The White Princess, is based off Philippa Gregory’s 2013 novel of the same name. HollywoodLife.com spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the two leads of TV’s hottest new show at Starz and Refinery29’s exclusive screening event on April 5. Jacob Collins-Levy and Jodie Comer, 24, are taking on the roles of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, the parents of King Henry VIII. While their marriage was arranged to unite the warring houses of York and Lancaster, Lizzie and Henry eventually fall in love with each other. Jacob and Jodie take us inside Henry and Lizzie’s heads and tease what’s to come in the 8-episode series.
Lizzie & Henry’s relationship doesn’t start out in the best way. How are they going to evolve over the course of the season?
Jodie: In history, they were known as one if not the only kind of loving couple. That’s definitely something the series explores, which I think fans are really keen to see. It’s not smooth sailing, which I think makes it more interesting. You see such a progress of their relationship.
Jacob: It’s an arranged marriage, and there can’t not be tension. She’s forced into it. To some degree, he’s forced into it as well. It is to secure a dynasty, a reign, a monarchy. They both realize that they’re more similar than they perhaps thought they would be at the start of the show. We see their relationship grow, we see that they do end up falling very deeply in love with each other as a result of the way they compliment each other. There are certain things that she sees in him and he sees in her that allow them to finally come together and have a very deep love for each other.
How far is Lizzie willing to go to get what she wants?
Jodie: She gets her ambition from her mother. Her mother was known for going to any lengths to protect her children. Lizzie definitely has that quality. When she has her children, I think that changes everything for Lizzie. She’ll go to any lengths to protect what’s hers.
How is Lizzie different from her mother, a.k.a. The White Queen?
Jodie: Lizzie is a little more sensitive. I think her mom is a lot more ruthless than she is. In the series, you’ll see her mother is plotting and scheming and Lizzie questions her mom’s morals. She’s very caring and known for being very kind. She’s just a lot softer.
What stood out to you the most about playing Lizzie?
Jodie: I think it was the scripts. I think the scripts really speak for themselves. I think to read these words from a woman’s perspective, which I don’t think has ever been done before, I think it’s such a unique show. To lead a show with so many powerful female characters, and they don’t come along that often, so when they do you just have to treasure them so much. Lizzie goes on such a journey. She starts off in her late teens kind of defiant and maybe naive. At the end of the series, she’s the queen of England and she’s the person that people are going to for answers. It was really fascinating to develop her.
Everyone knows Henry VIII, but a lot people seem to forget about his father. How do they compare?
Jacob: First of all, he appears to be strictly monogamous. He really loved Lizzie. He loved Elizabeth of York. If you compare that to Henry VIII, it’s a different story altogether. They are different in many respects. Henry VIII was a more athletic, more romantic king. Henry VII didn’t come from the same kind of privileged background. He was an earl, but he was raised in exile, whereas Henry VIII was brought up in court as an heir to the throne at a certain point. He wasn’t always the heir, though. So we have someone who was brought up and groomed for kingship with the knowledge that he might become king and someone who was groomed for kingship with a very outside chance that he would actually become king. The way that they’re similar is that they’re both very paranoid people.
The series picks up right after Henry defeated Richard III, the man Lizzie was in love with, in the War of the Roses in 1487. His marriage to Lizzie creates the famous Tudor dynasty that would eventually give us King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. The White Princess also stars Michelle Fairley, 52, Essie Davis, 46, Suki Waterhouse, 25, and Vincent Regan, 51. The show will air Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.
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