On his experience filming the series, Eddie Redmayne had this story to tell: "The director, Tom Hooper said "One last thing: Eddie, have you ever been on a horse?" I said "Yes." Cut to Lithuania, two weeks later, a huge Elizabethan street, Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons are standing at this balcony, and there's Tom, cameras, rain machines, 50 Lithuanian extras, spurs attached to my feet, and I'm thinking, "At what point do I tell them that I have never, ever ridden a horse?" It was then that I realized a big part of the cliché of actors lying in auditions is that you should probably try to do the thing you said you can do before filming starts. Anyway, I nearly killed people as the horse galloped off at a hundred miles an hour after I gave it the slightest nudge. Tom came out with his megaphone and shouted, "You're a liar, Redmayne!".
The 3rd Earl of Southampton was William Shakespeare's patron. Many believe he was the subject of many of Shakespeare's sonnets, including sonnet 20, which begins "A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted / Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion." Eddie Redmayne would later play a transgender woman in The Danish Girl. On stage, he has played Shakespeare's heroine Viola, a woman who disguises as a man.
Ian McDiarmid is best know for playing the Emperor in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) and the subsequent prequel trilogy. In the prequels, he appeared with Oliver Ford Davies, who went on to play Polonius in 'Hamlet (2010)(TV)'. Polonius was largely modeled after McDiarmid's character, William Cecil/ Lord Burghley.