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Jodie Turner-Smith Addresses the Backlash She's Faced for Portraying Anne Boleyn

·3-min read

Channel 5/Twitter Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn     

Jodie Turner-Smith wasn't surprised that her portrayal of former Queen of England, Anne Boleyn, attracted backlash.

In Glamour U.K.'s May cover story, Turner-Smith addressed the response she's received regarding her decision to play King Henry VIII's second wife. Following the news of her casting, some of those in opposition spoke out over the fact that Turner-Smith — a U.K. native who was born to Jamaican parents — is portraying a historic figure who is white. 

"I had just become a mother and that was what really jumped out at me, the story of Anne as a mother," the Queen & Slim star, 34, told the publication.

RELATED: Jodie Turner-Smith Says Being Pregnant Made Her 'Advocate Even Harder' for Herself

"I did know it would be something that people felt very passionately about, either in a positive or a negative way, because Anne is a human in history who people feel very strongly about," she continued. "More than anything, I wanted to tell the human story at the centre of all of this."

While filming the series last year, Turner-Smith was nursing her then-6-month-old daughter with husband Joshua Jackson. She, in turn, explained how her journey as a new mom helped to better shape her experience working on the project, which featured an all-female production team with the exception of one man. 

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"To have the experience of working with people that have so much compassion for where I was in my journey as a mother as we were telling the story about a mother, I feel there was just so much more compassion in the storytelling," she said.

Anne Boleyn, a show coming to the U.K.'s Channel 5 network, follows the events that transpire in the final months of the former queen's life before her 1536 execution. Mark Stanley, Lola Petticrew and Paapa Essiedu are also in the cast.

Natalie Portman, Claire Foy and Natalie Dormer are on the list of actresses who have previously portrayed Boleyn before Turner-Smith. 

Rich Fury/Getty

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Speaking to Variety last month about her upcoming series, Turner-Smith said that she was "really excited" to play Boleyn in an effort to "unpack some of the things that we're imagining internally she was going through." She also addressed why "a lot of people" dislike her being cast as the real-life queen due to her race. 

"It's one thing when you're playing a fictional character," she said at the time. "But it's another thing when you're playing somebody who existed in history, and that makes people feel uncomfortable and upset."

Turner-Smith told PEOPLE in April that "being a pregnant person taught me to advocate even harder for myself." The Without Remorse actress added, "You see the ways in which you're discriminated against as a pregnant person in the workforce. I mean, even in our business, people treat you different. That was interesting."

Turner-Smith's Anne Boleyn is slated to premiere on the U.K.'s Channel 5 this year.

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