Life&Culture

Netflix drama "The Crown" explores early reign of Britain's Queen Elizabeth

Netflix drama

This new Netflix series swoops in this month to fill the void left by the recent cancellation of Downton Abbey.

The series that Foy ("Wolf Hall") jumped into reportedly is Netflix's costliest to date, pegged at $100 million and with a second season already in production.

Foy's is a hard role, partly due to our familiarity with the subject, but also as it follows award-winning performances by Helen Mirren in 2006's biopic The Queen and the 2013 play The Audience (both penned by Peter Morgan - one of a number of alumni hired for The Crown). "But I think she was more capable of being queen than her father was of being king". Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth talking dirty isn't something that worked for me at all, but Morgan keeps it to a "These are real people and of course they had sex" minimum.

M.S.: "I really hope by the end of it, you sort of really engage in that love story about them, and you want them to sort it out and get together". "I had to get on with it".

"There's definitely an appetite for the royal family in America", Smith quips. "The Crown" looks to be highbrow drama that understands history is most compelling when it reveals the personal turmoil and struggles of public figures. "I'm so glad my judgment has been so completely turned on its head". All of a sudden the weight of the world was on her shoulders. Margaret and her father sing charmingly at the piano.

The palace and parliamentary intrigue leaves Elizabeth largely controlled by her staff, while her hubby petulantly complains, "Are you my wife, or my queen?"

"In the first two episodes, before she becomes Queen, I could be a lot freer with my emotions, but as the series goes on she develops an armour in order to cope with her circumstances", she said.

"It's like getting into the Uber debate - do we or don't we approve?" But if staid, reverent, and deeply British is a wavelength that works on you, The Crown ought to satisfy. It was written by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Daldry who previously directed Billy Elliot and The Hours. One memorable scene in Kenya involves the Princess fixing the engine of an overheated Jeep; her hair tousled, she wears a colourful striped shirt, baggy rolled-up dungarees and derby lace-ups, looking more like a land girl than a monarch. We sat down with Claire Foy and Matt Smith to discuss the royal relationship, and whether or not this is actually a love story. "And they were having a wonderful time together and thought they had 30 years, and all of the sudden that implodes and he has to walk two steps behind".

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"My background is film and most of the crew are from film", he says. "I just go moment to moment, and given that things were happening really fast for her at that time, I don't think she's able to respond".

"I admire him tremendously for that", says Harris.

As to the storyline, it's a fictional account of the known narrative, Eaton says. However, the star noted that everything in the public domain was all "engineered". We watch as Philip gives up his birthright (he was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark) for his Duke of Edinburgh title.

"You've got to find your own truth and your own sound".

While politely handled in The Queen, an even trickier subject to cover would be that of Princess Diana's life and death. That day comes much sooner than expected, though, when Elizabeth is just 25.

The first season of this ambitious series, which has plans for five more seasons, takes place largely in the 1950s. "It would be in the third or fourth", he says. "You look straight in the eye and although you know he's completely naked you don't say anything, and it's about the embarrassment of it".

"It is a very odd thing trying to approach these human beings as you want to hold them on a pedestal and you can't do that when playing a character. Turned out, I didn't need the list because people were so welcoming". She just didn't understand why we were making a film about her dad.


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