‘The Queen is really rather like Madonna!’ Actress Claire Foy reveals how her role in The Crown has given her a rare insight into the royals
By GABRIELLE DONNELLY FOR WEEKEND MAGAZINE
The strangest part about having left The Crown, says Claire Foy, is seeing her former cast mates going off to play different parts.
‘It’s a bit weird,’ she says, wrinkling her nose, seeing, for instance, Matt Smith who played Prince Philip go off to star in the action horror film Patient Zero, or Vanessa Kirby who appeared as Princess Margaret join the new Mission Impossible movie.
‘With The Crown we all did something together that was really engrossing and special and mad, and we all became incredibly close as a result. And now on the one hand I can’t wait to see what everyone will do next, but on the other I want to say, “Stop! Why aren’t you making The Crown anymore?”’
Nevertheless, she admits that as much as she’s enjoyed playing the young Queen Elizabeth in Peter Morgan’s sprawling series about the monarchy, after two seasons – the second begins in early December – she felt it high time to hand over the reins to the yet-to-be-named actress who will take Her Majesty into her middle years.
‘I need change,’ she told the Los Angeles Times recently. ‘I need to play somebody who’s able to communicate on a more open level. And that’s not Elizabeth.’
Today, relaxing in a Beverly Hills hotel during a brief visit to Los Angeles, this friendly, vivacious young woman from lower middle-class Stockport – ‘I’m definitely a massive commoner’ she tells me proudly in her light northern accent – could hardly behave less like the reserved monarch if she tried.
‘I’ve been released!’ she announces gleefully. ‘I’m no longer her so I feel like I’ve escaped!’
Claire, 33, says it was for practical reasons that she only signed on to do two seasons of the series.
‘There’s a huge difference between a person when they’re 21 and when they’re 85, so I have to forget playing this part any longer because you have to change at some point – you can’t have a woman of my age playing an 85-year-old!
‘And the change was especially marked for the Queen, because as the years have passed she’s changed massively, both physically and vocally.
‘In the beginning she was very unsure of how the whole thing worked, what her line was between family and duty and so on. But as she grew older her confidence grew, and I should imagine the way the institution is now is exactly how she would like it to be.’ Continue reading ‘The Queen is really rather like Madonna!’ Actress Claire Foy reveals how her role in The Crown has given her a rare insight into the royals
Claire won’t be reprising her role after season two because she’s too young to convincingly play the Queen into the 1970s.
BY KATIE ROSSEINSKY
It seems that Claire Foy already knows which actress is next in line to take on the role of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown – sadly, for fans of Netflix’s lavish royal drama, she’s dropped only the most subtle of hints…
With the hit show’s first season showing the monarch as a young woman in her twenties, balancing the public and political demands of her new royal role while dealing with upheaval in her personal life, and the forthcoming second season presenting Elizabeth in her thirties, Claire has now said goodbye to the part – for the simple reason that, at 33 years old, she’s too young to convincingly play the Queen into the 1970s.
At the press conference for her latest film Breathe, a period drama co-starring Andrew Garfield which debuted at the London Film Festival earlier this week, the actress confirmed that she has been told who will succeed her as the Queen in the show’s third season.
Luckily, it seems that she is pretty happy with the show-runners’ choice of replacement (though unlike Claire, we’ll presumably have to wait until next year – or until the second series’ December release date, at the earliest – to find out…)
“I know who’s doing it and I’m not telling you,” she told reporters, adding “It’s really exciting and great and amazing”
Alluding to her limited run on the show, she explained: “I always knew from the get-go that I was only going to be doing two series. I’m just very grateful that I have had such a wonderful time playing that part and made friends for life.”
Claire’s cast mates Matt Smith (who plays her on-screen husband, Prince Philip) and Vanessa Kirby (who plays Princess Margaret) will also be replaced by new stars in the third season which, though it is yet to be officially confirmed by Netflix, is thought to currently be in developmental stages. Until then, we’ll be counting down the days until season two arrives on our Netflix dashboards…
BY JESSICA EARNSHAW
Meanwhile, Breathe sees her star in the true life story of Diana Cavendish, who helped her husband Robin live a happy and loving life after he was paralysed by polio.
