Let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings
Photo and extracts from Saturday 16th June 2012 Daily Telegraph, by Serena Davies
“We’re in Gloucester Cathedral in January, and it is freezing. Jeremy Irons has admitted to wearing long johns and Tom Hiddleston has been piling the layers on too, but mainly on his top half “‘because otherwise it’s a mission to go to the loo.’”
“Sporting the cloak and furs over those thermals, as well as a thorny beard, Irons is playing the King in a rage, tearing strips off Hiddleston, humble and ashamed as Henry IV’s errant son, Prince Hal.
Eyre allows Irons to do his whole speech for each take, so the actor can reach a sufficient state of fury. And when Irons can’t remember the words he fills the air with expletives - “Don’t you f—- interrupt me” - to keep up the mood.”
“The films should also secure the reputation of Hiddleston, who has the largest part as both Hal and then Henry V and so appears in three of the four plays… He is arguably the most talented classical performer to emerge since Ben Whishaw made his name overnight with Hamlet aged just 23 in 2004.
Hiddleston is earnest and charming when we speak on a filming break beneath one of Gloucester’s forbidding Norman arches. He says he has most of the top Shakespeare parts “on the dance card”, but Hal/Henry has always been up there. “‘In my first year at Rada I read all the history plays, one every Sunday, just to educate myself. I remember thinking the journey of Prince Hal to Henry V is one of the great parts for an actor.’”
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot;
Follow your spirit: and upon this charge,
Cry — God for Harry! England and Saint George!