Transcript: Henry Cavill Tudors Profile 2007

“The Tudors is about King Henry the 8th and his court, the young King Henry the 8th and his court. Rather than the popular image of the fat and very, very ill Henry the 8th which one often sees in portraits, it’s focusing on the younger version of him. His friends, his court and the beginning of what we know as Henry the 8th. It’s following that original journey.”

“My character is Charles Brandon. He is a confidant of the King, best friend. They grew up together due to the fact King Henry’s father and Charles Brandon’s father were also close. Charles Brandon’s father was King Henry’s father standard bearer at the Battle of Bosworth. King Henry and Charles grew up together so they’re very close friends. Even though Charles had no official title. He was a mister. Which is how Charles Brandon starts in the story – he starts as Mister Brandon. They are very very close, he’s the only person who can actually effectively compete with Henry and beat him. With no fair repercussion.”

Marrying a Princess

“He really can’t keep his dick in his pants. He just β€” excuse me. He loves women, he chases them all over the place. As one of the lines go β€”one of Margaret’s fantastic lines β€” he can love for a year, a month, a day, an hour and then that’s it. You’ll love fantastically for that period of time and then you’ll move on.”

“Charles has pushed it too far. Normally he had pretty much free reign wherever he went in court. He could say whatever he wanted to whomever he wanted because he was King Henry’s best mate. No one could touch him. But with Margaret, he just went too far. Because he marries Margaret without asking Henry, which is the most important thing. He marries into the royal family without asking Henry and also had potential for causing a political disaster.”

Competing with a King

“Young, vibrant, athletic, fit. He really was this man of incredible power. What the image of what a king would be. Charles and him are very similar. Played sport all the time, hunting, jousting. A great camaraderie. Sort of like a rugby team or something. You’re always competing with each other. But it’s on a far more deadly scale when it comes to jousting, for example. Which was a blood sport. You could quite easily die – charging each other on enormous horses with huge amounts of armor on and a great big stick in your hand. You really have to be careful because you don’t want to knock the king off. You’re threatening the royal line. You’re basically making a personal attack on the king. So everyone deliberately lost to him.”

Royal Tennis

“It’s quite a fun game, actually. When the tutor came up to train us, it was interesting – it’s like a cross between squash and tennis. And it’s a fantastic sport. You’re playing off the walls and everything. And the whole point is instead of playing tennis where you’re supposed to get it past someone, the whole point is to play it so it bounces on the ground, then off the back wall and then as close as possible to the back wall and then that’s a point. And you have to – they can only get a point if they beat that mark close to the wall or something. It’s quite complicated to begin with but a very fun sport. It’s not about power at all, it’s about control and spin, lots and lots of backspin on every shot.”

A King’s Best Friend

“You couldn’t ask for a better place to be the best friend of a king. Because you haven’t got the responsibility of the King and you’re untouchable. And people always want to get into your favor. To oust other people out of court because you’ve got the kings ear.”

Tatler Magazine, UK (2007)

Codpiece of the action
Hot young thesp Henry Cavill makes a helluva nude Tudor

“The fun thing about playing a duke was that I got to act arrogant,” announces Henry Cavill. He is talking about his part as Charles Brandon, the 1st Duke of Suffolk, in the much-awaited TV romp The Tudors. The show is a hit in America, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers portraying Henry VIII as a medieval Hugh Hefner. “Yup, it is pretty steamy,” says Cavill, who has to whip his clothes off to bonk Princess Margaret (Henry VIII’s sister, not Linley’s mum, silly), played by the sultry Gabrielle Anwar. “It was the most graphic sex scene I have ever done. I was fully naked with my back to the camera, bum and everything, although we did wear modesty pouches.”

The fine-featured Cavill – a fresh-faced, straight Rupert Everett – is no stranger to sex scenes with older women. At 18, just out of Stowe, he played Roman Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner’s teenage love interest in Laguna: “I was so nervous as she was much older than me. But I’ve always fancied older women rather than women my own age.”

At 24, Cavill is already very much a man of the world – so much so that Casino Royale director Martin Campbell was keen for him to play Bond. In the end he was too young and lost out to Daniel Craig. He didn’t, however, lose out on modelling contracts – he recently finished shooting ads for the new Dunhill fragrance. Any ‘Blue Steel’ or ‘Magnum’ poses? “God, I hope not,” he says, laughing. So how did he get into acting? “I was in the right place at the right time. I’d always enjoyed acting at school and a casting group came to Stowe to look for an actor to play Albert Mondego in The Count of Monte Cristo. I got the part.” He was 17 and hasn’t looked back since.

Next up is Joel Schumacher’s Town Creek, about a Third Reich cult, and then it’s a small part in Matthew Vaughn’s fantasy-adventure flick Stardust. “My character is unpleasant,” he says. “He has floppy hair and a moustache and is so arrogant it borders on ridiculous.” For the moment, he is in Dublin filming the second series of The Tudors, which he tells me is focused more on the political and internal workings of the court than the sexual antics. Politics – bah. Let’s hope he gets his kit off again or his female fans will be most disappointed. Ticky Hedley-Dent.