Speaking about the film, Claire said: “I’m so proud of this film and I’m so proud it’s showing in London.
“It never really felt like we were making a film, it was like we were in some sort of magical story.”
Claire starred alongside Andrew Garfield and speaking of their relationship on set, she added: “A dream… Unfortunately. He’s amazing. I love him and hope we’ll be friends forever.”
by Matt Grobar
Breaking out with a Golden Globe win and an accompanying Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in critically acclaimed Netflix drama series The Crown, Claire Foy has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the most well known and busiest actresses not only in the UK, but in the entertainment community at large. Recently announced to be taking over the role of Lisbeth Salander from Rooney Mara for the upcoming Girl in the Spider’s Web, Foy will vie for a chance at an Oscar this year with her turn in Andy Serkis’ directorial debut, Breathe.
Based on a true story brought to Serkis by producing partner Jonathan Cavendish—the story of the producer’s own parents—the romantic drama centers on Robin Cavendish, who contracts polio while abroad in Africa, attached to a respirator for the rest of his life and supported throughout by his adoring wife, Diana.
Having just completed production on the first season of The Crown when Breathe came around, and with a new baby in tow, Foy initially was looking for a way to say no to the project, hoping to take time away to be with her family. Running into Serkis, her Little Dorrit co-star, in a café and catching up briefly, Foy soon found herself with an offer for the role of Diana—set to star opposite Andrew Garfield—and reading William Nicholson’s script for the film, the opportunity proved too great to turn down.
“I was like, ‘Maybe I just won’t read the script, because I know I’m not going to do it, because I haven’t got the time. I want to go on holiday.’ And the worst thing [my team] ever did was read the script. Bill Nicholson’s script was the most beautiful script I had ever had in my life,” Foy said, sitting down on Friday morning opposite Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione at the inaugural Contenders London event. “I just read it, beginning to end, and cried—and then I found out it was a true story, and the producer was the child in the story. Then, I met Andrew and I was just like, ‘Oh, god. I walked into this,’ and I just couldn’t not. It was just the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had, really.”
In preparing for the role of Diana, Foy found it crucial to understand the illness of polio and what is required to care for individuals who contract it, speaking first with her own family about the illness, and ultimately meeting with Diana Cavendish herself. “I talked a lot with my family because obviously it’s within living memory, and it’s still around today. I didn’t feel like it was massively important for me to go and meet people who were on a respirator,” the actress shared. “It was important for me to meet Diana, who pretty much is the expert in caring for someone who is on a respirator. It was very important for me to get the technical aspects of caring for someone like that right, but from her perspective, as opposed to polio as a whole.” Continue reading ‘Breathe’s Claire Foy On Lessons Gleaned From Inspirational True-Life Story
By: Hillary Busis
There’s a swoon-worthy romance at the center of Breathe, the beautifully shot period drama that marks the directorial debut of actor Andy Serkis—but that’s only part of the story. The film focuses on Robin Cavendish, a mid-century British tea broker who found himself facing a dire prognosis after being struck by polio at the age of 28. Cavendish was paralyzed from the neck down, at a time when that condition usually sentenced patients to a lifetime in a hospital bed—but he managed to live a full and exciting life all the same, becoming a critical advocate for the disabled and helping to invent a mobile respirator that dramatically improved quality of life for him and other paralyzed people in the process.
The film stars Andrew Garfield as Cavendish and Claire Foy as Diana, his devoted wife—an English rose with a spine of pure steel. You’ll see their love bloom in this new trailer for the film, debuting exclusively on Vanity Fair—and you’ll also see them face extraordinary adversity. Perhaps it’s best summed up in this simple exchange: “You can’t love this,” a despondent Cavendish tells his wife shortly after learning the extent of his paralysis. “Apparently, I can,” Diana replies.
