LONDON -- Mark Rylance is set to play Thomas Cromwell in the TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel's award-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
Mantel, who has been in the news recently for her views on the duchess of Cambridge and her role in British society, won the prestigious Booker prize for her historical novels.
The books follow Cromwell, Henry VIII's adviser, and his rise and fall in the Tudor court.
Rylance is regarded as one of the U.K.'s finest actors and directors and currently is rehearsing a new play, Nice Fish, at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.
In September, he is scheduled to return to the British capital from the U.S. to direct Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in Much Ado About Nothing at the Old Vic.
Mantel made history as being the first woman to win the Booker literary nod twice when Bring Up the Bodies triumphed in 2012 after her 2009 success with Wolf Hall.
Scribe Peter Straughan is adapting the books for a six-part series on BBC Two in partnership with HBO.
A stage adaptation by the Royal Shakespeare Company of Mantel's work also is under way and is expected to premiere at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in December.
Mantel is writing the third installment in her Cromwell trilogy, to be titled Mirror and the Light.