Rylance ‘to play Tudor minister’

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Acclaimed Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance is in talks to take on the lead role in the BBC’s adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s best-selling novels about Thomas Cromwell.

Rylance, a former artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s South Bank, is expected to play King Henry VIII’s adviser in the BBC2 versions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

They are being adapted by Peter Straughan who wrote the critically-lauded film version of spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

The six-part series follows Cromwell’s rise and fall in the Tudor court.

Mantel has admitted the success of the books, which are also being adapted for the stage by the Royal Shakespeare Company, has become “a phenomenon”.