This just in from Cannes Film Festival: Jude Law wore a custom perfume that smelled like “blood, fecal matter and sweat” while filming Firebrand, a historical drama about King Henry VIII and his sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr.

On Monday, Law detailed his unusually fragrant mode of getting into character as the former King of England. “I read several interesting accounts that you could smell Henry three rooms away. His leg was rotting so badly. He hid it with rose oil,” Law said during a press conference for the film. “I thought it would have a great impact if I smelt awful.”

Indeed, there’s ample historical documentation that Henry VIII suffered from leg ulcers as a result of a jousting accident. According to the official Historic Royal Palaces website, these ulcers were regularly lanced and kept “open to the air” by his attending physicians.

The King also received enemas for his chronic constipation, an issue that was tended to by his Groom of the Stool (an actual job that existed during the Tudor period).

Hence, Law enlisted a perfume specialist to recreate the royal’s pungent aroma. “She somehow came up with this extraordinary variety of blood, fecal matter and sweat,” Law shared. Initially, the English actor used the fragrance sparingly. Eventually, he said, “it became a spray-fest.” (A question for his co-stars: Are you OK?)

While unappetizing smells comprise some of our favorite fragrances — white florals like jasmine and orange blossom contain trace amounts of indoles, compounds that smell like feces — Law’s custom scent pushes the boundaries of perfume-making. (That said, Highsnobiety has you covered if you’re in the market for a “dirty” scent.)

TBH, Law’s lurid story is enough to make me want to see Firebrand when it releases in theaters. More pressingly, however, it begs the question: Who is Jude Law’s perfumer and where can I get in touch?!


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