Serkis was inspired to tell the story by someone who was very close to it: his producing partner, Jonathan Cavendish, the son of Robin and Diana. As Serkis told Vanity Fair’s Katey Rich and Mike Hogan ahead of the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, he felt a personal connection to the story as well. “My upbringing was very much in a medical world. My father was a doctor in Iraq; he created a hospital for people in Baghdad. My mum taught disabled children, so I grew up with children who had polio and spina bifida, and it’s always been part of my life. These stories, I do feel a vested interest.“
The film, which also features Game of Thrones alum Diana Rigg and Downton Abbey stalwart Hugh Bonneville, opens in limited release October 13, and will expand in the following weeks.
by Andrew Ffrench
SCREEN star Claire Foy, who trained as an actress at a West Oxfordshire drama school, has spoken of her leading role in new movie Breathe.
Miss Foy was at Oxford School of Drama in Woodstock on a one-year acting course from 2006 to 2007.
The actress and Andrew Garfield star as Diana Blacker and Robin Cavendish, a British couple who fought for Cavendish’s freedom when he was paralysed by polio.
Golden Globe-winner Foy, 33, who is up for an Emmy on Sunday for The Crown, praised Andy Serkis as director.
She said: “It wasn’t like it was his debut, it felt like he’d done it a thousand times before.”
Breathe is out in UK cinemas on Wednesday, October 4.
Showrunner Andy Harries believes that the BBC would have found it difficult to show people like Princess Diana in later series
By Ben Dowell
Before Netflix swooped to buy the rights to hit drama series The Crown starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, the BBC was interested in securing the rights to the show.
Andy Harries, the show’s executive producer, spoke to the BBC as well as Sky and ITV before eventually securing a generous bid from the US streaming giant.
It is believed that UK broadcasters, including the BBC, didn’t have the budget to make the sprawling royal drama, said to have cost £100 million for two series.
However, Harries says he believes the most likely British broadcaster – the BBC – would have been the wrong choice even if they were able to match the Netflix bid.
“We will never know, but I think when people see the first series of The Crown they could think, ‘It could have been on the BBC’.
“Well, yes, the 1950s is quite a long long time ago. But it’s going to get a lot more interesting in series three and four when we’re into Diana, we’re into Mrs Thatcher and we’re into all the contemporary issues that all of us remember from the last ten or 15 years. Who knows how the sensitivities of how those scripts would have fared with the closeness of the BBC and the Palace?”
The new series is set in the early 1960s and will show cracks in the marriage of the Queen and Prince Philip, with Claire Foy’s monarch telling her husband that he is not sufficiently supportive. Continue reading The Crown producer says “sensitive” BBC would have struggled to air show
by Matt Grobar
A pioneer in the field of computer-generated performances with such films as Lord of the Rings (portraying Gollum) and King Kong—in which he plays Kong himself—Andy Serkis found his directorial breakthrough in The Jungle Book, which was pushed to 2018 so as not to conflict with Jon Favreau’s 2016 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of stories. But no matter—in the meantime, Serkis shot another film, Breathe, which bowed at the Toronto Film Festival this week.
Starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy—an Emmy frontrunner for her turn as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, that can’t quite process that reality at the moment—the film tells the true story of Robin Cavendish (Garfield), a young man paralyzed by polio, and Diana, the strong, brilliant woman who supported her husband through his deep depression and ultimate acceptance of his fate. With very little expectation of a long life for Robin, he and Diana elect to invent a new life for themselves, straying from Robin’s mandated hospital stay and pioneering in technology to better the lives of those suffering from this terrible condition.
