Firebrand: Jude Law wore a fecal matter perfume on the set of Henry VIII drama

Be thankful the days of Smell-O-Vision are behind us; Jude Law wore a fecal matter perfume on the set of Henry VIII drama Firebrand.

Be thankful the days of Smell-O-Vision are behind us. When Jude Law signed on to play Henry VIII in Firebrand, he took his dedication to the next level by commissioning a special perfume with notes of puss, blood, sweat, and fecal matter. Lovely.

Firebrand takes place during Henry VIII’s final years when the King was suffering from festering wounds and ulcers. The foul scent that followed him was legendary, although both he and the court would pretend it wasn’t there. While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Jude Law explained the fecal matter perfume.

It was a very sensory set,” Law said. “What I mean by that is [director] Karim [Aïnouz] had such a unique perspective of history and how to create an authentic court. Being from Brazil, he really wanted it to feel human and tangible. So, he would leave the windows open in this castle that we filmed in, and we’d have fires going and lots of animals around. There was the smell of animals, but equally he would have the sage and rosemary scent used to clean the rooms. And then there was food everywhere.

Law continued: “The scent that I wanted to bring in was just a reminder that there was also this repellent. There was this rancid presence, which everyone had to pretend wasn’t really there because it was the king. It seemed like such an interesting addition to all these sensory elements that Karim was already using to create the right mood to perform in.

Alicia Vikander, who stars in Firebrand as Katherine Parr, Henry’s sixth and final wife, was shocked by the scent. “It was a physical shock,” Vikander said. “The first time he opened this horrific box that everyone dreaded, it definitely brought something new to the scene. Smell is a very direct way into an emotional state.” Much like the King himself, Law got used to the smell. “I got very used to it,” he said. “It was truly repulsive, but they became quite familiar to me, as did the costumes and various pads and weights that I wore to take on the posture and the size of it. Putting on the clothes was putting on the smell, which was putting on the king.

Firebrand premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and is now playing in theaters.

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