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The Crown: Gillian Anderson officially cast to play Thatcher

Staff Writer

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Gillian Anderson has officially been cast to play Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of The Crown.

Netflix’s royal drama is no stranger to high-profile castings, with Claire Foy and Matt Smith playing Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Season 1 and 2, and Olivia Colman and Outlander’s Tobias Menzies replacing them for Season 3 onwards, alongside Helena Bonham-Carter as Princess Margaret.

Season 3 will see the Queen’s life move into the public eye even further, with Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Harold Wilson also featuring. Season 4, meanwhile, will also introduce Princess Diana, or Lady Diana Spencer, played by Emma Corrin.

For months, though, speculation has surrounded another of the drama’s most prominent players: former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Now, after reports linking Gillian Anderson to the role, following her turn in Netflix’s Sex Education, the streaming giant has officially confirmed that Anderson will play The Iron Lady.

“I am so excited to be joining the cast and crew of The Crown and to have the opportunity to portray such a complicated and controversial woman,” she said in a statement released today. “Thatcher was undoubtedly formidable but I am relishing exploring beneath the surface and, dare I say, falling in love with the icon who, whether loved or despised, defined an era.”

Granchester’s Emma Corrin cast as The Crown’s Diana

9th April 2019

Grantchester’s Emma Corrin has been cast as Lady Diana Spencer for Season 4 of The Crown.

Best known for her guest role in the ITV drama, in 2019 Emma will go on to star as Esme, a key role in the upcoming 10-part Warner Brothers/EPIX series Pennyworth. Set in 1960s London, Pennyworth chronicles former SAS Soldier Alfred Pennyworth – better known as the butler to Bruce Wayne in the Batmen series. Emma is also soon to make her debut film appearance as Miss South Africa in Misbehaviour, a historical drama which follows the story of a group of women from the Women’s Liberation Movement seeking to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition.

Then, she’ll be taking on a royal responsibility with the part of the iconic Princess Diana, joining an already star-studded cast in Netflix’s monarchy drama. Gillian Anderson, of Sex Education and The X-Files, has been reportedly cast as PM Margaret Thatcher, joining Olivia Colman and Outlander’s Tobias Menzies as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, alongside Helena Bonham-Carter as Princess Margaret.

Corrin says: “Beyond excited and honoured to be joining The Crown for its fourth season. I have been glued to the show since the first episode and to think I’m now joining this incredibly talented acting family is just surreal. Princess Diana was an icon, and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring. To be given the chance to explore her through Peter Morgan’s writing is the most exceptional opportunity, and I will strive to do her justice!”

Morgan, the show’s creator, adds: “Emma is a brilliant talent who immediately captivated us when she came in for the part of Diana Spencer. As well as having the innocence and beauty of a young Diana, she also has, in abundance, the range and complexity to portray an extraordinary woman who went from anonymous teenager to becoming the most iconic woman of her generation.”

Season 3 of The Crown, meanwhile, will launch later this year.

The Crown is now casting for Princess Diana

13th March 2019

The Crown is now reportedly casting for what will likely be its most controversial role yet: that of Princess Diana.

Netflix’s royal drama is no stranger to high-profile castings, with Claire Foy and Matt Smith playing Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Season 1 and 2 – soon to be replaced in Season 3 by Oscar winner Olivia Colman and Outlander’s Tobias Menzies, alongside Helena Bonham-Carter as Princess Margaret.

Season 3 will see the Queen’s life move into the public eye even further, with Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Harold Wilson also featuring. The Apollo 11 moon landing will also be covered, alongside the decolonisation of Africa and the birth of Prince Edward.

Season 4 preparations are already underway, though, with Gillian Anderson, of Sex Education and The X-Files, reportedly cast as PM Margaret Thatcher. Also in the fourth season will be Princess Diana, and The Sun reports that the drama has begun putting out casting notices for the role.

