Jonathan Rhys Meyers: ‘I’m Glad to Say Goodbye’ to Tudors
Jonathan Rhys Meyers returns as Henry VIII in the final season of Showtime’s The Tudors. The darkly handsome Irish actor has made the 16th century royal a sexy, as well as powerful, ruler.
By Jeanne Wolf
Parade, April 6, 2010
Jonathan Rhys Meyers returns as Henry VIII in the final season of Showtime’s The Tudors. The handsome Irish actor has made the 16th century royal a sexy, as well as powerful, ruler.
Parade.com’s Jeanne Wolf found out how Rhys Meyers feels about leaving the throne.
Ready for the end.
“I’m glad to say goodbye. It’s nice to say goodbye to things. Its funny, I made a movie with Anthony Hopkins 10 years ago and he said one of his favorite parts of making films was going on to the next thing. It’s like the death of one thing but the beginning of another. I had the best time doing the series and Henry was one of the best parts I’ve ever played. And in this final season he becomes an older man which was a bit more challenging because it took some prosthetic make-up.”
His review of the king.
“I think he makes great television, but in the final analysis, he was not a great monarch. He was wracked with ego, vanity and thoughts of his own divinity. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, so he was very corrupt. I have a degree of admiration for him, but not much. Basically, he was a bastard, but an interesting and attractive bastard.”
Speaking of attractive.
“He was a lot heavier and taller than I am, but so what? I think I’d have been stupid to put on a fat suit and I wasn’t about to gain a lot weight. But I think Henry was better looking than he was portrayed in the classic portrait by Hans Holbein. I think he would have hated it. It may be great art, but it’s not a good picture. I’ve seen fat, ugly pictures of Brad Pitt because some paparazzi got him from a bad angle on a bad morning. So how would he feel if that were the sole image of him that would be seen by future generations? He’d be going, ‘What the hell? I was a great looking guy.’”
Love among the royals.
“It certainly has been a driving force in the series, but I don’t think they thought of love in the same way as we think of it today with all the romantic overtones. We put so much emphasis on finding the right person. It’s like, ‘If you don’t get this guy or if you don’t get this girl, you’re not cool, you’re a loser.’ In Henry’s time it was, ‘If you don’t have this kingdom and if you don’t have that castle, who cares about the girl?’”
But they didn’t skip the sex.
“Some people think we’ve overdone it, but they were much more sexually gregarious in the 15th century than we are today. Sex was very, very important. It’s what you did when the sun went down. So we couldn’t leave out the scenes of passion.”
As for getting passionate on the set.
“Actually, it’s not unpleasant to get it on with beautiful actresses and you don’t have any nasty repercussions afterward. To make it work, you have to experience a little sexual chemistry. But it can be a bit taxing when you’re doing sex scenes in front of a crew of like a hundred people under hot lights with cameras poking into all sorts of private areas.”
Go ahead and call him a hot hunk.
“I’d rather people think I’m sexy than not. Let’s be honest. Physicality is going to have a bearing on the parts you get. And if you think differently, you’re in the wrong business.”
Henry might have loved the Internet.
“We live in a very, very fast world, and Henry’s court at the time was the fastest in the world. If you weren’t in Henry’s court you were nobody. Everything revolved around him. It was the be all and end all. It was the place to be. It was the Mecca of learning. It was the Mecca of style. It was the Mecca of fashion. It was the Mecca of entertainment. That’s why he was kind of like the rock star of his time.”