“Casting the Story”, by Adrienne Dillard

Queenanneboley.com’s Anne Boleyn, Lydia Leonard


Today Queenanneboleyn.com is delighted to host Adrienne Dillard, author of the fantastic Tudor Era novels The Raven’s Widow: A Novel of Jane Boleyn and Cor Rotto: A Novel of Catherine Carey. 

Let’s admit it. We all have imagined who we would cast in our own “Tudor Historical Movie”. Today, Adrienne shares who she would cast if her novels are ever brought to the big screen. Although Queenannebolen’s chosen actress for Anne is the amazing Lydia Leonard, I am loving Adrienne’s choice, too. Brilliant!

After reading Adrienne’s fun article, do check out the wonderful prizes being offered by Adrienne and MadeGlobal Publishing. Be sure to enter for your chance to win!



by Adrienne Dillard


“Ooh! So…if your book was turned into a movie, who would you want cast in the roles?” This question inevitably gets asked of every novelist at one time or another and it’s not surprising, really. Hollywood has churned out one blockbuster after another. Producers have gotten their hands on everything from The DaVinci Code to Twilight and turned literary prose into box office gold. So go ahead and ask us! I can guarantee you that, at least once, we’ve asked ourselves this very same question. Who wouldn’t want the world of their imagination brought to life on the big screen? Because I’m feeling a little self-indulgent, I’m not even going to wait for you to ask. I’m just going to tell you! And to make it even more fun, I’m going to cast my first novel too!

Alicia Vikander

First things first, you have to choose the biggies: Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. This is always tricky because you can never completely satisfy the masses. Natalie Portman embodied the exotic sultriness of Anne, but her performance in The Other Boleyn Girl was universally panned. Natalie Dormer, on the other hand, filled the role with the fire required, but she, too, found her own detractors. And while her hair was the requisite chestnut color, she kept her own natural blue eyes. Gorgeous as they are, the real Anne was known for her dark eyes. The actress should be one who can fulfill the physical requirements, yet still portray Anne with a delicate touch; someone who can recreate the frail stoicism shown by the one woman universally beloved in the role, Genevieve Bujold. After watching the movie adaption of best seller, The Light Between Oceans, I’m convinced that star, Alicia Vikander, would be the perfect choice.

Russell Crowe

Casting the king is much harder, of course. As much as I love Damien Lewis, even his perfect ginger coloring couldn’t make up for the permanent sneer he wore throughout Wolf Hall. We must remember that Henry VIII wasn’t always a tyrant. During the time of his early courtship with Anne, he was still seen as the affable and gracious, golden prince. Not because he actually was affable and gracious, but because he successfully convinced people that he was. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers captured the frenetic youth of the monarch beautifully on the Tudors, but his dark hair and compact frame bore no resemblance to the real man. Even worse, he refused to wear the padding necessary to portray the king in his twilight years. There is no getting around it, Henry became obese. Keeping those things in mind, I think I would cast Russell Crowe in the titular role. Though he’s not quite tall enough, with the right shoes and camera angles, Crowe has the gravitas to pull it off. Additionally, Crowe is at the perfect age to pull off both a young Henry (For Raven’s Widow) and an older Henry (for Cor Rotto). I think he would be amenable to wearing the padding, too!

Jodie Wittaker

I thought long and hard over who I would want to play Catherine Carey Knollys. Having never been featured in a movie, I wondered who would perfectly play this woman so close to my heart. Cor Rotto takes place over the span of thirty years so two actresses would need to be cast in the role; a young lady to play Catherine when she first comes to court and then someone more mature to play her later years. A few months ago, I watched the BBC series Broadchurch and I fell in love with one of the leading ladies. Jodie Wittaker’s heart wrenching performance as the mother of a slain child was perfectly nuanced. I saw her fulfilling Catherine’s maternal side exactly as I imagined it. The younger version of Catherine was much harder to pin down. As an avid fan of the television show, Once Upon A Time, I’ve always been a fan of Bailee Madison and I think she would be amazing in the role. The bonus here is that Madison and Wittaker look similar enough to portray the same character at two different stages of life.

