‘The Crown’ Creator Didn’t Think He’d ‘Have a Show’ Without This 1 Actor

Supposedly one of Netflix’s most expensive TV shows, The Crown takes viewers inside Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. The Crown is based on real-life but presents a dramatized version of events. A popular Netflix original series, an ensemble cast portrays key members of the British royal family

Phillip Martin, Matt Smith, Claire Foy, Vanessa Kirby, and Peter Morgan attend the premiere of 'The Crown' Season 2
Phillip Martin, Matt Smith, Claire Foy, Vanessa Kirby, and Peter Morgan attend the premiere of The Crown Season 2 | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

According to Peter Morgan, the show’s creator, The Crown wouldn’t have even happened if a certain actor hadn’t been cast in a pivotal role. Hint: It’s not Claire Foy, the actor who played the queen in The Crown Seasons 1 – 2. 

‘The Crown’ has been captivating viewers since 2016

People have long been fascinated by the royal family and The Crown’s ratings prove the interest in royals is as strong as ever. When Netflix debuted the series on Nov. 4, 2016, it showed the queen and the rest of the royal family as real people, not just figureheads. 

The Crown spared no expense on the details. The queen’s royal wedding gown was replicated with the painstaking precision and the sets were crafted to look as authentic as possible. 

RELATED: ‘The Crown’: Claire Foy Reveals Her Favorite Episode

The cast changes as the show moves through decades of the queen’s reign. That means every season or two The Crown gets new actors to play royals as they age. Casting the Netflix original series proved to be a challenge considering the sheer number of roles that had to be filled. 

Peter Morgan desperately wanted Matt Smith to play Prince Philip

When it came time to casting The Crown Season 1, Morgan wanted no one but Matt Smith for the part of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the queen’s husband. He recalled casting Smith during a 2016 interview with Variety in the weeks leading up to the show’s premiere. 

“[Matt Smith] really had a challenge,” Morgan said. “When those two read together, there was complete electricity. They worked so perfectly,” he said, referring to Smith and Foy. “A number of other actors had read for the part and absolutely nobody interested me.” 

Matt Smith as Prince Philip in 'The Crown' Season 2
Matt Smith as Prince Philip in The Crown Season 2 | Mark Mainz / Netflix

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He continued, saying he went to great lengths to cast Smith in the role. 

“Matt was the hardest one for us to pin down, to do a deal with,” he said. “I just said to the casting director, ‘He’s the only one. I don’t care if this plays to his agent’s advantage. It’s him or nobody. Don’t posture. We won’t have a show.’”

“I’m afraid I gave them no negotiating position,” he added. “I’m sure Matt’s being hideously overpaid as a result. He was the only one.”

Matt Smith made more money than Claire Foy on ‘The Crown’

As previously mentioned in an article about Foy’s earnings from The Crown, she was reportedly paid $40,000 per episode. The star of the show and in more scenes than her co-star, Smith, a controversy ensued when in March 2018 it became public knowledge Smith earned more than Foy even though he wasn’t the lead character. 

As a result, it was said Foy would receive $275,000 in back pay and that moving forward, no one on The Crown would make more than the queen. Foy later said she never received the money. 

RELATED: ‘The Crown’: Why Olivia Colman’s Eyes Aren’t Blue Like Queen Elizabeth II’s

Expect new episodes of ‘The Crown’ in November 2020

Fans of The Crown don’t have to wait too much longer for new episodes. Season 4 of the Netflix series is set to be released by Netflix on Nov. 15, 2020. 

RELATED: British Royal Family Receives ‘The Crown’ Spoilers Ahead of Every Season, Show’s Creator Says

Oscar-winner Olivia Colman will make her final appearance as the queen before passing the crown to Imelda Staunton, or Dolores Umbridge to Harry Potter fans. Staunton will be the third and final actor to portray the queen because The Crown’s ending after five seasons.

Princess Diana will make her first appearance on the program courtesy of Emma Corrin. Meanwhile, Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, another new addition to the cast in season 4. 

Watch The Crown Seasons 1 – 3 on Netflix before new episodes start streaming on Nov. 15, 2020.

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