Jude Law went to extreme lengths to play the apparently stinky Henry VIII in the forthcoming film “Firebrand.”
The “Holiday” star revealed during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival that he made a pungent perfume smelling of “blood, fecal matter and sweat” to channel the late monarch’s final days with his sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr, who is played by Alicia Vikander.
“I read several interesting accounts that you could smell Henry three rooms away. His leg was rotting so badly. He hid it with rose oil,” Law said at a press conference Monday (via Variety).
“I thought it would have a great impact if I smelt awful.”
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Law, 50, found a specialist to create a concoction that would properly capture the king’s scent during his days of suffering from leg ulcers.
“She makes wonderful scents, and she also makes awful scents. She somehow came up with this extraordinary variety of blood, fecal matter and sweat,” he explained, adding that he started out spritzing lightly before transforming into a “spray-fest.”
According to the trade publication, the director of “Firebrand,” Karim Aïnouz, shook his head as he remembered Law’s smelly fragrance, which permeated the entire production.
“When Jude walked in on set,” he said, “it was just horrible.”
Despite playing a mad and cruel monarch, Law, whose daughter Iris has been spotted at the festival, said that he and Vikander, 34, maintained a carefree camaraderie on set.
“It sounds really twisted because of course we did awful things to each other,” he said. “But my memory is that we were laughing a lot.”
“Firebrand” premiered at the Palais on Sunday.
The historical drama has been selected to compete for Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at Cannes.