By Julie Miller
I you have not yet watched Netflix’s The Crown, the upcoming holiday weekend is the perfect chance to start. The sumptuous 10-episode series, from Stephen Daldry and Peter Morgan, stars British actress Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth ascending the throne decades before she expected to. Foy does a brilliant job portraying the long-reigning monarch as viewers have never seen her—fallible, unsure of herself, and struggling to balance her domestic life with her divine duty as the whole world watches.
To celebrate the series, we spoke to Foy earlier this week about the challenges of playing Queen Elizabeth, whether or not she’s heard from the palace, and what viewers can expect when the series returns for its second season. Our edited conversation follows.
V.F. Hollywood: I have so enjoyed watching you on The Crown, and was sad to finish the first 10 episodes. Was the series as fun to make as it was to watch?
Claire Foy: It really, really was. It was definitely a feat, a bit of an achievement, because it’s so vast, and there’s so much of it, and the story goes so far in such a short space of time. But we [the cast and crew] all absolutely love each other.
We’re all so acquainted with Queen Elizabeth the public figure, but what research gave you the best insight into what she’s like behind closed doors?
The palace released quite a lot of her home videos, actually. She has that video camera [that was given to her by her father]. A lot of the home videos were actually shot by her. She has done that through her entire reign.
The palace did this thing [for the Queen’s 90th birthday] where the royal family sat down and watched the home videos together [for a BBC documentary]. William and Harry sat down and watched some. The Queen and Prince Charles watched some. It was the most amazing thing, watching them watch these home videos. A lot of these home videos are of her and Margaret and Philip and, at that point, Charles and Anne—them messing about and rolling down hills. That was very very early on in her reign . . . Those were really amazing, because even then she had such a reserved quality. She wasn’t, obviously, as frivolous as Margaret.
There are documentaries of her now, in her 70s, 80s, and 90s—that’s really useful. But you have to realize she’s not the same at 90 as she was at 25. As good as that is, to see her and how she moves and how she is with people naturally, you have to imagine her as a seed of a person as opposed to full character.
Continue reading Claire Foy on Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis, Season 2 and More
By Jason Chen
If you’ve watched even just an episode or two of Netflix’s The Crown, you’ve likely already fallen under its spell — lush sets, elaborate costumes, stunning cinematography (it’s rumored to be one of the most expensive shows ever produced), but what gives the show its pathos is lead actress Claire Foy, who portrays the first days of Queen Elizabeth with a performance that ranges from naïve to steely to circumspect — often all in the same scene.
Yahoo Style: How did the role come your way?
Claire Foy: Just in the classic way, actually. I just auditioned for it. My agent rang me up and asked, “Do you want to go on a meet?” Of course, at the time I didn’t realize I’d be meeting [director] Stephen Daldry, [writer] Peter Morgan, and Andy Harris, the producer. They’re all quite big wigs. That was a bit scary, but it was just a really lovely chat. I had no expectations of getting it or anything, so I think I was really quite relaxed. It was just really lovely. Then I had a second audition, and then found out that I’d got it, which was a real shock. Really exciting.
How familiar were you with the Queen’s early years?
I think everybody in England and around the world is familiar with her because she’s been around for my entire life — our generation has grown up with her there as a prominent figure. But I wasn’t aware of her as a young mother or anything like that. Obviously, I knew everything about Edward the 8th and the abdication of the throne, and the fact she wasn’t destined to be Queen, but that’s what happened. Her life could’ve been very, very different. I didn’t really know anything about the death of her father and how unexpected it was.
How did you find yourself inhabiting that state of mind?
I think Peter’s scripts are amazing and they do all the work for you, really. Also, I think if you’re grieving or you’re in massive amounts of shock, I think you just take every day as it comes. I don’t think as a character she could’ve thought about the magnitude of what was happening to her and the job that she was taking on and how that would change her life. I think she would’ve had a breakdown. She so obviously didn’t, in public anyway.
Would you say that was the most challenging part of the production?
I had a newborn baby, so-
Oh, my gosh. Congratulations.
Thanks very much. That was quite challenging. Amazing but challenging. It was also one of the biggest jobs I’d done, and there was a lot to get right. It wasn’t just about having an emotional connection to it. It was also about getting the physicality and the voice, and all those things that come with a character, so there was a lot of homework to do as well in order to, when you were on set, be able to be relaxed and just play the scene naturally. It took quite a lot of inhabiting to get to the point where you’re comfortable with that.
Did you work with a coach who helped you do those things?
Yes. William Conacher, who’s the best dialect coach in the world because he didn’t ever say to us, “This is how she sounds. You’ve got to do it.” We all found our collective sounds, which I think is really important, but we also found ourselves in the voices. It wasn’t like we were trying to do an impression because otherwise we’re trying to be perfect the entire time. You’re not going to be able to play a scene, so he was just amazing at giving us little ways in and funny little physical things that distract you from your voice and you end up doing it anyway.
Obviously the Queen has been portrayed on film and in theater numerous times already. Did you feel any pressure from that?
