Method actors often require weird and wonderful techniques to ensure an authentic performance, but one star simply has a nose for getting into character.
Jude Law has revealed he used an “awful” pus and blood perfume in order to smell like an ageing Henry VIII for a new film.
The British actor plays the Tudor monarch in new release Firebrand, which follows his final marriage to Catherine Parr, and premiered this week in Cannes.
Speaking during the Riviera film festival, Law revealed that he took unusual steps to ensure he was fully in character and that the cast and crew could be in no doubt about the authenticity of his Henry VIII.
The star commissioned a perfume maker to craft a scent with notes of blood and pus to match the reputedly terrible smell that emanated from Henry VIII in his latter years, when a festering jousting wound made his odour overpowering.
Mr Law said: “I read several interesting accounts that, at this period, you could smell him three rooms away because his leg was rotting so badly, and he hid it with rose oil.
“I just thought it would have a great impact if I smelled awful.
“I went to this brilliant perfumier, who… by the way makes wonderful scents, but she also makes awful scents.
“She somehow managed to come up with this extraordinary variety which was pus, blood, faecal matter… and sweat.
“… I thought I would use it myself and that that would have an impact.”
Mr Law added that his personal tick was hijacked by Firebrand’s director Karim Aïnouz, who thought the smell idea so good that he sprayed the scent in every interior on set.
Mr Law’s co-star in the role of Parr, Alicia Vikander, said that the scent was so strong that it caused problems for the crew, with camera operators gagging on the recreated odour of Henry VIII.
The film charts the story of his final marriage, to the woman who “survived”, before he died as a result of his many health problems in 1547.
Mr Law has said that despite playing one of England’s most famous monarchs, his interest in the modern-day Royal family is limited, and he sees the British crown like “theatre”.
Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz, speaking in Cannes, said he struggled to take the monarch “seriously”, adding that “it’s 2023”.