The call is reportedly asking for a “staggeringly talented young actress” with “extraordinary range”.

“She has to play charming comedy, flirt and social exhibitionist on the world stage, desperate and lonely self-harmer at her lowest ebb and the kind of psychological intensity of Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby,” The Sun quotes it as saying. A source also told the newspaper that the show will “not hold back” on portraying Diana and how she impacted the Royal Family, and that this might “ruffle a few feathers”.

The newspaper reports that Florence Pugh is currently the odds-on favourite for the role, according to Ladbrokes, followed by Bohemian Rhapsody’s Lucy Boynton and Les Miserables’ Ellie Bamber. This will not be the first time Diana has been portrayed on screen, with Naomi Watts cast in the role in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2013 biopic.

Filming on The Crown Season 3 wrapped last month.

Gillian Anderson reportedly cast as Thatcher in The Crown

20th January 2019

Gillian Anderson has reportedly been cast as Margaret Thatcher in Netflix’s The Crown.

Netflix’s royal drama, which charts the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, has won two Golden Globes over its first two seasons, including Best Actress in a Drama for Claire Foy as Her Maj. But the show is already moving on to new faces, as the programme steps forward in history and needs a cast that looks the right age for its characters. That means we’ll have Olivia Colman as Liz, Outlander’s Tobias Menzies replacing Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Erin Doherty as Anne, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Ben Daniels as Lord Snowdon, replacing Matthew Goode, and Helena Bonham Carter taking on the mantel of Princess Margaret. Joining them are Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country) as Prince Charles, and Killing Eve writer Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles.

Netflix, though, is already looking forward to the show’s fourth season, and while the royal side of the ensemble is locked down, there’s still the question of casting Britain’s changing political leaders – specifically, Margaret Thatcher. Coquettish, imperious and played by everyone from Meryl Streep to a talking puppet, they’re tough shoes to fill, but The Sunday Times reports that Gillian Anderson will be the one stepping into them.

Anderson, who has just starred in Netflix’s hit series Sex Education, will, according to both The Times and Deadline, play The Iron Lady in Season 4. With Season 3 yet to air, that means you can expect to see sporting the iconic handbag next year, when the show is expected to move from Season 3’s 1960s to the 1970s, when Thatcher became PM in 1979.

Until then, you can see the first images of the show’s other new cast members.

The Crown casts Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles

24th October 2018

The Crown has officially found its Camilla Parker Bowles.

Call the Midwife’s Emerald Fennell will play Camilla Shand, as she’ll be known this season, the aristocrat who had an affair with Prince Charles.

Netflix’s royal drama, which charts the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, is in the process of swapping its cast for Season 3, as the show moves through history at pace and its real life characters age.

Fennell, who has appeared in Pan, The Danish Girl and Anna Karenina, is also a writer on Killing Eve. She joins Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country) as Charles, whom she went on to marry in 2005.

“I’m absolutely over the moon, and completely terrified, to be joining so many hugely talented people on The Crown. I absolutely love Camilla, and am very grateful that my teenage years have well prepared me for playing a chain-smoking serial snogger with a pudding-bowl haircut,” she said in a statement.

The rest of the cast includes Erin Doherty as Anne, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Ben Daniels as Lord Snowdon, replacing Matthew Goode as the photographer and husband of Princess Margaret, who will be played by Helena Bonham Carter. And, at the heart of the ensemble, Outlander’s Tobias Menzies will replace Matt Smith as Prince Philip and Olivia Colman will play Queen Elizabeth herself, replacing the award-winning Claire Foy.

The Crown Season 3 will premiere in 2019.

Josh O’Connor and Marion Bailey join The Crown Season 3

23rd July

Josh O’Connor and Marion Bailey have joined the cast of The Crown for Season 3.

The latest in a string of recastings and addition for Netflix’s royal drama, as it moves to a new era of history, the BAFTA-nominated star of God’s Own Country will play Prince Charles. Allied veteran Bailey will play the Queen Mother.

