Just finished watching the complete Showtime series "The Tudors". I very much enjoyed the show. One of my complaints is the actor whom played Henry VIII.

I am not discrediting the young man's abilities as an actor. The main problem is that he does not resemble King Henry VIII at all.

Does anybody have a source or know why that actor was cast for this role?

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    Mostly because people enjoy watching "pretty" people better. A Henry VIII -ish actor would have discouraged viewership.
    – wbogacz
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:03
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    @wbogacz is correct. The show contains an abundance of sex and nudity. Viewers would be discouraged from watching the show if Henry was portrayed in an exact likeness. John Rhys-Meyers did a great job, even if he does not physically resemble King Henry....which is a compliment to the actor :) Aug 24, 2015 at 23:55
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    @wbogacz - Young Henry VIII was described by his contemporaries as a very handsome man. It wasn't until later that he became the fat king most people know from his portraits Aug 25, 2015 at 0:01
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    @SystemDown while young Henry was described by his contemporaries as handsome in his youth, there is still little to no resemblance to John Rhys-Meyers, even in Henry's youth. Aug 25, 2015 at 0:21
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    @SystemDown - Prince, then King - who would dare to NOT call him handsome?
    – wbogacz
    Aug 25, 2015 at 0:24

1 Answer 1


Creator Michael Hirst explains his choice to cast Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Henry VIII.

We felt that Johnny captured the essence of Henry. He portrays Henry in a way that shows him as a man while also displaying a regal quality. Which of course you need to portray Henry VIII.

Actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers on his role as Henry VIII:

I understand that I do not look like Henry, but I have completely immersed myself into this character. I hope my hard work will show through my performance and that people will overlook the physical differences between Henry and myself.

I own the box set of "The Tudors" which includes bonus features. The above quotes are from interviews conducted with the show creator Michael Hirst and actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

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