When it was first announced that she would be portraying former Queen of England, Anne Boleyn, the actress became the subject of intense racist backlash. In 2020, Smith was cast as the famed royal in Anne Boleyn, a three-part thriller miniseries for UK network Channel 5.
In an interview for Glamour U.K., Smith addressed the racist backlash, stating she was aware she would face it once her casting was announced.
“I did know it would be something that people felt very passionately about, either in a positive or a negative way, because Anne is a human in history who people feel very strongly about,” she continued. “More than anything, I wanted to tell the human story at the centre of all of this.”
Smith revealed that her experience with motherhood informed her decision to take on the role of Anne Boleyn.
“To have the experience of working with people that have so much compassion for where I was in my journey as a mother as we were telling the story about a mother, I feel there was just so much more compassion in the storytelling,” she continued.
Anne Boleyn chronicles the events that transpire in the final months of the titular historical figure’s life up to her execution in 1536.
Aside from Smith, Anne Boleyn also stars Mark Stanley, Paapa Essiedu, Anna Brewster, Lola Petticrew, and Jamael Westman. The series was written by Eve Hedderwick Turner and directed by Lynsey Miller. Aside from Anne Boleyn, Smith could be also seen starring alongside Michael B. Jordan in the Tom Clancy action thriller Without Remorse and the upcoming science-fiction drama After Yang.