Arthur Darvill

My pick for Catherine’s adoring husband, Francis Knollys, comes from the same excellent television series as Jodie Wittaker. Arthur Darvill did a wonderful job as the conflicted Rev. Paul Coates on Broadchurch, but he’s probably best known for his portrayal of Doctor Who companion, Rory Williams. In the fifth season of the second incarnation of the long-running show, Rory stands guard while his wife, Amy Pond, is brought back to life in the Pandorica; a process that takes almost two millennia. If that isn’t Francis Knollys worthy, I don’t know what is. Throughout Darvill’s run on Doctor Who, he played the role of devoted husband to perfection. His ability to infuse his characters with such depth and emotion makes him one of my favorite actors.

Ben Barnes

The next big casting decision to make would be for my latest novel. Though George Boleyn had a bit part in Cor Rotto, mainly featuring in Catherine Carey’s memories, he has a big role in The Raven’s Widow. Most people probably associate the role with the actor who portrayed him in Showtime’s The Tudors, Pádraic Delaney; let’s just say it…he played vile very well. I, myself, am a bit more partial to the George brought to life by the amazing Jim Sturgess in the movie The Other Boleyn Girl. However, let’s just go ahead and admit that neither of their portrayals resembles the real George Boleyn in any way…shape or form. If I were to cast the role of George Boleyn, I would look to a land much further removed from Tudor England and take their prince: Narnia. Yes, I’ve adored Ben Barnes ever since he took up the mantle of Prince Caspian and I think he would be excellent as George.

Breeanna Judy

Finally, though I take great umbrage with the way Jane Boleyn has been portrayed on screen and between the pages, I’ll admit that the actresses portraying her have done a good job with what they were given. As much as I cringed at the shrewish Jane written by Hilary Mantel, I marveled at the way in which Jessica Raine brought her to life in Wolf Hall. I also loved the fact that she was portrayed with hair as dark as Claire Foy’s Anne Boleyn; usually Jane is portrayed with blonde hair. Joanne King did a wonderful job in her role as Jane on The Tudors, as well. I very much disagree with the grasping, deplorable portrait the writers tried to paint, but I think everyone’s heart broke during the scenes where Jane married George Boleyn, and later faced her ultimate end. Those haunting moments were effective because of the emotional range of the actress portraying her. Juno Temple portrayed Jane with a lot of sweetness in The Other Boleyn Girl, but she was given short shrift when her character faded into the background. That being said, The Raven’s Widow shows us a Jane Boleyn that no one has seen before. With that in mind, I would cast a fresh face in the role. Who is this exciting new starlet? None other than my good friend, Breeanna Judy. I’ve known Breeanna for many years and it’s been wonderful to see her career grow. I think she would be fabulous as Jane!

Well, there you have it…my picks for the roles if I were allowed to cast them! Who would you pick? Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Which past portrayal has been your favorite? I am looking forward to hearing your ideas!



Adrienne Dillard

Adrienne Dillard, author of  The Raven’s Widow: A Novel of Jane Boleyn is a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in History from Montana State University-Northern. She has been an eager student of history for most of her life and has completed in-depth research on the American Revolutionary War time period in American History and the history and sinking of the Titanic. Her senior university capstone paper was on the discrepancies in passenger lists on the ill-fated liner and Adrienne was able to work with Philip Hind of Encyclopedia Titanica for much of her research on that subject. Her previous works include best-selling novel, Cor Rotto: A Novel of Catherine Carey and Catherine Carey in a Nutshell for MadeGlobal’s “History in a Nutshell” series. When she isn’t writing, Adrienne works as an administrative assistant in the financial services industry and enjoys spending time with her husband, Kyle, and son, Logan, at their home in the Pacific Northwest.

Connect with Adrienne here: Website – Adrienne Dillard: Revealing the Hidden Figures of History Twitter: @ajdillard81




To Enter to Win, Click Here: —>>>> MadeGlobal Publishing



Adrienne Dillard and MadeGlobal Publishing are graciously offering a complimentary copy of The Raven’s Widow: A Novel of Jane Boleyn to one lucky QAB member or browser. If you are interested in being included in a drawing for a chance of winning this wonderful book, send the administrator a message via the website’s contact form. To complete the contact form, click here –> CONTACT US! We will draw a random winner on April 10, 2017. Good Luck!!!


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Beth von Staats

is the owner and administrator of QueenAnneBoleyn.com. Blogger of "The Tudor Thomases", Beth specializes in writing magazine articles, online historical articles, short stories, and flash fiction.

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