Interestingly, this remarkable true story came to Serkis through his business partner at Imaginarium Productions, Jonathan Cavendish, the son of the couple on display in the film. Known for his work in very different kinds of movies, Serkis made a passionate pitch to direct the film. “Five or six years ago, we started Imaginarium [Productions]. It was a performance capture studio and a production entity with the view to creating lots of different projects, ‘next generation storytelling’ sort of projects, and then we had an old slate of films that he was wanting to make. One of these films was a film called Breathe, which he’d been working on for some time before we got together,” Serkis explains. ” I read it one night and, as most people did who read the script originally, I couldn’t stop crying. It was just so powerful, such a brilliant piece of writing, and I said to Jonathan, ‘I know I’m sort of more known for directing dwarves, goblins and creatures of Middle-earth, and jungle animals, but I really would love to direct this. What do you think?’”
“He said, ‘Absolutely’—without a blink, he just said, ‘Yeah,’” the director remembers. “So we started to develop it, and what I loved about it—what really inspired me to want to do it, actually, apart from the fact that it was the most amazing love story—was that it seemed to me to be a story about pioneering. At that point in the story when Diana says, ‘How can I make life better for you?’ and he says, ‘Get me out of here,’ from then on, they are basically creating life afresh in a way that had never been done before.” Continue reading ‘Breathe’s Andrew Garfield On “How We Can Create Lives Of Meaning And Joy” Amidst Tragedy
by Etan Vlessing
The ‘Lord of the Rings’ star said his drama about a real-life couple who overcome huge challenges is “about the power of love.”
Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis on Tuesday said his directorial debut, Breathe, is an inspiring tale of struggling against adversity, not a dark take on disaster.
“We were elevating not just a story of survival, but creating a metaphor for our times, about the power of love,” Serkis said of his drama about British advocate for the disabled Robin Cavendish. The film, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, follows Cavendish after he was paralyzed with polio at the age of 28 and given just three months to live.
Against all advice, his wife Diane brought him home from the hospital and inspired him to lead a long and fulfilled life. Serkis said Diane Cavendish’s staying with her husband when she had the option to leave was an act of love that lay at the foundation of Breathe.
“Nowadays it’s so easy to walk away. We live in a massive throwaway world. We are so alienated from one another now,” he told reporters at the TIFF press conference. “That’s why I found the power of this film so strong. It’s a reminder of what true love actually is,” Serkis added. Continue reading Toronto: Andy Serkis Says ‘Breathe’ Is a “Metaphor for Our Times”
by Scott Feinberg
The ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ nominee plays Robin Cavendish, a man stricken in his prime with polio, opposite ‘The Crown’ star Claire Foy in Andy Serkis’ directorial debut.
Breathe, a film that once upon a time would have been called “a four-hanky picture” and starred Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson, could return Andrew Garfield to the Oscars as a best actor nominee — just a year after he landed his first Oscar nomination, in that category, for Hacksaw Ridge — for playing another real-life hero. And it might bring The Crown’s Claire Foy along for the ride, too, in the best actress or, more likely, best supporting actress category.
Andy Serkis’ feature directorial debut, which chronicles the life of Robin Cavendish (Garfield) — a British man who was stricken in his prime with polio but, thanks to the tireless support of his wife Diana Cavendish (Foy), son Jonathan and friends, persevered to an extent that no person with polio ever had before — premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, leaving most of those in Roy Thomson Hall sniffling and then standing in applause when the cast and some of the people they portray were acknowledged. Continue reading ‘Breathe’ Could Return Andrew Garfield to Oscars for Second Consecutive Year
‘Breathe’ Review: Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy Give Heartwarming Performances in Andy Serkis’ Tearjerking Directorial Debut — TIFF
Garfield delivers a tricky physical performance in Serkis’ gorgeous directorial debut.
“Breathe” sets out to offer a very specific kind of emotional experience and never wavers from that goal. The swooning period piece from director Andy Serkis tracks the decades of survival by Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield), a man stricken with polio in the ’50s who survived on a breathing machine for some 40 years, and the devotion of his wife Diana (Claire Foy) who stuck by his side that entire time. It’s a gorgeous, romantic drama that earns its emotional resonance without venturing beyond the most familiar beats.
