Starz’s new drama ‘The White Princess’ is a sequel to the 2013 miniseries ‘The White Queen.’ HollywoodLife.com talked EXCLUSIVELY with showrunner Emma Frost about how ‘The White Princess’ compares to the previous series, the changes from Philippa Gregory’s novel, and more!
The White Princess, premiering April 16, follows the story of Elizabeth of York (Jodie Comer) and King Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy). Their marriage unites England, but the bad blood between them and their families threatens to rip the kingdom apart. This terrific show is full of suspense and scheming as everyone tries to get their hands on more power. The White Princess is female-centric and the strong women of this show are the real power players who make it all happen. HollywoodLife.com chatted EXCLUSIVELY with showrunner/EP/writer Emma Frost about the series:
How will The White Princess be different from The White Queen?
Emma Frost: Hopefully, they are essentially of the same stable in terms of their female-driven stories in history. We continue the actual narrative from The White Queen, so with The White Princess, we pick up only 3 days after The White Queen ended with the Battle of Bosworth and King Henry has come to the throne. We have a different cast, which is largely due to the fact that everyone in The White Queen is dead because we killed them on the screen. I think with The White Queen I used 3 of Philippa Gregory’s novels, and I think The White Queen is much more about events. It’s much more this happened and then this happened. The White Princess goes much deeper into the psychology and into the emotions. As a sort of shorthand, The White Queen is almost like a period 24, and The White Princess is like a period The West Wing. It’s about the politics, the machinations, the manipulations.
Are there going to be big changes from book to screen?
Emma Frost: I think that would depend on the individual person watching it whether they think it’s big or small. Philippa writes her books from a single first-person point of view, so The White Princess is written in the voice of Lizzie. We’re inside Lizzie’s head. Much of the book is what she thinks, what she feels, and for a TV show, you can’t know what’s inside the character’s head. So by definition, my job is to find a way to externalize that. In doing that, change occurs, because it’s no longer Lizzie thinking things for a chapter. Instead, I have to have scenes of people in conflict and talking to each other and doing various things. There are changes in that regard. There are a couple of other changes to do with my own filter of what I believe makes the best TV show, especially for a 21st century audience and female 21st century audience. I’d say there’s 2 or 3 changes, but again, I hope that means people who read and love the book also have some surprises in the show and there’s some freshness, too.
What stood out to you the most about Jodie Comer? What made you want to cast her as Elizabeth of York?
Emma Frost: Honestly, Jodie was a no-brainer. I knew her work. She was already a huge rising star in the UK. She’d broken out with Doctor Foster, and she’d just done the BBC drama Thirteen and played the lead and carried the lead phenomenally for somebody so young. I think we saw Jodie the first day and just went, “Please don’t go anywhere. Please, stay and play Lizzie.” Lizzie has an innate sense of entitlement as a royal. She was born royal. She knows who she is, and she’s not making any apology for it. Jodie embodies that in an incredible way because she was becoming real acting royalty in the UK. She sort of had that in herself before we began. For Jacob, it was the opposite story. We saw about 300 tapes. We could not cast the part. It was so hard to find an actor because he’s quite unlikable in the beginning, and yet we needed an actor who people would see beyond that and would love him and see the damage. With Jacob, he was working in a warehouse in Melbourne and we stuck him on plane and said, “You’re either coming for 5 days or 5 months. We don’t quite know which one it is yet.” He turned up in England and when we turned around and told him he’d gotten the part, he suddenly went, “Sh*t, I’m in a country I don’t know and they told me I’ve got to be a king.” That’s exactly what happened to Henry Tudor. He was this outsider who didn’t know England who was suddenly the king. So Jacob was able to draw on all those real emotions to play Henry.
The White Princess is the perfect show if you’re looking for a huge dose of girl power and missing Game of Thrones. The 8-episode series is a must-watch this spring. Not only are the costumes exquisite, but the story and performances are equally incredible. The White Princess airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.
HollywoodLifers, are you going to watch The White Princess? Let us know!