Damian Lewis' Eton school days helped with Henry VIII role

Damian Lewis has revealed his school days at Eton helped him to portray Henry VIII in 'Wolf Hall'

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Damian as Henry VIII

Damian Lewis as King Henry VIII

Damian Lewis sees similarities between himself and King Henry VIII.

The 43-year-old actor plays the infamous monarch in the BBC Two adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novel of the same name and was "alarmed" to find there were certain similarities between himself and the Tudor king.

He explained: "The more I read about Henry, the more I was happy - and alarmed - to find that I did share character traits with him. I suppose everyone else will be the judge of it, but certainly sitting in the clothes, it feels like a canny piece of casting, because I do find similarities between myself and him."

The 'Band of Brothers' star also admits being educated at the prestigious Eton boarding school gave him a thorough understanding of aristocratic life.

He said: "It think there's no question it helps having had the kind of schooling that I've had to play a king.

"Just the sort of court structures, hierarchies, the way they're set up. It's something I feel I implicitly understand."

Damian - who earned a Golden Globe and Emmy award for his role in 'Homeland' in 2013 - added that he is hoping to change the viewers' perception of Henry by painting a "more varied" portrait of the iconic king, who is often portrayed as being fat.

He told Radio Times magazine: "Actually the truth is, though it might be an odd thing to mention, that Henry had a 32-inch waist - and he remained that way for quite a long time. He was the pre-eminent sportsman in his court. He was much taller than anyone else. His beautiful, pale complexion was often remarked upon by commentators.

"And so I think what I've found is that the grandiose, more paranoid, self-indulgent, self-pitying, cruel Henry emerged in the period after this series.

"What we're trying to concentrate on is just to give a more varied portrait of Henry, and that's really how this is written."

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