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Jude Law wore perfume made from ‘blood, fecal matter and sweat’ to play Henry VIII

'I read several interesting accounts that you could smell Henry three rooms away,' said the actor of his decision to create the pong

By Emma Wilkes

Jude Law
Jude Law. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jude Law has said he wore a bespoke perfume blended from “blood, fecal matter and sweat” to play Henry VIII in his new period drama Firebrand.

The film premiered at Cannes Film Festival and Law has received critical acclaim for his performance as the king. During a press conference, he explained the length he went to in order to deliver an authentic performance.

“I read several interesting accounts that you could smell Henry three rooms away,” said Law. “His leg was rotting so badly. He hid it with rose oil. I thought it would have a great impact if I smelt awful.”

A specialist perfumier was enlisted to make the scent. “She makes wonderful scents, and she also makes awful scents. She somehow came up with this extraordinary variety of blood, fecal matter and sweat.

“Initially, I used it very subtly. But then it became a spray fest.”

The film’s director, Karim Aïnouz, added that “when he walked in on set, it was just horrible.”

Law also commented on the present-day monarchy, saying he was uninterested in it aside from its theatrical aspects. “I don’t really follow it,” he said. “I’m not one for gossip. I don’t really enjoy it. I find no interest in it, and I don’t really enjoy following tittle tattle stories.”

Seeing photos of the coronation of Charles and Camilla earlier this month, “of this medieval ceremony and how it applied to today made me feel very modern,” said Law.

Based on the novel by Elizabeth Fremantle, Firebrand is set in Henry VIII’s later years, focusing on his marriage to his sixth and final wife Catherine Parr (Alicia Vikander).