“I am thrilled to be joining The Firm for the next instalment of The Crown. Seasons 3 and 4 will follow some of the most turbulent events in the Prince of Wales’s life and our national story and I’m excited to be bringing to life the man in the midst of it all,” comments O’Connor. “I’m very aware it’s a formidably talented family to be joining, but reliably informed I have the ears for the part and will fit right in.”

“It’s a brilliant show and we have a tough act to follow but what a gift to be playing the fascinating and greatly loved Queen Mother,” adds Bailey. “Thrilled to be on board and working with such a top notch team.”

The Crown Season 3 will launch in 2019. See the first pictures from the series.

Call the Midwife’s’ Erin Doherty to play The Crown’s Prince Anne

26th June 2018

Call the Midwife’s Erin Doherty will play Prince Anne in Netflix’s The Crown.

Netflix’s royal drama, which charts the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, is in the process of shuffling its cast for the new season, as the show moves through history at pace and its real life characters age.

Now, the latest piece of the regal puzzle has been found in the form of Erin Doherty, who has been cast as the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Her casting comes hot on the heels of The Exorcist’s Ben Daniels joining the cast as Lord Snowdon, replacing Matthew Goode as the photographer and husband of Princess Margaret. Margaret, meanwhile, will be played by Helena Bonham Carter instead of Vanessa Kirby.

Other recastings include Outlander’s Tobias Menzies replacing Matt Smith as Prince Philip and Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth herself, replacing the award-winning Claire Foy.

What we do know yet is who will play the Queen Mother or who will play Roddy Llewellyn, the gardener whom Margaret will have an affair with.

Ben Daniels to play Lord Snowdon in The Crown Season 3

21st June 2018

Ben Daniels will play Lord Snowdon in Season 3 of The Crown.

Netflix’s royal drama, which charts the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, is in the process of shuffling its cast for the new season, as the show moves through history at pace and its real life characters age.

Claire Foy’s award-winning turn as the monarch is bidding farewell, paving the way for Olivia Colman to inherit the role. Outlander’s Tobias Menzies will take over from Matt Smith to play Prince Philip, while Jason Watkins has been cast as Harold Wilson.

Helena Bonham Carter will officially replace Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, and now, Netflix has found the man to play her husband, Anthony Armstrong-Jones. The photographer and socialite, who was played by Matthew Goode last season, got married towards the end of Season 2. With that taking placing in 1960, and Season 3 moving forward into the 1970s, Goode is being replaced in the role, as the show begins to chart the downturn of their marriage, which will be hit by Margaret’s affair with gardening expert Roddy Llewellyn in 1973.

Stepping into Goode’s shoes? Ben Daniels, the British star of The Exorcist TV series. Daniels, who has also appeared in House of Cards and BBC’s Hollow Crown, as well as Rogue One, impressed in Fox’s horror series based on the iconic film. With that cancelled after two seasons, Daniels has become a lot more available for other projects, and it comes as no surprise that the actor has already landed a prominent gig.

“After being glued to the first two seasons of The Crown I am beyond thrilled to be joining the cast of this incredible piece of television,” said Daniels in a statement. Snowdon was such a dynamic and complex man, I’m really looking forward to playing him.”

Helena Bonham Carter and Jason Watkins join The Crown Season 3

3rd May 2018

Helen Bonham Carter and Jason Watkins have joined Season 3 of the Crown, Netflix has confirmed.

Helena Bonham Carter has been attached to the royal drama to play HRH Princess Margaret for some time, as the series undergoes a cast reshuffle to portray Queen Elizabeth and her family as the characters age.

Indeed, Claire Foy’s award-winning turn as the monarch is bidding farewell, paving the way for Olivia Colman to inherit the role. Outlander’s Tobias Menzies will take over from Matt Smith to play Prince Philip. Now, Netflix has confirmed that Bonham Carter will officially replace Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.

