Marc Soper as Geoffrey FitzRoy

Chip Caldwell as William Marshal

Emmanuel Barbe as Richard the Lionheart

written, produced, and directed by

Mary Beth Ross


Chris English Pittman, associate producer and director of photography

Sutton Yamanashi, assistant director of photograpy

Director's Statement


  In 2009 I'd already been a writer for ages and a documentarian for a decade, but this was my first screenplay and narrative movie, so I tried to keep everything simple. Just a few characters, in one place, for a 24-hour period.  In this case, Chinon Castle on July 6, 1189, where the English king, Henry II Plantagenet, is possibly dying. I'd had some academic training in the Medieval Period, and The Lion in Winter, with Peter O'Toole as Henry and Katharine Hepburn as Queen Eleanor, is one of my favorite films. O'Toole also played Henry against Richard Burton as Becket. In fact, I identify O'Toole so completely with Henry that I could not imagine casting anyone else, so in REALMS he remains off-camera. His inaccessibility is explained by the terrible smell of an anal fistula.

But REALMS is also less about Henry than about the actions and reactions of his two loyalist supporters:  Geoffrey FitzRoy, his bastard son and chancellor; and William Marshal, leader of Henry's army. Convinced he's dying, Henry is giving away his prized possessions; however, by refusing to name his successor, he not only undermines the fate of his empire but the futures of FitzRoy and Marshal. 

They wrestle with the prospect of being thrown on the mercy of Richard, against whom they've been at war for months. Their precarious status and shared dislike for Richard is not enough, however, to forge an effective alliance and carry out the revenge that each in turn proposes. In fact, their different and opposed codes of honor and loyalty are what I wanted to dramatize in REALMS. 

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Harpist Sarah Marie Mullen, who contributed the musical score for REALMS, released another CD in 2010, "We Brought the Summer With Us." It along with her other albums can be purchased directly from


As of 2020, this film is being re-edited. In 2021 it will be re-released and available on Vimeo On-Demand.