The first trailer for Channel 5’s Anne Boleyn, starring Jodie Turner-Smith, has been released. The UK series will focus on the tragic English queen’s life and death in the guise of a “psychological thriller.” Deadline also reports that the series has been described as “convention-busting,” probably because of Turner-Smith being cast in a traditionally white role.
Turner-Smith isn’t the only actor of color in the project. Paapa Essiedu, Thalissa Tiexeira and Jamael Westman are also among the cast that includes Mark Stanley as King Henry, Amanda Burton and Barry Ward.
The decision to cast Turner-Smith as Boleyn created a stir on the internet, with Twitter users divided over how they felt about a Black actress playing a white historical figure. However, several arguments were made in favor of Turner-Smith playing Boleyn, saying that if white actors can play historical people of color in films and television, then the same can happen for Turner-Smith playing a white queen.
Turner-Smith has talked about what it means to her to play the ill-fated Tudor queen. As Shadow And Act reported previously, she told Elle Magazine that she was excited to tell a story about the humanity of Boleyn as a woman, not just as a queen.
“We can only infer who she was because she left no paper trail that would hint at her imagination,” she said. “She’s endlessly fascinating for that reason…[I want to] tell the story of the woman who sits at the center of the myth, and make that story an accessible one–one that’s not entirely about class, but about humanity.”
“Because whether a woman is a queen or a housekeeper, she is not exempt from any of the challenges and trials that women face in navigating their bodies, love or the patriarchy,” she continued. “There’s an opportunity to tell a really human story and for it to feel that much more accessible because a Black woman is playing her.”
Watch the trailer below: