Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance has revealed how the intensity of playing Richard III helped him cope following the sudden death of his stepdaughter.
Nataasha van Kampen, a filmmaker, died from a brain haemorrhage in 2012, at the age of just 28.
Mark, 55, who dropped out of the Olympics opening ceremony in London as a result, told Radio Times magazine how the role, performed at the Globe Theatre, helped save him from despair.
"You feel a lot of rage when someone dies. I have a lot of faith in nature but it can be cruel," he said.
"The vicious nature of fate is part of Richard. I learnt a lot - to accept that everything rather sadly comes to an end."
Mark stars as Thomas Cromwell in the new BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.
The acclaimed actor said that the role left him believing that there was a need for a Cromwell figure in today's society.
"The Reformation was really about the Catholic Church dominating a nation's identity and how England demanded the right to choose its own course," he said.
"I feel we face the same kind of thing now, from corporate power - the inability of a village to say we don't want a Tesco ruining the character or this new Transatlantic Trade Agreement being pushed through.
"I thought a number of times during Wolf Hall, my country could really use a Cromwell now - someone that tough and clever to help us retain our democratic rights to determine our own culture here. "
Mark told the magazine that he still felt optimistic about the future.
"When I see sudden positive change I'm surprised. You realise that all the good stuff is like grass coming through concrete... there's a lot happening underneath. I wish we were changing quicker, learning to live in a harmonious fashion with our own nature, but I guess I have hope that eventually we will.
"I don't think humanity is the highest form of life that will ever exist in the universe. Maybe that's a bit cynical. But most of the people I know are loving, kind, doing their best.
"The bad, angry, upset, wounded people are more interesting, so they're in the news more, but I don't think they're in the majority. I have faith that things will change - I mean, just like everybody else, I don't fix my roof until it's actually leaking, but eventually we all get round to doing it."