The movie may not register as the most obvious choice of a debut for Serkis, best known as Hollywood’s preeminent motion-capture performer, whose credits range from Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” to Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy, but its elegant, old-fashioned appeal shrouds the sophisticated performance at its center. Garfield, who spends the majority of the movie moving only his head and face, gives the most ambitious performance of his career and pretty much pulls it off. The obvious precedent, Eddie Redmayne’s deteriorating physical condition as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” certainly has a more chamelonesque power — but Garfield’s performance resonates in its own gentler way, giving credibility to his character’s resilience that elevates the movie above the constant threat of mawkish extremes.
Serkis and screenwriter William Nicholson waste little time establishing the relationship between Robin and Diana, who meet on the road while Robin still enjoys a career in the export business. They’re still traveling around, enjoying a carefree existence, when a sudden attack leaves him bedridden and diagnosed with only a few months of life left. It’s here that Diana takes charge, keen on bringing Robin home to care for him there despite doctors’ claims that moving him will precipitate his demise. The couple’s decision to take a gamble on moving him to a more comfortable location becomes the first of several exciting moments where they take control of the situation at great risk.
Unlike Hawking, Robin isn’t some otherworldly genius when the illness takes hold, and so the scope is simpler, with the movie focusing almost entirely on his devotion to survival. From the bleak paralysis of the first act, Robin’s world keeps opening up, and in due time he’s eagerly collaborating with inventor Teddy Hall (Hugh Bonneville) to construct a mobile version of his breathing machine that liberates him from the bedroom.
The couple eventually enjoy magical sunsets across Europe, become parents, and launch spectacular careers as activists helping to improve the lives of polio victims around the world. Produced by the Cavendishs’ now-grown son Jonathan, the movie has a hagiographic air throughout, as if incapable of showing any negative aspects of the couple’s story without finding its way back to another painterly image or upbeat moment. Serkis gains confidence in the material as he moves along, speeding through the decades (and aging his young actors to less-than-credible results in the process) and eventually giving Garfield the chance to deliver a few rousing speeches to bring the drama home. Continue reading ‘Breathe’ Review: Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy Give Heartwarming Performances — TIFF
BY MARK SALISBURY
Hatfield House in Hertfordshire has stood in for Wayne Manor (Batman) and Lara Croft’s ancestral pile (Tomb Raider), as well as being the childhood home of Elizabeth I.
Today, however, the grand Jacobean manor has been transformed into both a 1970s Oxford hospital car park and the interior of a German hotel for Breathe, the remarkable true story of Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) and his wife Diana (Claire Foy) who together battled Robin’s polio, raised their son Jonathan and helped bring about a pioneering change in the treatment and care of people with polio.
“It’s a love story, a story of triumph over adversity, and a story of somebody who loses control of their life and then gets it back,” says producer Jonathan Cavendish, who previously filmed part of Elizabeth: The Golden Age at Hatfield. But what makes Breathe unique is that it also happens to be the story of Cavendish’s parents, and he, himself, is a character in it, played by a variety of actors from baby to 20 year old (Dean-Charles Chapman).
Written by William Nicholson (Shadowlands) and directed by Andy Serkis, Breathe is one of two new films emerging from Serkis and Cavendish’s production company The Imaginarium, alongside horror-thriller The Ritual.
It also marks Serkis’s feature directorial debut. The actor, renowned for his motion-capture performances as Gollum, King Kong and Caesar in the Planet Of The Apes franchise, has directed several shorts and shot second unit on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films; he also directed The Imaginarium’s delayed adaptation of The Jungle Book, entitled Jungle Book, prior to Breathe but the VFX-heavy film is still in post and not scheduled for release by Warner Bros until October 2018.
Cavendish had been developing the project with Nicholson for more than a decade when he and Serkis decided in spring 2016 to make Breathe after finding that Garfield and Foy had a window of availability that coincided with their own. Just before Cannes last year, they decided to roll the dice. “We rushed off to Cannes and it was all very bracing,” recalls Cavendish. “It was a bit scary. And we’re a company with resources. It would be very difficult for a small, independent company to have done that.” Continue reading The story behind Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy disability drama ‘Breathe’
Claire Foy won’t let her onscreen husband’s life be restricted in an exclusive sneak peek from the upcoming biopic Breathe.
