‘Firebrand’ Interview: Karim Aïnouz On Jude Law’s Crazy Performance As Henry VIII

Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz has no time for the monarchy. He knew very little about King Henry VIII or his sixth and final wife Katherine Parr when approached to direct Firebrand, an adaptation of Elizabeth Fremantle’s book Queen’s Gambit. Born in dictatorial Brazil of the 1960s, Aïnouz had very little interest in the monarch, but he was drawn to the parallels between Henry and contemporary dictators, and also to Parr who used all of her wits to survive being trapped in a Hellish marriage with a madman known to separate his wives’ heads from their bodies.

So Firebrand doesn’t play out like your typical Tudors drama. There’s still a lot of palace intrigue, political maneuvers, and royal tradition. But the film is closer to a self-contained horror with Henry as the monster, and Parr as his potential victim.

I had the chance to speak with Aïnouz about Firebrand, and we talked about his decision to take on the film. We also talked about what Alicia Vikander brings to the table as Katherine Parr, and the casting of Jude Law as an unhinged Henry VIII in his final days.

Firebrand opens in theaters on June 14th. You can check out my review now, and the interview below!

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.