Michelle Williams to Star as the One Queen Who Survived Henry VIII

Michelle Williams attends the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Turner

Michelle Williams and Jude Law are pairing up to tell the story of Henry VIII (Law) and his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr (Williams) in an upcoming historical thriller, Firebrand.

According to Deadline, the story will be told through Parr’s point-of-view as she handles being married to a King whose previous five wives all faced horrific fates (two got banished, one died in childbirth, and two got beheaded at the hand of the King himself).

“This a woman who deserves a portrait,” the film’s director, Karim Aïnouz, told Deadline. “There has been much depicted on the king and the wives that perished. It’s important to look at someone who turns out to be stronger than the forces around them.”

Aïnouz continued, describing the movie as “a modernistic look at the classic trope of the woman trapped in a castle with a monster.” In a letter that went out to buyers for the film, Aïnouz explained that while a lot is known about the King and some of his earlier wives, he wants to focus on “a woman who not only managed to survive, but also to thrive and conquer.” He described the tone of the movie, which will focus on the last few months of Henry VIII’s life, as less of a “period” film and more so a psychological horror political thriller, “a potboiler set in superstitious, blood-soaked Tudor England, steeped in the everyday horrors of the court and the reality of surviving a tyrant.”

This movie comes as Henry VIII and his six wives continue to gain traction in popular culture thanks to the musical, Six, which opened on Broadway in February 2020 and recently returned last month. Of course, that show, which takes the form of a pop concert, is more lighthearted than Aïnouz’s upcoming film.