Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Emily Watson, Florence Pugh, Jim Broadbent, Andrew Scott, John Macmillan, Jim Carter, Christopher Eccleston, Tobias Menzies, Anthony Calf and Karl Johnson
Production Company: Playground Entertainment, Amazon Studios and BBC
Kent Locations Used: Dover
King Lear is a modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name. The film tells the tragic story of King Lear (Anthony Hopkins) who abdicates his throne in favour of his two corrupt daughters Regan (Emily Watson) and Goneril (Emma Thompson), rejecting his loving and honest third daughter Cordelia (Florence Pugh) when she fails his test of flattery.
Director, Richard Eyre, has previously worked on films Notes on a Scandal, Iris, and Stage Beauty. Anthony Hopkins who plays King Lear, is best known for his role in The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hitchcock. Emma Thompson as eldest daughter Goneril, was previously in Love Actually and The Remains of the Day.
The Hollow Crown returns to BBC Two with a second series, The Wars of the Roses that include adaptations of three more historic plays by Shakespeare – Henry VI Part 1 & 2 and Richard III. The series is part of the BBC’s Shakespeare Season commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes, The Imitation Game) stars as Richard III and Tom Sturridge (The Boat That Rocked, Far from the Madding Crowd) plays Henry VI.
The supporting cast includes a wealth of talented actors, including Judi Dench (Philomena, Skyfall), Jeremy Irons (Eragon, The Lion King), Keeley Hawes (Doctor Who, Upstairs Downstairs), Sophie Okonedo (Doctor Who, Criminal Justice), John Mackay (Doc Martin, Casualty), Stanley Townsend (Cars, Ripper Street) and Ben Daniels (Locke, Madaline).
The second series of The Hollow Crown filmed in Kent where Leeds Castle‘s Barbican and moat to depict scenes at the Tower of London, Penshurst Placedoubled as the exterior of the Palace of Westminster’s Great Gates and Dover Castle features as The Tower of London as well as Anjou’s Palaceand Joan’s Chambers in Rouen in Part 1 and a French Prison and St Alban’s Chapel and Market Place in Part 2.
Rich in history, Leeds Castle is set in 500 acres of beautiful parkland and formal gardens. The castle has opened its doors to a number of film productions over the years including Gadget Man(2014), Henry VIII(2003) and Lady Jane(1987).
Dover Castle is one of the most iconic of all the English fortresses, guarding the gateway to the realm for nine centuries. With its beautiful medieval interior, secret wartime tunnels and set overlooking the English Channel, Dover Castle is a popular film location having previously welcomed productions such as Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Into the Woods(2015) and To Kill a King(2003).
Henry VIII is a BBC television film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s original play which provides a dramatized account of the events surrounding the divorce of Henry VIII from his first wife, Katherine of Aragon.
Originally broadcast in February 1979; the film was produced as part of BBC Shakespeare (1978-85), a series of Shakespeare plays adapted for television.
The film was directed by Kevin Billington (Outside Edge, The Good Soldier) with John Stride (Macbeth, The Omen) playing Henry VIII alongside Timothy West (Crime and Punishment, Eastenders), Ronald Pickup (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Chronicles of Narnia), Claire Bloom (The King’s Speech, Clash of the Titans), Julian Glover (For Your Eyes Only, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Jeremy Kemp (Z-Cars, Space: 1999) and Peter Vaughan (Porridge, Game of Thrones).
Leeds Castle doubles as Henry VIII’s palace. Both interiors and exteriors are used to create a sense of real grandeur.
Penshurst Place was used for a number of scenes, including Katherine of Aragon’s residence, a council chamber at Westminster. Baron’s Hall was used as a hall in Blackfriars when it announced that Henry and Katherine shall split. One of the halls is used to double as a room in York Place where Cardinal Wolsey holds a ball; this is where Henry VIII and Anne Bullen first meet.
The timber-clad section of Hever Castle is used to double as streets in Westminster where two gentlemen meet to discuss the royal divorce.