Monday, September 1, 2008
Showtime's Henry VIII won't get fat
I enjoyed the first two seasons of The Tudors, willing to overlook the various historical inaccuracies. However, I'm dismayed by reports that the producers have no intention of making Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, who admittedly has always been a somewhat eccentric choice for the lead role, appear to gain weight during the third season. The 2009 installments will presumably cover the period during which Henry VIII (who ceased exercising after a jousting accident in 1536 when he was 45, an event depicted in the second season) achieved his famous girth. Unlike all the other historical details that have been altered so far, most of which are only bothersome to history buffs, the aging king's obesity is a central feature of Henry's place in the popular imagination, and to keep him slim throughout his later marriages would seem to stretch suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. One wonders how viewers are supposed to feel particularly sorry for Catherine Howard if her husband (who was more than twice her age and overweight by the time he married her in 1540) still looks like a 31-year-old model and movie star.