I KNEW he should have got the role. He was tall, and physically bigger all over. And actually looked like Henry!! Plus he was a very good actor as Buckingham, which I am sure he could have extended to playing Henry.

    All in all, JRM was totally miscast.

    But as in the entire series of the Tudors, it was all about sex, good looks and style over substance and a blatant trample over history. But why bother with history and good actors, when you can have another scene with JRM taking his clothes off and shagging another with her tits out.

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  2. Very interesting and good points!!

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  3. Totally agree- It was more about sex and good looks than history. And JRM wasn´t the only one wrongly cast, as I see it

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  4. Yes well the series as a whole was so historically inaccurate you really can't call it anything but a soap opera or drama.

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  5. I agree, Steve Waddington seems like he would have fit the part of Henry more than JRM. But again we were watching fiction based on history. Either way I enjoy The Tudors and miss it. Wish they would continue the story with Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

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  6. I thought the same thing when the series first began (before Buckingham was "offed"). However, as the series went on, I grew to LOVE JRM in the role because his portrayal was NOTHING like the stereotyped versions of Henry that have been played out over the last several decades. Besides, it was a TV show intended for sheer entertainment, not a documentary seeking 100% historical accuracy!
    Lisa Long Wilson

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  7. Totally agree, JRM was totally miscast as Henry but the makers of the Tudors don't seem to have been even vaguely bothered about the actual facts. Awful, awful show!

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  8. very harsh. I agree Buckingham is the perfect physical type, however I think JRM embodied the role and took it very very seriously. It was no surprise to me he ended up in rehab. I thought he did a fine acting job, and his role was acted over a 5 year filming period. To compare that to a movie role is unfair. The Tudors was able to bring in the hundreds of people who played a role in Henry's life. That being said Buckingham did have the perfect physical role model for Henry 8

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  9. I agree that Waddington would have been a better fit as Henry VIII, and that the series, as a whole, tramples history rather utterly. I'll forgive them, though, because of the brilliant casting of Katherine of Aragon and Cardinal Woolsey.

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  10. Steven Waddington is hot, and a ringer for Henry the VIII. If they were concerned about enough sex appeal, he would have been all over that. He's so rugged and manly, and a great actor; he may have brought more authenticity to the character of Henry and there is no doubt he would have achieved the same level of sexuality as JRM (Swooned over him watching Ivanhoe). It would be AWESOME if they re-made the series with him as Henry. I would buy it in a blink.

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  11. I thought I was the only one that noticed this about the Duke of Buckingham. I mean I went into the show knowing that JRM was Henry despite not looking a thing like him. But as soon as the Duke of Buckingham appeared in the show in season one, the first thing that went through my mind was "WHY WASN'T HE CAST AS KING HENRY VIII??" JRM is short, dark haired, and just doesn't look a thing like Henry the VIII. I remember in Season 4 when the king is getting that infamous portrait done, I couldn't help but laugh because JRM's portrait is such a contrast from the actual portrait of the king.

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  12. Good points made by all! I too felt that JRM, while gorgous and sexy, was not the right "look" for Henry VIII; whereas Steve Waddington certainly had the build/look perfect. I also believe that everyone persists in getting Katherine of Aragon's look wrong - she was fair haired and light eyed. And Anne was known for her almost black eyes - I LOVED Natalie in the role as an actress but found her light eyes distracting, knowing Anne had dark eyes. Then again, the actors selected for Katherine of Aragon, Woolsey and Thomas More did an outstanding job of acting! I was riveted during their scenes.

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