Mark Rylance to play Thomas Cromwell in television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novels


After his recent stint as Richard III the actor Mark Rylance is to take on another major period of British history in a television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels.

Rylance will play the lead in screen versions of Wolf Hall and its follow-up Bring Up The Bodies, both of which won Mantel the Man Booker Prize.

The story follows Thomas Cromwell, an adviser to Henry VIII, in 1500s England.

It is being turned into a six-part series on BBC Two by Peter Straughan with Mantel working as a consultant on the screenplay.

Mantel is currently working on the third novel in her Cromwell trilogy, currently titled Mirror And The Light.

A stage adaptation of the two novels by the Royal Shakespeare Company is also underway scheduled to open at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon at Christmas.

Rylance, who gained worldwide recognition for his performance in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, is a former artistic director of the Globe Theatre. He recently returned to the theatre to appear in an all-male Richard III and as Olivia in Twelfth Night.

He is currently rehearsing a new play, Nice Fish, at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis and is due to direct Much Ado About Nothing at the Old Vic in September.

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