No. Those performances matter because they’re amazing, but I tried not to let them affect me. I watched The Queen very early on, mainly just because it’s a really good film, and I could pretend I was doing research, but luckily, the pressure was off in that way because I was playing her younger and there’s not that much footage or accounts of her when she’s at that age. The pressure to be an identical version of her, I didn’t really feel that so much. I didn’t go and see the play. I would’ve loved to but I just think it would’ve terrified me, if I’d have gone to go and watch those two amazing women do it. I would’ve probably not been able to do the job.
That pressure would be too great! Continue reading Claire Foy On Playing the Young Queen Elizabeth, Raising a Newborn, and Having More Fun as a Blonde
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Click here to view almost 300 pictures from the world premiere of The Crown! Claire Foy wore an Erdem Resort 2017 floral printed off-the-shoulder dress.
By Meredith Blake
Claire Foy was six months pregnant when she donned a wig and crown to audition for a role as the young Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix series “The Crown.”
“I was just massive and my face had started to do that thing where all my features were stretching,” recalls the actress, tugging at her nose and cheeks to demonstrate. “I looked absolutely ridiculous.”
With a shaggy bob recently dyed blond, the 32-year-old comes across as the antithesis of stiff-upper-lip British aristocracy, peppering her speech liberally with the word “bloody” amid occasional exuberant gestures and a tendency to slide into cartoonish voices.
Writer Peter Morgan remembers her audition for “The Crown” somewhat differently: “Her talent was undeniable and unmistakable, and my conviction that we had found our queen was immediate. She was electric, even in composure and silence.” Continue reading Claire Foy of ‘The Crown’ on playing royalty
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Click here to view almost 300 pictures from the world premiere of The Crown! Claire Foy wore an Erdem Resort 2017 floral printed off-the-shoulder dress.
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Our gallery was updated with several recent events and we’ll be adding even more photos and screencaptures in the next few days.
Starring Claire Foy as Elizabeth II, The Crown will look at each decade of our current Queen’s reign, and how her life intertwines with that of the political ruling class.
Ex-Dr Who star Matt Smith plays Prince Philip, and US comedy veteran John Lithgow appears as Winston Churchill, wearing prosthetics and heavy make up.
Each season of The Crown will explore a different decade of the Queen’s reign, looking at the political rivalries that defined the history of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, as well as the personal dramas going on behind the closed gates of the royal palaces.
– Public Events > Events in 2016 > “The Crown” – World Premiere
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning UK monarch, having sat on the throne for nearly 65 years (Queen Victoria almost made it to 64 years).
The Crown goes right back to the moment Elizabeth changed from a princess to a queen: the death of her beloved father, George VI, in 1953.
The 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth was in a Kenyan treehouse on holiday with her husband Prince Philip, when she received news of George’s death.
“It’s not just the story of a family, but the story of post-war Britain,” says Stephen Daldry.
“Are you my wife or my Queen?” Philip memorably asks Elizabeth in an early scene, before the boundaries between the private and the public have bee established.
On the other hand, with the sympathetic wisdom born of age, Churchill says to Elizabeth, “Never let them see that carrying the crown is often a burden.”
Actress playing the young Elizabeth in new drama says no one, not even a royal, has a picture-perfect life and that’s how she approached the role
By Xavier Ng
Being English, Claire Foy thinks the trick in portraying Her Majesty the Queen is to forget everything she knows about the monarch and start afresh.
“You’ll have to get rid of what you think you know, especially when you’ve grown up in England – you grew up with her,” says the 32-year-old actress.
Foy, who made an impression playing another royalty, the ill-fated Queen Anne Boleyn in the BBC’s Wolf Hall (2015), has landed a big part in The Crown, Netflix’s latest drama series to be released on November 4.
Written by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Daldry, The Crown it is a biographical story about the reign of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Foy plays the Queen in the early part of her reign.
“It’s a huge honour, obviously,” she says of her latest role. “But at the end of the day, I have to play the character that Peter Morgan has written. It’s not a documentary drama, it’s a drama, a story, a fiction. It’s still our imagination. But you have to try not to generalise or stereotype, and think about what it actually feels like putting yourself in her shoes.”
With six seasons and 60 episodes planned, The Crown begins with Foy as the young princess marrying Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1947 before she is crowned Queen of the United Kingdom in 1952. This first chapter ends in 1957, by which time Elizabeth II had already gained some experience as head of the monarchy and dealt with figures such as the British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.
“That’s not a huge amount of time, but a lot happened in those 10 years for her, especially at the beginning when she’s just embarking on her new life, getting married to her husband, and all of a sudden she’s the queen,” says Foy. “It’s a real journey and a real story there.” Continue reading How Claire Foy ‘keeps things real’ playing Queen Elizabeth in Netflix’s The Crown
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American actor John Lithgow was “intimidated and excited” to take on the role of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the new Netflix drama, “The Crown,” chronicling the reign of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding day to the present.
“Our writer, Peter Morgan, he coined the term ‘Churchill fatigue.’ Over there in England, all the major actors have played Churchill. They needed some kind of new spin, so they hired a clown from America,” the five-time Emmy winner joked Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
Lithgow stars opposite of British actress Claire Foy, playing the queen who has unexpectedly lost her father, King George VI, at the age of 25.
