How Rebecca Ferguson Became 'The White Queen'

By JARETT WIESELMAN

August 09, 2013

Beginning tonight, Starz presents The White Queen, a sweeping 10-episode series that brings Philippa Gregory's best-selling novels based on England's War of the Roses to life, and ETonline scored an exclusive clip from the premiere!

The White Queen is told from the perspective of the three fiercely determined women who laid claim to the English throne: Elizabeth Woodville (The White Queen), Margaret Beaufort (The Red Queen) and Anne Neville (The Kingmaker's Daughter). While the men fought and killed on the battlefield in their quest for power, these three women used whatever means possible to wage war on their enemies who stood in their way and threatened their claim.

The role of Elizabeth Woodville went to Rebecca Ferguson, a stunning actress (both in features and acting ability) who ETonline recently asked to, in her own words, recount The White Queen casting process.

I had done a Swedish film called A One-Way Trip To Antibes. It was my first main part in a film. That gave me collaboration with an agent in London. In April my agent told me to come over and do an audition for The White Queen, this massive production for Starz and BBC that was going to be filmed on all these continents. So I came over and walked into a room assuming it would be just me and a casting director, but I walk in and there's Max Irons, producer, producer, casting agent, casting agent, cameraman. I was scared.

But Max, who is gorgeous, sexy, handsome and hot but more than that, a good man and a damn fine actor, instantly made me feel comfortable and I think people saw our connection in the screentest. But they still had to meet lots of other actors because casting a project of this size is such a large puzzle. I was called back 2 days later for another screentest and then called back again two days after that. Then, I didn't hear from them for two weeks, which is a long time. I was just staring at my phone while riding this emotional roller-coaster.

I went from assuming there was no way I would get this part because, I'm not even English and they'd probably want "a name." But by the time the audition process was over, I wanted this part badly because I felt like I understood her. I got her. So the sadness of realizing I might not get to bring her to life was very weird. Then, they called me on a Friday and said "Can you come for one more casting?" I went in on Monday for the last screentest with one other actress, it was down to the two of us, and then Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. they offered me the part. I screamed absurd horrible words and then the producer was downstairs 15 minutes later to cut my hair and take me to a read-through with the cast.

When all was said and done, there was five days between getting the role and the first time they yelled action.

And as you can see from the clip, producers clearly crowned the right actress!

The White Queen premieres August 10 at 8 p.m. on Starz before moving to its normal timeslot, 9 p.m., for subsequent episodes.

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