Revolving around one of England's most interestingly turbulent periods, The White Princess told the star-crossed story of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. The miniseries aired on Starz early this year and, in case you didn't catch it back then, now that the Blu-ray and DVD is out you simply have no excuse not to watch (and fall in love with) it.
The White Princess was ambitious in recasting both of its leads, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, from the prequel The White Queen and the bet certainly paid off. The newcomer Jacob Collins-Levy did a smashing job as King Henry VII, even if the part came unexpectedly, as he told Movie Pilot:
"I was working at a warehouse. It just didn't seem like something that would actually happen. I'd done a few parts in films in Australia, so I was kinda just waiting, auditioning for different things. Then [The White Princess] came up and I was on a flight to England to audition for the part."
Collins-Levy also comments on the fact The White Princess chose to bring a whole new cast to tell the story:
"We were telling a different story, with characters that go through a different journey, and also at different points in their lives. If you were a die-hard fan of [The White Queen], there might have been a period of acclimation. But after a while the fans would come to see [these characters] as new people."
In the aftermath of the War of the Roses, The White Princess dealt with Henry and Elizabeth's marriage, the foundation of the English Tudor dynasty and a pretender who claimed to be one of the Princes in the Tower. It was a lot of important historical moments to cover in just eight episodes, and Collins-Levy "became kind of obsessed" with that time period:
"I'm in no way an academic, I'm interested in feelings and the beauty of a particular period. I found it so fascinating and I didn't know much about it. You get to explore how it must have felt to be in that kind of period."
Henry VII had a lot on his plate to deal with — a crown to keep, an overbearing mother and a wife in whom he didn't fully trust. He became king to a divided kingdom, where York supporters threatened his rule and his own mother-in-law conspired to depose him, which made Henry extremely uneasy. Collins-Levy admits he shares some of Henry's trust issues, and adds:
"We both have the potential to be kind of paranoid and overthink things sometimes. I was put in a position that I didn't expect in getting the part, and it's sort of the position he was put in. It knocked me out off my feet to be cast. [It's] a tall order being king and [Henry] was probably just sulking and freaking out a bit. I know I would."
The White Princess's narrative is all about female empowerment, with strong female leads, writers and producer. It sends a message to an industry that still tends to struggle with female heroes and the quintessential girlpower. And for the strong, open-minded men, like Collins-Levy, it is "a blessing to be in a female-run production":
"I'm very passionate about productions where a female story's being told. I think it's something really important and that's been happening more and more these days. It's a blessing [that the industry] is finally waking up to the importance of female storytelling."
In the wake of The White Princess's success, Jacob Collins-Levy has his life "almost completely" changed after the opportunity to learn so much about television with the show:
"I learned so much as an actor on [The White Princess]. The thing with television is you shoot eight episodes in five, six months, so it was the perfect baptism by fire."
The DVD and Blu-ray with the complete eight-episode miniseries of The White Princess is already out, so you can watch (or rewatch) as Henry and Elizabeth make the best of their situation, and go from being enemies to having a loving relationship and founding a dynasty that would give England Henry VII and Elizabeth I.
What was your favorite moment in The White Princess?