“I think it is sort of a preconception that, I suppose, [Queen Elizabeth II] knows exactly what she’s doing. And I think she certainly does now, but I think at that point, she had no apprenticeship into the role, she had no real idea of the day-to-day job, or the running of … the crown. And so she was massively unprepared, I think, and understandably grieving, nervous and really needed someone to sort of help her,” Foy said.
In Churchill, the queen found that help.
“I think Churchill was an incredible statesman, and he showed her the way, but at the same time, she learned about politics and politicians through Churchill,” Foy said.
But it wasn’t just the queen who got support from Churchill. There was also a mutual dependency between them, Lithgow said.
“Churchill at that very time became prime minister for the second time, and he was prime minister at age 75 – too old for the job,” Lithgow said. “He lasted until age 80, but only by sheer canniness, he hung onto that prime ministership. And one way he did it was the queen’s reliance on him. So it was kind of a mutual interdependence they had for a while until she didn’t need him anymore.”
So will the royal family comment on the series?
“Probably not,” Lithgow said. “The entire idea of the series is how private they are. They tend not to comment on such things as a matter of policy and disposition.”
Watch the first season of “The Crown” on Netflix starting Nov. 4.
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Queen Elizabeth II may become your new feminist icon.
By Emma Dibdin
When Netflix announced back in January that it would spend $6 billion on new content in 2016, minds boggled. But that figure is already making a lot more sense in the run-up to its ambitious new series The Crown, the first season of which cost upwards of $100 million.
Here are eight things to know about the elegant, richly detailed The Crown, a character-driven drama chronicling the adult life of Queen Elizabeth II from her 1947 wedding onwards.
1) This is not a soap opera.
Don’t look to The Crown to fill the Downton Abbey-shaped hole in your heart. All 10 episodes are written by Peter Morgan, known for his nuanced, deeply researched portraits of British royals and politicians in movies including The Queen and Frost/Nixon. Picking up in a post-war Britain where prime minister Winston Churchill has declared, “mankind stands on the edge of catastrophe,” the show’s focus is on flawed human beings in an incredibly unique and strange psychological position, and how the burden of royal duty impacts them all.
2) The first three episodes are essentially a sequel to The King’s Speech.
The Crown begins with King George VI, played by Mad Men’s always-lovable Jared Harris, on the throne. There are a lot of King Georges in British history, but this one has already been memorably brought to the screen before by Colin Firth in the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech. Eight years on from that film’s solemn conclusion, George’s health is faltering, and he spends a lot of the first episode coughing up blood which his manservant bullishly attributes to “the cold.”
Spoiler alert, for anyone who isn’t up on their British history: it’s not the cold. (Geoffrey Rush did try to warn him.) George’s death in 1952 forced his 25-year-old daughter Elizabeth onto the throne, but Harris gets a decent chunk of screen time here before that happens, and offers some important commentary on Elizabeth’s situation. George was a reluctant monarch himself, forced to take over when his elder brother Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson. The fallout from that scandal is still being felt when Edward comes back into the picture in Episode 3. His actual abdication—without which Elizabeth would never have been in line for the throne in the first place—is shown in flashbacks later in the season.
3) Elizabeth II may become your new feminist icon.
Regardless of your feelings about the monarchy, Queen Elizabeth—now Britain’s longest-serving ruler—is objectively a woman to admire. Claire Foy’s performance emphasizes the stoicism, modesty and no-nonsense attitude that have defined her reign, and they’re highlighted in contrast to the people (chiefly the men) around her.
“I have seen three great monarchies brought down through their failure to separate personal indulgences from duty,” she’s warned early on. “You must not allow yourself to make similar mistakes.” Her new husband Philip (Matt Smith) is more concerned with the trappings of monarchy than the actual responsibilities; her uncle Edward squabbles with the rest of her family over his inheritance; she’s surrounded by people who make no secret of their belief that they’re better suited for the throne than her. Amidst it all, Elizabeth quietly endures and gets on with business.
Episode 2 also features a reminder of what might be the best badass QE2 factoid. During her royal visit to Nairobi, the then-Princess Elizabeth casually mends a broken-down car, reminding her male companions that she served as a mechanic during World War II.
She’ll have BIG shoes as she takes on the role of Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s new series ‘The Crown,’ but Claire Foy is definitely ready to take on the job. Get to know the actress with five fast facts right here!
1. She went to school to pursue her acting career
Claire Foy, 32, has always had a career in show business on her mind — she studied drama at Liverpool John Moores University, and then did a one year course at the Oxford School of Drama, graduating in 2007.
2. Her career started out with plays
During her time at Oxford, Claire starred in plays like Top girls and Easy Virtue, then made her professional stage debut in DNA and The Miracle. She then moved onto television, starring in one of her most well-known roles as Amy Dorrit in the BBC mini-series Little Dorrit.
3. Her most critically-acclaimed role was as Anne Boleyn
Claire portrayed Anne in the mini-series Wolf Hall, for which she was nominated for Best Actress at the British Academy Television Awards, Best Supporting Actress at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards and Female Actor at Royal Television Society. Amazing!
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