Alicia Vikander, Jude Law on How ‘Firebrand’ Works to “Steal Back the Narrative” From Henry VIII to Katherine Parr

Alicia Vikander and Jude Law came out to Tribeca Festival on Tuesday night for the premiere of their upcoming film, Firebrand.

The new take on Henry VIII’s life and his six wives focuses on his final spouse, Katherine Parr, who is named regent while the king battles abroad. When he returns ill and paranoid, and his court works to turn him against Katherine, she finds herself fighting for her survival.

More from The Hollywood Reporter

Law, who portrays the notorious king in Karim Aïnouz’s film, was particularly interested in looking at the “decaying, regretful disintegration of this once, once great man,” who went down a very dark path.

“Then also the very simple fact that [Aïnouz] shifted the focus onto Katherine,” the Oscar-nominated actor told The Hollywood Reporter. “So, Henry was a player in a story about a great woman. He’s dominated the narrative of these six women for 500 years, and it was trying to steal back the narrative a little bit and have him be a supporting role to his wife’s story.”

Vikander, taking on the role of Katherine, revealed that she was embarrassed to admit she didn’t know more about the final wife of the king besides just that.

“She was actually one of the first women to ever be published under her own name,” The Danish Girl Oscar winner told THR. “She was obviously a survivor of Henry VIII, and she outlived him. She was a woman that I just felt it’s important that we tell her story.”

Firebrand reunited Law and Vikander for the first time since they worked together on Anna Karenina, which was the Swedish actress’ first English-language film. They looked back on their time on both sets fondly, with the Tomb Raider star sharing that the Fantastic Beasts actor “gave me confidence” on the 2012 film.

“We got along very well then,” Law said of his working relationship with his co-star. “We struck a chord really quickly, and I think we both felt very safe very, very quickly. And we both had a desire to push the boundaries [with Firebrand], feel safe and really get something out of this. She was a really great partner to work with.”

Aïnouz explained that he was passionate about the film because he felt like there were so many films about the king and the wives that he killed or exiled but almost none about his wife who survived. So, he thought it was important to celebrate Katherine and who she was outside of Henry’s spouse, like an “incredible writer” and “incredible stateswoman.”

The Brazilian director also noted he loved the fact that both characters were so strong and “bigger than life,” which he found exciting. He was especially proud of how the two actors took on the roles of his Katherine and Henry.

“It was a dream,” Aïnouz told THR. “I think that there was something about the way that Alicia brings mystery to this character that I think is so important. [Katherine Parr was] always navigating a way to sort of be alive. And I think with Jude, there was something very warm. It’s very interesting to have an actor play a guy that was such a villain but still bring warmth and complexity to it.”

Firebrand hits theaters June 14.

Best of The Hollywood Reporter