As soon as I heard that I would be interviewing Tamzin Merchant (who plays Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard) and Torrance Coombs (who plays Thomas Culpepper),
from the acclaimed Irish/Canadian show, I immediately took to the twitters and to facebook to ask what people wanted to know.
“They wantÂ Henry Cavill‘s phone number, right?” laughed Tamzin.
“Well, yes, THAT, of course. But they DID have many other questions too.”
And I asked them all.
(For those of you who are not up to speed on the history of Catherine Howard, well, while she was married to King Henry, she and Thomas Culpepper developed a meeting-in-secret kind of relationship that may or may not have ended in a sexual relationship. There were no doubts about their endings, though – - they were both executed.)
You wanted to know about the costumes. And I asked. I talked about how ridiculously beautiful the costumes are, but how they look like it would take an army to get into. And Tamzin agreed that, yes, she had toÂ be dressedÂ by a team of people. The outfits, it seems, help both Tamzin and Thomas get into their characters. These iconic characters. They both said that they didn’t do very much research and reading into the characters that they play, since every writer, every director, every person interprets these people differently. And they playÂ thisÂ version.
You wanted to know about the executions. And I asked. Even though The Tudors takes much artistic and creative licence with the show and the characters (READ: it’s not nonfiction; it’s historical fiction. There’s a big difference), the executions were a huge part of the actual history, and are a huge part of the show as well. I asked how the actors were able to mentally prepare for such a brutal ending to their characters’ lives.
Tamzin said that there’s a dramatic scene right before Katherine’s beheading where she runs through this field to see Henry and to beg for her life. The actress said that when she walked through the field, in England, where this actually, historically took place, she was overcome with a rush of feelings of dread. At that very moment, it was so easy for her to actually feel what Katherine Howard was feeling at the time…begging for her husband to not send her to her death.
You wanted to know about the nudity. And I asked. They admitted that there is, yes, a lot of nudity on the show (and yes, it is all them) but it works for the show. Tamzin said, though, that there are some people in her life who may or may not be related to her who assume that she is wearing some sort of nude-colored covering. She said she just nods in agreement. Heh.
You wanted to know about coming into a cast late in the game, i.e., third and fourth seasons. And I asked. And here is what she said, in a ridiculously adorable British accent. “Everyone was so nice. Especially Johnny. He made me feel so comfortable.”
(You guys. JOHNNY. As in, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. JOHNNY.)
Torrance also went on to explain that there’s quite a bit of turnover on the show (what with all the dying and killing and beheading and remarriages and such)…and by season 4, there were very few original castmembers from season 1, so it wasn’t like they were coming into this really tight family that had been together since day 1.
The two were so lovely. The British Tamzin and the Canadian Torrance. I wanted to shove them both in my pockets. But alas, I talked to beautiful people from The Tudors and all I got was this crappy iphone photo…