16th Century Sex and Power Thrill Audiences

Two more films on the Tudors are set to be released late this year: "The Other Boleyn Girl," with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, and "The Golden Age," also written by Hirst and once again starring Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth.

"All of these movies are about 21st century America," Shagan said. "Queen Elizabeth and her refusal to marry, Anne Boleyn and Henry the VIII -- these figures represent our outward political face and our inner desires in ways that are historically defensible. It's about real historical events that shaped the world, and it's about the sordid details that shape our lives."

It is the truths of that period, the volatile mix of sex and politics, which are considered so taboo today, that makes the drama of "The Tudors" compelling.

"Sex gets into bed with politics in that period. It's all connected," Hirst said. "Why did we break with the Catholic faith? Because Henry wanted to sleep with Anne Boleyn."

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