Five memorable portrayals of royalty on the big screen
Published on November 14, 2020 at 13.33
Helen Mirren in The Queen: This 2006 film about the the death of Princess Diana in 1997 won Mirren the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She garnered critical and popular acclaim for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in the Stephen Frears directed film and dedicated her Oscar to the real Queen of England, saluting her for her “courage and consistency.” She said, “I thank her because if it wasn’t for her I most certainly would not be here. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Queen!”
Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: Directed by Shekhar Kapur, Cate Blanchett shone in her powerful portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I during the early years of her reign as the monarch of England. “This well-done dramatic biography accurately depicts the great ruler's life, but it's not for the faint of heart,” wrote a reviewer of the 1998 film that won BAFTA awards for Best Actress and Best British Film. It also picked up an Oscar for Best Makeup at the 71st Academy Awards.
Shah Rukh Khan in Asoka: Santosh Sivan’s historical epic starring the Bollywood actor showcased the early life of Emperor Asoka (ca 304–233 B.C.) of the Maurya dynasty. Khan in 2016 called Asoka and Ra.One his “most beautiful journeys”. "I had loved doing Asoka. Given a chance, I want to make Asoka again. But this time, it will be much bigger and grander. Maybe with some great VFX work which has so far not been seen in Hindi cinema,” he said in 2017.
Damien Lewis in Wolf Hall: The Homeland star played volatile King Henry VIII in the six-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s best-selling novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Wolf Hall delves into the intrigue and power plays of the 16th court of the Tudor monarch, an era that continues to fascinate us even today. “Damian Lewis is so good as the capricious monarch that at times you want to slap some sense into him and remind him to stop being such a prima donna,” wrote a reviewer in the Independent newspaper.
Colin Firth in The King’s Speech: One of our favourite actors, Firth took on the role of the future King George VI in this 2010 film that depicted his struggle with a stammer ahead of his first wartime radio broadcast when Britain declared war on Germany in 1939. The film earned good reviews and was a hit on the awards circuit, winning Firth his first Oscar for Best Actor. It won four Oscars in total including one for Best Picture. Firth admitted he had “never read a royal biography” until he did this film.