In the clip, Foy (The Crown) stars as Diana, the wife of Robin Cavendish, a late advocate for the disabled portrayed by Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge). Robin was only given three months to live after being paralyzed by polio at the age of 28, and became bedridden in a hospital.
While Garfield’s Robin lies attached to a ventilator, Foy’s Diana prods his doctor, “Can machines like that only work in a hospital?”
When the doctor confirms “it’s just a machine” that simply requires a power source, Diana states, “Robin is going to leave the hospital.”
Diana then confirms to the skeptical doctor that she knows the risks of taking a patient in Robin’s condition out of the hospital. “Yes, yes I do. The risk is that he might die,” she says.
Watch how her husband reacts to his wife’s daring proposal in the full clip above.
The Netflix star shares what it’s like to play Elizabeth II—and the career-defining roles she’s playing now that her time as a royal is over.
by ADAM RATHE
The British monarchy has been very good to Claire Foy. In the year since the actress first appeared onscreen as a young Queen Elizabeth II in the hit Netflix series The Crown, which in its first season followed the monarch’s glittering, tumultuous life from 1947 to 1955, she has become one of the most watched women in the world. Her career (respectable but not exactly on fire before The Crown) has skyrocketed, she has taken home a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Drama (as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award), and she is, at press time, nominated for an Emmy.
There’s only one small catch in regard to her relationship with Her Majesty. “I would hate the idea of her watching it,” Foy says.
Although some of the world’s finest performers have earned raves playing the queen, and the monarch’s life has been scrutinized for nearly 70 years, Foy is loath to think that her own performance might rankle Elizabeth. “When you’re playing a real person, you never want to be ghoulish,” she says. “I don’t want to pick apart a person. I want to invent someone. So I would hate for her to watch it and think I overdramatized anything.”
And despite reports from the occasionally reliable British tabloids that the series has indeed been viewed in the royal household, Foy swats away the notion, if only for her own peace of mind. “I decided a long time ago that she’d never see it,” she says. “If she ever rings me up and tells me that she’s watched, then I will think differently.” (For what it’s worth, Helen Mirren, perhaps the only other actress so closely associated with the queen, sent Foy a lovely e-mail.)
For the rest of us, watching Foy in The Crown the coming months will be very easy. In December will come back for a second season, picking up at the Suez Crisis in 1956, and in October Foy will take to the big screen opposite Andrew Garfield in Breathe, an affecting, astonishing film based on the true story of Robin Cavendish, a man who contracted polio at age 28 and, against all odds, went on to live a long life as an inventor and advocate for the disabled.
After that she’ll star in Unsane, a hush-hush project that director Steven Soderbergh reportedly filmed entirely on an iPhone, and First Man, director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land, which tells the story of astronaut Neil Armstrong and features Foy as his earth-bound wife. Continue reading The Crown’s Claire Foy Won’t Be Your Queen Forever
By Paula Parisi
She plays Britain’s Queen Elizabeth on Netflix’s “The Crown” and now Claire Foy is getting the royal treatment from her countrymen as recipient of the 2017 Britannia British Artist of the Year Award presented by Burberry. The honor is part of the 2017 AMD British Academy Britannia Awards, taking place Oct. 27, 2017 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
“BAFTA is committed to celebrating extraordinary British talents on a global platform, and we could not think of a more deserving and timely honoree,” the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles Chairman Kieran Breen said. “Claire is the perfect encapsulation of the enduring legacy of British talent succeeding on a global stage. Her performances this year have been nothing short of phenomenal.”
Foy joins honorees Dick Van Dyke, who will receive the Britannia Award for Excellence in Television, and Ava DuVernay, who will receive the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing presented by the GREAT Britain Campaign. British comedian Jack Whitehall will host the ceremony.
