Jodie Turner-Smith, known for her breakout role in Queen & Slim, will be taking the lead as Anne Boleyn in a new Channel 5 TV thriller aiming to challenge conventions.
The new series will go against the traditional style of a period drama by showcasing the story as a psychological thriller examining the final months of the Tudor Queen’s life from her perspective.
Written by newcomer Eve Hedderwick Turner, the production will “shine a feminist light” on Anne Boleyn’s struggle to survive in Tudor England’s oppressive patriarchal society, and the brutal consequences of her failure to provide Henry VIII with a male heir.
The cast also includes I May Destroy You’s Paapa Essiedu, Trigonometry’s Thalissa Teixeira, White House Farm’s Amanda Burton, Des actor Barry Ward, and star of West End’s Hamilton Jamael Westman.
It will be directed by BAFTA Award-winning director Lynsey Miller, whose credits include The Boy with the Topknot, Doing Money and Deadwater Fell.
On landing the lead role, Turner-Smith said in a statement, “I am so excited to join these exciting filmmakers in bringing the story of one of history’s most controversial queens to the screen. Delving deeper into Anne Boleyn’s immense strengths while examining her fatal weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Eve’s scripts immediately captured my imagination.
“In the hands of Lynsey Miller, the legend of this formidable queen and fierce mother will be seen as a deeply human story that is still so relevant for today. I look forward to bringing my heart and spirit into this daring retelling of the fall of this iconic woman.”
Faye Ward & Hannah Farrell, Creative Directors, Fable Pictures, added, “Eve’s drama challenges all the conventions of who we think Anne Boleyn was and shines a feminist light on her story. We’re absolutely thrilled to have the magnetic Jodie Turner-Smith on board to encapsulate Anne’s determination to be an equal among men and to pave a path for her daughter.
“We feel that history has side-lined the voice of this ambitious Queen in favour of the men who brought her down, and that Lynsey Miller’s beautiful, intimate vision will put Anne’s gaze at the heart of the piece.”
Anne Boleyn will be produced by Faye Ward and Hannah Farrell through their London-based outfit Fable Pictures. The show was commissioned by Channel 5’s Controller Ben Frow and Deputy Director of Programmes Sebastian Cardwell and SPT’s President of International Production Wayne Garvie. Renowned historian Dan Jones will serve as Executive Producer.