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“History has often focused on the odious behavior of Henry VIII”: in The Queen's Gambit, the metamorphosis of Jude Law

This article comes from “Figaro Magazine”.

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“History has often focused on the odious behavior of Henry VIII”: in The Queen's Gambit, the metamorphosis of Jude Law

This article comes from “Figaro Magazine”

At the traditional 8-hour screening, during the last Cannes Film Festival, the very first spectators of The Queen's Game - a film in competition by Brazilian Karim Aïnouz - rubbed their eyes when they saw Jude Law appear on the screen. Did they blame it on lack of sleep or too much drinking? Everyone wondered about their fate before understanding that, to play the abominable and pathetic Henry VIII, opposite the enduring Catherine Parr (Alicia Vikander), the British actor had not done things by halves.

Ten months later, when we find the star in Paris, she has found the fine and slender figure of Dumbledore from Fantastic Beasts, the alert mind of Doctor Watson from Sherlock Holmes, the aura of The New Pope, the acuity of the Stalingrad sniper, the devastating smile of Irresistible Alfie and even the disarming insolence which revealed him, already twenty-four years ago, in The Talented Mr Ripley. Neither his 51 springs, nor the jet lag due to his arrival the day before from New York (where he settled his family during the filming of Black Rabbit, a Netflix series) nor the cockiness caused by sending him a little brutal treatment of a wooden toy by her youngest did not diminish her pleasure in talking about the Queen's Game.

Also read: Our review of the film The Queen's Game: a game of chess with a king

I immediately liked the way this chapter of the Tudors was presented, he says. For some perverse reason, history has often focused on the heinous behavior of Henry VIII and the many wives he beheaded or died under his tyranny, but more rarely on the winner, Catherine Parr, who maneuvered to survive. This story also resonated with our contemporary times; it was an opportunity to highlight domestic violence and to show that in a palace, in the 16th century, or in a residential area today, the danger of illusory and drunken power is the same. But it also highlights the intelligence and agility of a survivor capable of anticipating a tragic scenario in order to divert it.”

Beyond its romantic character and its possible echo in the news, this story offered Jude Law a role in the form of a challenge. “I started with the idea of ​​what I thought I could achieve and then I scratched, investigated… Historical research gave me a basis from which I could create a physical form.” Unrecognizable behind a shaggy beard, a deformed body and necrotic legs, Jude Law took impregnation even further using an astonishing technique: spraying nauseating perfumes around him to provoke disgust in those who used him. were approaching. “Karim wanted to create a tangible atmosphere, so he had us film in an icy medieval castle where the smell of wood fire mixed with that of animals and food. To follow this approach, I found it interesting to spread around me a smell of rotting meat which would give an idea of ​​that which the king's legs must have produced as they rotted.

Also read: A score by Mozart and a letter from King Henry VIII at auction in London

An anecdote that says a lot about the total investment of this father of seven children when he slips into a suit. After Henry VIII's crown, he donned the hero's suit from the Star Wars: Skeleton Crew series, then put on his producer's cap to invite Justin Kurzel to direct the story of a group of white supremacists in the United States. United in the 1980s. And before settling down in New York for his Netflix series, he settled in Australia to play the misanthropic doctor in Eden, by Ron Howard. Proof that his kingdom has no borders.

The Queen's Game, by Karim Aïnouz (in theaters March 27).

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