The AMD British Academy Britannia Awards is BAFTA’s biggest event outside of the U.K., where Brits and Anglophiles alike come together in Los Angeles in celebration of exceptional members of the creative community. Other key events on the BAFTA awards calendar this season include the TV Tea on Sept. 16, the BAFTA Tea Party in January and the EE British Academy Film Awards in London on Feb. 18.
Foy will next be seen in the feature film “Breathe,” an October release starring Andrew Garfield and directed by Andy Serkis. She will soon begin work on Damien Chazelle’s 2018 release “First Man,” playing the ex-wife of Neil Armstrong alongside co-stars Ryan Gosling and Kyle Chandler.
Foy gained international fame playing Anne Boleyn in 2015’s critically acclaimed six-part series “Wolf Hall,” for which she was nominated in the Leading Actress category for the BAFTA TV Awards. Her other television credits include: “Crossbones,” “Little Dorrit,” “Upstairs Downstairs,” “The Promise” and “Going Postal.”
by Damon Wise
Inspired by UK playwright Peter Morgan’s critically acclaimed 2013 play The Audience—which enjoyed a brief but successful Broadway run in 2015—The Crown proved a surprise hit for Netflix when the series debuted in November of last year. Starting with the marriage of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II to Prince Philip in 1947, a scant few years before her coronation at the age of 25 in 1952, the 10-part first season served as an origin story for the world’s longest reigning monarch.
It also offered an introduction to actress Claire Foy, who—along with co-stars John Lithgow, as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Matt Smith, as her husband Prince Philip—received glowing reviews for her performance, which earned her a Golden Globe just over two months after Season 1 aired. In December, the story will continue, acquainting Her Majesty with dangerous affairs in the Middle East and a more embarrassing scandal closer to home.
How did this part come to you?
It started the usual way – I got sent the script. It was slightly tempered by the fact that I was five months pregnant at the time [in the fall of 2014]. So when my agent mentioned it, I was like, “Do you really think I want to have a three-month-old baby and do a nine-month TV series while I play The Queen of England? Are you insane?” [laughs] So I was reticent about it. But my agent said, ‘They just want to talk to you.”
So I went, and it was nice, and they said, “Would you mind coming back and maybe doing a test?” I thought I’d have to go to LA, because it was Netflix, so I said, “Well, that’s not going to happen, because I can’t fly anymore,” but they said, “No, we can do it in London.” So I went back, and Stephen Daldry and I went over a few different scenes. Then they said, “Do you want to do it?” So it was a bit of an odd experience because at no point did I really consider it a serious possibility. And at no point did I really think that I would be who they were looking for.
What were they looking for in your audition? Were they looking for somebody with a strong resemblance to The Queen?
No. Well, we did do a costume fitting, but obviously, with a giant baby bump it was hilarious, because I was wearing a gown and a wig and a crown—I looked like a pregnant toddler. I think, knowing them now, they just wanted someone to discover [the part] with. It was very open. Maybe because I was pregnant, I was just very relaxed. Then, in November, they told me that I’d got it, and we started shooting in the July the following year. We knew that it was commissioned for two series from the off, and that we’d shoot all 10 episodes in one fell swoop. There was going to be no pilot.
What kind of research did you do?
Oh God. I can’t really remember. I think I did what I usually do, which is to buy thousands of documentaries and watch them all, because you can pretend it’s work. And then I got loads of books and read them. Actually, I had a very long time to get used to the idea of playing the Queen. I’ve never really had that before, actually—that expanse of time to get into character. Then we started working with a voice coach, William Conacher, who’s a genius—we couldn’t have made The Crown without him. It all happened very slowly, which was probably a benefit. There was no pressure to make any sudden, mad choices. Continue reading Claire Foy, From ‘Crown’ Jewels To Golden Globe And Beyond
BY PATRICK GOMEZ
Claire Foy could not be more thrilled that her Netflix hit, The Crown, has been nominated for 13 Emmy awards.
“It’s such an honor,” the actress — who is nominated outstanding lead actress in a drama series — says in the current issue of PEOPLE.
