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Mark Rylance for TV's Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies

Mark Rylance

Story by Jack Foley

MARK Rylance is to play Thomas Cromwell in a TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.

Official confirmation on his involvement is due next week but the BBC is reporting that Rylance has found time to take on the challenge having initially turned down the role due to scheduling conflicts.

The six part series has been adapted by Peter Straughan for BBC2 and will bring to life Mantel’s Booker-winning novels, following Cromwell’s rise in the Tudor court as Henry VIII’s adviser through to his eventual downfall.

Straughan, co-author of the 2011 film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is working with Mantel, who is a consultant on the screenplay.

Wolf Hall, Mantel’s 12th book, won the Booker prize in 2009 and became a world-wide bestseller, while its follow-up last year, Bring Up The Bodies, saw the author became the first woman to win the Booker twice.

She is currently writing the third instalment in her Cromwell trilogy, to be entitled Mirror And The Light.

Rylance, who is widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest actors, is currently rehearsing a new play, Nice Fish, at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, before returning to London in September to direct Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in Much Ado About Nothing at The Old Vic.

Ironically, a stage adaptation of Mantel’s books by the Royal Shakespeare Company is also under way and is expected to premiere at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in December.

As yet, there is no air date for the BBC2 adaptation.

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