As most fans of the Tudors already know by now, Jonathan Rhys Meyers will not be donning the fat suit to play Henry VIII in his more portly years. I don’t think this comes as much of a surprise. The Tudors creators have stuck with their original intentions of showing a sexy and glamorous Henry VIII. At the same time, I can’t help but be disappointed and have created this slightly chubbier depiction of Meyers in hopes of visualizing what he might have looked like.
I was really looking forward to seeing the talented Meyers stretch beyond eye candy this time especially after he had brilliantly portrayed Elvis, but again chose to depict him sexy and thin to the end (ironically….another king turned fat). I guess the producers were afraid that no one wanted to watch a fat Meyers, but I personally will find Meyer’s Adonis-like "appealing" physique distracting. Now, when he flashes his foreboding glares, it will come off as more of a sexy, harlequin romance, “I am going to ravage you” stare than the far more intimidating “I am going to chop of your head because I am so fat and uncomfortable.”
I could be wrong, but I suspect that fans of The Tudors care more about a dramatic portrayal of real events than what Myers is hiding in his codpiece. Sure, Myers might not have pulled off the sex appeal in a fat suit, but Henry VIII’s weight is a key component in showing his more irascible and mercurial nature. A thin Henry is not just exercising a little Hollywood creative freedom. It is completely untrue.
How will they portray the meeting of Henry and Anne of Cleves? Henry’s lack of sex appeal and burgeoning weight is a crucial element in portraying the couples’ botched first meeting. How can you tell Kathryn Howard’s story without the dramatic visual contrast of a nubile, and somewhat naïve girl thrown into the bed of a grotesquely overweight, aged man with the fetid smells of puss oozing from his leg? And how will they portray Katherine Parr’s more maternal role of nurse to her overweight, sickly husband? Will we see a virile king rolling in bed with his wife, when in reality he was too fat to even mount a horse or move from room to room without the help of a chair? Isn't half the fun of historical drama watching real people (warts and all) overcoming real obstacles? The decision to keep Meyers thin makes a mockery out of Henry’s story and assumes viewers care more for histrionics than history.
Yes, I will still watch, if anything, out of a morbid curiosity to see how events will be distorted. I just wish the producers had chosen to distort Meyer’s waistline instead of the truth.