Jude Law embraced ‘stinky method’ for new movie about King Henry VIII

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Jude Law got very into character when filming his latest movie.

During a recent interview with People at the premiere of his upcoming movie, “Firebrand,” at the Tribeca Film Festival, Law went into detail about his decision to wear a perfume with the unsettling scent of blood and feces, calling it the “stinky method.”

In the movie, Law portrays Henry VIII in the final few months of his rule over England, and follows the conflicts between him and his wife, Katherine Parr, played by Alicia Vikander, during that time.

When speaking to People, he explained filmmaker Karim Aïnouz, “creates what [he] call[s] a 360-degree environment to acting,” which allows the actors to feel completely immersed in the “world” of the film. He went on to say “the scent was a big part of” that world-building, and that he wanted everything “to smell and feel real.”

Jude Law wearing a black shirt and gray suit

Law wore blood and feces scented perfume while filming his latest movie. (Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

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“I learned that Henry had this stench because of his rotten legs and I just thought it’d be an interesting addition for those around me who had to faun over him and do his every desire [while] also sort of holding back this retch,” he said.

Aside from Law’s smelly perfume, the set was kept authentic to the time period the movie is set in. The actor explained that they would leave the windows open, so the set would get “very cold, so we’d wrap up in our furs,” and there were “always animals present, which was true to the time.”

He initially spoke about his decision to wear the perfume in May 2023 at the Cannes Film Festival, saying he started out only wearing small doses of it, “but when Karim got ahold of it, it just became a spray-fest.”

In history, Henry VIII is known for having two of his six wives executed. Vikander portrays his sixth and final wife, who took control of England when Henry VIII was fighting abroad, only to be thanked by having the King’s court try to turn Henry against her when he returned.

“Then also the very simple fact that [Aïnouz] shifted the focus onto Katherine,” Law told The Hollywood Reporter in June. “So, Henry was a player in a story about a great woman. He’s dominated the narrative of these six women for 500 years, and it was trying to steal back the narrative a little bit and have him be a supporting role to his wife’s story.”

Vikander was also happy with the decision to focus primarily on Katherine, telling the outlet she learned a lot she didn’t previously know about her.

“She was actually one of the first women to ever be published under her own name,” she said. “She was obviously a survivor of Henry VIII, and she outlived him. She was a woman that I just felt it’s important that we tell her story.”

In an interview with Deadline in May 2023, Law admitted he wasn’t very interested with the royal family, and playing a former King of England did nothing to change his opinion. He told the outlet, “I see it like theater, though I’m slightly more obsessed by theater.”

Jude Law in a navy shirt at the Cannes Film Festival

Despite playing a former King of England, Law is not interested in following the current royal family. (Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

He added that while he finds that specific “chapter in history…intriguing,” he doesn’t follow the current royals.

“I’m not one for gossip. I don’t find any interest in it. I don’t like the teetle-taddle, but it’s remarkable looking at photos and how it relates to today,” he told Deadline.

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