The ruthless heart of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor series is Thomas Cromwell, who pulled the strings for a time in Henry VIII’s court. The BBC has found the actor to play that juicy role in a mini-series of 6 one-hour episodes based on Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (both Macmillan/Holt). Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance, according to The Daily Mail. He is familiar with the Tudor Court; he played another famous schemer of the period, Thomas Boleyn in the 2008 film of Phillipa Gregory’s book The Other Boleyn Girl (S&S/Scribner).
Unfortunately, this casting means production may be delayed a year, since Rylance has other commitments to complete, including an upcoming play, Nice Fish, at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.
Mantel is currently writing Mirror And The Light, the third book in the Tudor series (and fending off criticism for her misunderstood remarks about Kate Middleton).