Homeland star Damian Lewis is in talks to play famous redhead Henry VIII in a six-part BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. He would play opposite acclaimed theatre actor Mark Rylance, who has already been cast as Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s scheming adviser. Claire Foy (Upstairs Downstairs) has been asked to play Anne Boleyn and David Bradley (Game of Thrones) is in line for Anne’s uncle, the Duke of Norfolk. Sherlock actor and writer Mark Gatiss (he plays Mycroft) is also up for a major role. The production was going to be shot in Bruges but instead will be filmed at as many authentic locations as possible in England. Rylance has a previous screen connection to the story – he played Anne’s father Thomas in The Other Boleyn Girl. Henry VIII’s exploits, last seen on the small screen in The Tudors, have always fascinated audiences and the Royal Shakespeare Company has been staging sell-out versions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at the Swan Theatre in Stratford. Those productions will transfer to the West End later this year. As for Lewis, he has been in Morocco with Nicole Kidman, shooting Queen of the Desert, Werner Herzog’s film about Gertrude Bell, a writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer and political attaché for the British Empire at the start of the 20th century.
• After voicing Jarvis in three Iron Man movies and The Avengers, British actor Paul Bettany is joining Robert Downey Jr and the rest of the gang on screen. He will play long-term Marvel character Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. First appearing in the 1940s and then refashioned in the 60s, Vision is an android created by super-villain robot genius Ultron (James Spader) to fight the Avengers. However, Vision ends up changing sides and joins the superheroes, eventually marrying Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). His special powers include firing beams of infra-red and microwave radiation and making himself invisible using holograms.
• Having just received a Bafta fellowship, Oscar winner Helen Mirren is again pursuing gold. She’s in talks to star in a true-life drama called The Golden Lady, about one of the world’s most famous paintings – Gustav Klimt’s shimmering portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Mirren would play Maria Altmann, the niece of Bloch-Bauer’s husband, Ferdinand, who commissioned Klimt to paint two portraits of his wife. In her eighties, Altmann, a Jewish refugee in LA, petitioned the Austrian Government to recover the works, plus three others looted from her uncle by the Nazis. In 2006, she got them back. Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) will direct.