'Cromwell is his God' - Anthony Boyle on his Shardlake character's struggle for survival

Virgin Radio

1 May 2024, 11:24

Anthony Boyle talking at an event and as Jack Barak in Shardlake

Credit: Disney+/Getty

Masters of the Air star Anthony Boyle has opened up about his Shardlarke character’s life story ahead of his story on the show.

Speaking exclusively with virginradio.co.uk alongside his co-stars Arthur Hughes and Sean Bean, the Manhunt actor revealed how his character Jack Barak’s start in life was not an easy one, leading him to be quite dependent on Bean’s Cromwell.

Shardlake - adapted from CJ Sansom’s popular book series - follows the story of lawyer Matthew Shardlake (Hughes) as he is sent by Thomas Cromwell along with Barak to investigate a murder at a monastery. 

Shardlake’s journey is shaped by his dedication to both truth and justice, meanwhile Barak, Boyle claims, is driven simply by “survival”. “[Jack] grew up on the streets and was then taken in by Cromwell,” the actor revealed. “[He] owes everything to him, and [Cromwell]’s sort of his master…

“Cromwell is his God, and he needs to sort of appease him, which is why he goes on this mission with Shardlake,” he added. 

At first, Barak and Shardlake don’t quite see eye-to-eye, partly because of the former’s strong allegiance to Cromwell, which goes before Barak’s dedication to getting to the bottom of what has really happened at the remote English monastery they’re sent to. But it’s also because of the pair’s personality clash. 

“He’s the antithesis to everything [Shardlake] is,” Boyle admitted. “He’s cocky and cocksure, and wears a codpiece and that sort of thing.” However: “They form an unlikely bond and an unlikely friendship,” eventually.

While at first Jack’s character may seem a bit standoffish, Boyle went on to explain how the series will reveal more of his personality. “I think he’s got a big heart, as you’ll see when you watch the show,” he shared, before also warning: “He’s [also] very reactionary, wears his heart on his sleeve… He’s hotheaded.”

Shardlake is available to watch now on Disney+.