Damian Lewis arrives on the red carpet before the screening of the film "Romeo and Juliet" during the 8th annual Rome International Film Festival in Rome on November 11, 2013. UPI/David Silpa | License Photo
BOSTON, May 8 (UPI) -- British actor Damian Lewis has signed on to play King Henry VIII opposite Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in the six-part miniseries, Wolf Hall, PBS announced Thursday.
Shooting has already begun in England on the small-screen adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize-winning novels. The miniseries is expected to air in the United States through PBS' Masterpiece programming banner and in the United Kingdom on the BBC in 2015.
Peter Kosminsky is directing the drama that charts the "meteoric rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court, from his lowly start as a blacksmith's son to Henry VIII's closest adviser," a synopsis said.
Claire Foy will play Anne Boleyn in the miniseries, which was written by Peter Straughan. It will co-star Jonathan Pryce, Joanne Whalley, Mark Gatiss, Anton Lesser, Mathieu Amalric, Charity Wakefield, Jessica Raine, Bernard Hill, Richard Dillane and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.
"I love it when an author, such as Hilary Mantel, does her research and discovers an original understanding of a very familiar piece of history," Rylance said in a statement. "Even during our rehearsals her detailed imagination of the world of Thomas Cromwell is alive in Peter Straughan's ingenious and faithful adaptation. I have to say, after my experience on The Government Inspector, I would gladly take part in any film that Peter Kosminsky makes. His ability to grasp complex political situations and bring them to life on film seems particularly suited for this material. Myself aside, I feel he has cast Wolf Hall with a superb eye for character and all the nuanced humanity Ms. Mantel's masterpieces deserve."