The White Queen Q&A: Aneurin Barnard Talks Taking On Richard III
Aneurin Barnard as Richard, Duke of Gloucester in Starz's 'The White Queen' -- Starz
On Starz's "The White Queen," Aneurin Barnard has helped paint a new portrait of Richard III, the king vilified in the famous play by William Shakespeare.
Aneurin has helped make the royal -- at times -- a little sweet, at others brave, and still others compassionate, a different picture to the calculating eventual monarch from Shakespeare's work.
"That's not what I set out to do," the Welsh actor told Access Hollywood when we asked whether he thought his performance may have changed views of Richard in Britain, where "The White Queen" has already aired. "I set out to show my interpretation of Richard."
And while the actor pointed out that he didn't write the scripts (based on the books by author Philippa Gregory) or edit the Starz drama, he hopes people learned a little more about the 15th century eventual king.
"I hope that maybe [people] are a bit more wise to the difference between the real Richard and then, Mr. Shakespeare's Richard, because the play is a completely bastardized version of who Richard actually was," Aneurin said. "And we have to remember that Mr. William was writing for the Tudor household at that time who were not great fans of Richard because they had to overpower him to take the throne.
"The average man and woman may just think that Richard III is the hunchback from that famous play, but actually, he was something quite different, and hopefully, through 'The White Queen,' it does tell people that they are two very different interpretations," he added.
Ahead of Saturday night's new episode of the drama on Starz, Aneurin hinted at what's coming up next, his thoughts on the relationship between Richard and his wife, Anne Neville, and whether he really started having crazy dreams after Richard III's bones were discovered buried in a car parked in Leicester, while he was filming this very television series.
AccessHollywood.com: I read that when Richard III's bones were found recently, you apparently flipped out and started dreaming about all of this. Is that true?
Aneurin Barnard: I don't know how much of that is true. I think this is being manipulated into something that isn't [actually] factual. No, it was just that I was very intrigued, because I was obviously shooting, so of course I wanted to know straight away as much as I possibly could about this burial, and find out if it was him, if it wasn't him... what injuries were there. I just kind of did my research on new information that came to hand. The one thing that was great about it was, we hadn't filmed the battle sequence at the end of the series yet, so what we could do from that is look at the evidence of his skull.... to see injuries he may have had in that battle and then put them [in] with makeup and prosthetics and special effects into the last battle, which is great.
Access: Did it make it harder for you as an actor with history unfolding as you were filming? I know you do a lot of research, but if research is also going on while you're filming, does it add more work?
Aneurin: Well, when you're filming a long TV series, it's quite nice because every episode has a different trajectory. ... Sometimes you're in a different year or decade at times, so when new things come up, you can investigate. It's quite fun. It keeps you on your toes. I like it because it stops you from just coasting in your role. You can really work hard to make sure that you're on the top of your game at every moment really. I enjoy that.