Foy, 33, is looking forward to reuniting with her castmates at all the parties surrounding the Sept. 17 awards show.
But the U.K.-based star, who has a 2-year-old daughter, has another reason she’s excited to head to Los Angeles in a few weeks.
“I live in London and I have a child, so getting on a transatlantic flight and having my hair and makeup done and getting to wear a beautiful dress and have a night out is amazing,” says Foy. “It’ll be magic — aside from the jet lag!”
The upcoming second season, which will cover the Queen’s reign from 1956 to 1964, will be the last for Foy and costar Matt Smith.
The Crown season 2 hits Netflix on Dec. 8.
‘The Crown’ Season 2: The Real Cost Per Episode, Elizabeth Faces ‘Attack on Monarchy,’ and More Details Revealed
Showrunner Peter Morgan sets the record straight on the show’s budget — and why he hates those “Downton Abbey” comparisons.
By Anne Thompson
Peter Morgan (“The Queen”) has long divided his time between playwriting, screenwriting, and television. But having just wrapped the second 10-episode season for Netflix’s “The Crown” (December 8), the executive producer and showrunner is now wholly devoted to a new genre that he calls “cinematic television.”
It’s not a difficult transition. “The Crown” has the scale of a big-budget production (Netflix paid in advance for two seasons, as well as bonuses to buy out all future royalties), as well as serious awards gravitas: The first season scored a Golden Globe win for Claire Foy and now has 13 Emmy nominations, and could win the fierce contest for Best Dramatic Series.
While Netflix doesn’t confirm budgets, Morgan wants to set the record straight: the show did not cost $100 million per 10-episode season (that’s the level of “Rome,” “Westworld,” or “American Gods”) but rather a still-hefty $6 million-$7 million per episode for 20 episodes, or about $130 million.
However, money isn’t what makes the show; it’s what money can buy you, like a bespoke suit on Savile Row. However, merging the standards of a feature film into television, which requires multiple episodes of specific lengths on a strict schedule, is more like, say, creating custom-fit pairs of Nikes.
“There’s a feeling that you are making a bespoke suit made-to-measure,” said Morgan of feature filmmaking. “But in television, it’s off the peg and more industrialized for a production line. That’s why films were more special, because you could feel the attention and the bespokenness — the longer time to think about things and time spent to fix things in post. This is one of the reasons why people are watching more television, right? The scale, but also the boutiqueness, that episodes are honed and refined.
“But at the same time,” he added, “the companies are expecting delivery to old television schedules. So they’re expecting new levels of quality, but on old timetables. They want it every year, and to be making television at this level.”
This, he said, is why he bristles at comparisons with “Downton Abbey,” the last period British import with plummy-accented aristocrats in lofty drawing rooms.
“The difference is in the way we make it,” said Morgan. “This is something new. The biggest challenge of doing the show is that I’m stuck in the middle of two huge expectations, both of which are mutually contradictory, and in conflict with one another. We are now in an age with the budgets to produce properly cinematic television, that we are now making.” Continue reading ‘The Crown’ Showrunner Peter Morgan Previews Season 2
Andy Serkis’ directorial debut Breathe, the period drama starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, has been tapped as the Centerpiece film at this year’s Hamptons Film Festival. The fest, celebrating its 25th anniversary, runs October 5-9 in East Hampton, NY and this morning took the covers off the first part of its lineup. Its the U.S. premiere for Breathe, which will have its world bow October 4 as the opening-night film of the London Film Festival.
Breathe tells the true story about the adventurous and charismatic Robin Cavendish (Garfield), who has his whole life ahead of him when he is paralyzed by polio at age 28 and given just months to live. Against all advice, his wife Diana (Foy) brings him home from the hospital and with devotion and witty determination encourages him to lead a long and fulfilled life. William Nicholson penned the script, and the film will play on Sunday, October 8 as the Sunday Centerpiece with Serkis scheduled to be in attendance.
Fest passes go on sale September 5.