And then the head of Showtime, the company who were financing it, had just made a TV movie about Elvis Presley with Johnny and they suggested him for the part of Henry.
The casting was perfect, because straight away he plays around with expectations we have of Henry VIII, and you are not immediately confronted with this fat, bearded guy – he is a young, virile, passionate young man.
So obviously I had to write it in such a way that these characters didn’t seem like museum pieces, doing things that had no relation to our lives.
I wanted to make the issues contemporary and understandable. I think that sometimes I get criticised by people who didn’t even know the history themselves!
So I could play to Johnny’s temperament, for example Johnny has a short attention span, he has a kind of nerviness, and a sense of dangerousness.