Michelle Williams Cast as Henry VIII’s Sixth Wife in Karim Aïnouz’s ‘Firebrand’

Michelle Williams will play Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives, in Karim Aïnouz’s “Firebrand.”

The film marks the English-language debut of Karim Aïnouz, and goes into production in the U.K. in early 2022. The film is produced by Gabrielle Tana (“Philomena,” “The Dig”) of Magnolia Mae Films, and written by Henrietta and Jessica Ashworth (“Killing Eve”).

Aïnouz’s “Mariner of the Mountains” premieres in Cannes as a Special Screening on July 9.

“I could not be more excited to be bringing the undiscovered story of Katherine Parr to the screen, a ferociously brilliant woman who I am inspired by deeply and has been largely invisible, or certainly under-represented in English history,” said Aïnouz. “Much is known about Henry VIII’s tyrannical reign, and those who perished and suffered at his hands, but my focus here is on a woman who not only managed to survive, but also, to thrive. This is a reimagining of a ‘period’ film, a psychological horror film set in the Tudor court; a story of intrigue, agency and survival. Having Michelle Williams portray this remarkable woman, an actress of immeasurable talent and passion, is a dream come true.”

The director of photography is Hélène Louvart (“Invisible Life”), Oscar-nominated production designer Maria Djurkovic (“The Imitation Game”) and costume designer Lisa Duncan (“Small Axe”). Nina Gold is casting director.

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“I love all of Karim’s work to date and I’m so excited to be working with him,” said Tana. “I know that Michelle will do glorious work with Karim. We’re going to be shooting at the beginning of next year and we’ve already assembled a great team with Hélène Louvart, Maria Djurkovic and Lisa Duncan as well as Nina Gold.”

The Match Factory is handling sales on “Mariner of the Mountains.” Aïnouz’s recent films include “Invisible Life,” which won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes in 2019 and documentary “Central Airport THF,” about Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport, which won the Amnesty International award at the Berlinale in 2018.

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