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Jonathan looks a natural equestrian as he gallops on the Dublin set of The Tudors, in which he plays King Henry VIII
Photo: © PA
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Jonathan saddles up for royal role in Dublin

18 APRIL 2007

While Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman have been honing their equestrian skills Down Under in the run-up to filming Australia, Irish heart-throb Jonathan Rhys Meyers has also been taking to the saddle for his latest role. The talented 29-year-old was spotted galloping around Dublin's Phoenix Park in costume as a young King Henry VIII.

He stars as the legendary six-times-married English monarch in the US TV series The Tudors. The Mission: Impossible 3 actor made his name on American television playing another king - of Rock 'n' Roll - in Elvis. While similarities can be drawn between Jonathan and the Jailhouse Rock singer, the same can't be said for his likeness to the overweight 16th-century royal.

Jonathan has defended the casting decision, though, saying: "If you're trying to sell a historical period drama to a country like America you don't want a fat, 250lb, red-haired guy with a beard," he explains. "It doesn't let people embrace the fantastic monarch he was. Because they're not attracted to the package. Heroes do not look like Henry VIII. That is just the world we live in."

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