“To become a part of this extraordinary franchise was both flattering and frankly terrifying,” admits “Wolf Hall” director Peter Kosminsky. During our recent webchat (watch below), he discusses the overwhelming popularity of both the Hilary Mantel novels and subject matter. “The only way to go was down. The only option was to make a mess of it. Frankly, my track record on costume drama was not exactly glittering.”
The focus of the limited series, which aired on PBS under the “Masterpiece” banner, was the rise of royal advisor Thomas Cromwell (three-time Tony champ Mark Rylance) and his championing of a marriage between King Henry VIII (Damian Lewis) and Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy) in the early 16th century. Henry was one of the most vindictive of British rulers, who ordered the beheadings of two of his six wives. The lavish production was filmed in some of the finest British medieval and Tudor houses.
Emmy voters have showered “Wolf Hall” with nominations including Best Limited Series, Movie/Mini Actor (Rylance), Movie/Mini Supporting Actor (Lewis) as well as for writer Peter Straughan and Kosminsky. The director reveals, “I’ve been making television programs for 35 years, and I’ve never before been nominated for a Primetime Emmy. So to get eight nominations for our show, and to see the work of (15-year editing collaborator) David Blackmore recognized is an amazing thrill for me.”
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Photo: Peter Kosminsky in 2011. Credit:Richard Saker/REX