Jude Law took Method’s acting to the next sensory level.
The ‘Firebrand’ star, who plays King Henry VIII at the end of the royal’s life, revealed during the Cannes press conference that he commissioned a custom ‘terrible’ fragrance to get into character. Law had no problem smelling like “cat blood, fecal matter and sweat” alongside co-star Alicia Vikander, who plays Queen Katherine Parr, in Karim Aïnouz’ period film.
“I’ve read these several interesting reports that during this time Henry could be smelled three rooms away because his leg was so rotten. He covered it up with rose oil,” Law told the press (watch a clip courtesy of Variety below). “So I thought it would have a big impact if I smelled terrible. I went to this brilliant perfumer. It makes wonderful scents. But it also makes awful perfumes. And somehow she managed to come up with this amazing variety of puss, blood, fecal matter and sweat.
Law continued, “I used it very subtly at first. I just thought I would use it myself and it would make an impact. When (director) Karim got hold of it, it became a spray fest.
Co-star Vikander added that the camera operator also started to feel nauseous from the scent on set.
Director Aïnouz recalled: “The smell was incredible. It really triggered a lot. When he got on set, it was just (terrible). But it was wonderful to use it. We had a little box with all these perfumes that started traveling.”
IndieWire critic David Ehrlich applauded the period piece for feeling “instantly raw and lived in”, due in part to Law and Vikander’s respective performances.
“As infuriating as it is that Law surely returned to his natural beauty as soon as filming wrapped (a superpower that continues to allow him his exquisite second life as a character actor), the feeling of a god trapped in the body of a monster serves menacing power of an unstable character whose terrible strength is masked by his physical weakness,” Ehrlich wrote. , the story is largely dictated by Henry’s gushing leg wound, while Katherine’s dream of spreading an English-language Bible that ordinary people might actually be able to read – a dream so dear to her that she is willing to to risk his life for it – he fades into an afterthought.