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 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 Glenn Whipp
Claire Foy has spent most of the last two years playing Queen Elizabeth for the Emmy-nominated Netflix period drama “The Crown,” wearing tiaras and tartan, acting with the utmost reserve and enduring loads of questions about whether playing a monarch improves one’s posture.
On the latter front, Foy laughs off any illusions of regality, happily slouching in a leather chair throughout a leisurely interview at Netflix’s curated Emmy promotional space in Beverly Hills. Fresh off a transatlantic flight, London to Los Angeles, Foy is famished, devouring a Twix bar, only to find, minutes later, that somehow the chocolate worked its way into the designer trousers she borrowed for the evening event, a Q&A with costar Matt Smith and James Corden at the film academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater across the street.
“I’m such an idiot!” Foy shouts. “I’ve got chocolate on my bum!”
“You know,” she adds, after a couple of minutes of light dabbing averts the crisis, “if they were my own clothes, I wouldn’t be bothered. I’d be, like, ‘Eh. Who cares?’ Personally, my main use of clothes is if I can wipe my hands on it.”
Foy, Oxford-trained, extraordinary as Anne Boleyn in the 2015 BBC adaptation of “Wolf Hall,” Emmy-nominated for her quiet, controlled portrait of Elizabeth on “The Crown,” immediately comes across as an earthy sort. Having just finished shooting the second season of Netflix’s royal drama — each 10-episode run took nine months to film — she has no immediate plans to work (“I can’t even contemplate doing anything at all”) and eagerly shares two pressing, personal goals for her time off.
“I’d really like to go rock climbing, not rock climbing like Tom Cruise hanging off a mountain, but, because I’m not physically strong or muscle-y, I’d like to take that challenge, just a wall, you know,” Foy says. “And I’m going to fly a plane for the first time. I love being in the sky, but I also have a fear of flying. So it’s a weird fascination.”
Foy clearly likes a challenge, which is why she’s happy that the producers of “The Crown” decided to recast the entire show for the third season, which will jump ahead in time to the 1970s. Playing Elizabeth for six years would have presented its own mental demands, but at age 33, Foy is more interested in exploring her range than in trying to combat the complacency that can set in when working on a long-running show. Continue reading Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip next face the ’60s in ‘The Crown,’ says Claire Foy, and they don’t handle it well
by Bryn Elise Sandberg
The actress chats with THR about parting ways with the role of Queen Elizabeth, which the Netflix drama will recast next season.
When Claire Foy signed up to star in The Crown, she knew she’d only be playing Queen Elizabeth for two seasons. But the news may have come as a shock to many viewers of the Netflix drama who came to love the breakout actress’ portrayal of the young Royal.
“I’m quite philosophical about these things and I think the amazing thing about the show is the fact that it will go on and that it hasn’t ended badly. It’ll go on and have another life,” Foy tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I can’t wait to watch it and I just think whoever they get to play that part, they’ll be extraordinary. I will never watch it with any sense of bitterness or regret. I will feel what I will feel now, which is so happy and lucky for the experience.”
Foy hopped on the phone with THR to further discuss what it feels like to leave the character behind as the drama looks to recast an older actress, her upcoming film with Damien Chazelle and how she’s adjusting to her newfound fame.
Since you wrapped shooting on the second season, do you get a bit of break now?
Well, we didn’t have much of a break because we went and did reshoots. So I went to New York for a bit and came back and did reshoots. But then now it’s officially done and so I’m just at home being mom and getting my washing done and seeing some plays. It’s amazing suddenly having that because it’s been two years of my life. I’m now catching up, which sounds dull but actually it’s really exciting. (Laughs.)
You had your first child right before the first season of The Crown. What was it like diving into motherhood and the show at the same time?
Yeah, I never would’ve planned it that way, but then I suppose that’s life. I had no idea it was going to pan out like that. But I think becoming a mother for the first time is a whirlwind in any situation that you’re in. I think mine was just slightly more mental in a sense that I was working long hours and my baby came with me to work, and not everybody has that luxury. So it was such a different way of working. I had been working for about 10 years before I had a child, so I knew the parameters as far as that was concerned, but I suppose this was the biggest job I had done up until that point. So I was aware going into it that it was quite a lot to take on and I think I’m only realizing now coming out of it just how much pressure I put myself under unnecessarily. (Laughs.) But I think all mothers at a certain point look back and go, “God, I was mad. Why did I stay up until 4 o’clock in the morning making puréed food? What was I doing?” I buy it. They have a packet. But that’s just what you do because this is the guilt, the amazing guilt. The amazing, amazing mother’s guilt.
You were able to bring her to set with you most of the time, yes?
Yeah, I mean, especially because I fed her for a good year, so she sort of had to be. But to be honest, film sets are not particularly interesting places for anyone other than the people who are making the film to be. My sister once came on set and she will never come again. She was like, “This is the most boring thing I’ve ever done.” (Laughs.) And I’m like, “Yeah, see. See. We’re in a car park in London.” So I think it’s only fun for a certain amount of time. Continue reading Claire Foy Talks Moving on From ‘The Crown’: “It’ll Go On and Have Another Life”
By BAZ BAMIGBOYE FOR THE DAILY MAIL
Claire Foy is getting into the space race.
The award-winning actress has been cast by Damien Chazelle, whose hit film La La Land took six Oscar statuettes (including best director for him), in his new movie First Man about the glory — and turmoil — surrounding Nasa’s efforts to put an astronaut on the moon.
Ryan Gosling, who played the jazz player and composer in La La Land, will portray Neil Armstrong, the first man (of the title) to set foot on the moon. And I can reveal that Claire will play his wife, Janet. Continue reading Claire Foy to star as Neil Armstrong’s wife in new movie First Man