“I’m not sure which I’m more terrified about – doing justice to the real Princess Margaret or following in the shoes of Vanessa Kirby’s Princess Margaret. The only thing I can guarantee is that I’ll be shorter (than Vanessa).”

In addition to that, Jason Watkins has been cast as Harold Wilson.

“I am delighted to become part of this exceptional show,” says Watkins. “And so thrilled to be working once again with Peter Morgan. Harold Wilson is a significant and fascinating character in our history. So looking forward to bringing him to life, through a decade that transformed us culturally and politically. And excited to be working so closely with Olivia; and the whole team.”

The Crown Season 3 will launch in 2019.

Outlander’s Tobias Menzies to play Prince Philip in The Crown

29th March 2018

Outlander’s Tobias Menzies will play Prince Philip in The Crown.

Netflix’s royal drama, which charts the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, is in the middle of a unprecedented reshuffle, as the series sees its characters age. And so, with its third season, Claire Foy’s award-winning turn as the monarch is bidding farewell, paving the way for Olivia Colman to inherit the role. Vanessa Kirby’s Princess Margaret will become Helena Bonham Carter’s Princess Margaret. The question, though, has been who will step into Matt Smith’s shoes as Prince Philip.

While Paul Bettany was initially reported to be in talks to play the husband of the queen, THR confirms that Outlander’s Tobias Menzies will take on the role for Season 3 and 4. His casting arrives after The Crown made headlines, following the revelation that Smith was paid more than Foy for the first two seasons. The producers have since insisted that nobody will be made more than the queen in future seasons.

Paul Bettany in talks to play The Crown’s Prince Philip

22nd January 2018

With Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter in place to inherit Netflix’s The Crown, there’s been one question plaguing fans of the royal drama in recent weeks: who will play Prince Philip?

The streaming giant’s lavish production charts the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from her childhood and coronation to the decades that followed, all supported by her husband, Prince Philip. Creator Peter Morgan has made no secret of the fact that the cast will change for the third run onwards, as the characters age – bidding farewell to Claire Foy’s award-winning turn as Elizabeth and Vanessa Kirby’s charming Princess Margaret.

Matt Smith’s petulant Philip, who grown from self-centred man to supportive husband, has been an increasingly important figure in the biopic, particularly in the show’s second season. If there were any doubts about being able to replace him, though, Netflix’s pick for the part should put all fears immediately at ease: Variety reports that Paul Bettany is now in talks for the role.

The British actor will be known to film and TV fans around the world for his roles in Marvel’s blockbusters, and will soon appear in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but he’s no stranger to smaller dramas and historical roles, impressing in roles such as Charles Darwin over his diverse career. He’s also no stranger to Netflix, delivering a brilliant performance in Manhunt: Unabomber in recent weeks.

Now, Variety has confirmed that he is lined up to replace Smith, marking the latest piece of high quality, high profile casting for the series. Colman, Bonham Carter and Bettany? That really would be a royal flush for Britain’s top talent.

Helena Bonham Carter to play The Crown’s Princess Margaret

6th January 2018

helena bonham carter

Helena Bonham Carter is reportedly lined up to play Princess Margaret in Netflix’s The Crown.

The streaming giant’s royal drama stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith as Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, but while they have won audience affection and awards acclaim over two seasons, series creator Peter Morgan has made no secret of the fact that the cast will change for the third run onwards, as the characters age. Last year, Netflix announced that Olivia Colman will replace Claire Foy as Elizabeth – and now, the Evening Standard reports that her sister, Margaret, is close to being cast.

“We are told that Helena Bonham Carter is all but confirmed to play the inimitable royal,” says the Standard. Bonham Carter, who has played the full gamut of roles from Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd to the Queen Mother in The King’s Speech, would be a natural choice to step into the shoes of Vanessa Kirby, capable of bringing enough humour, edginess and decadence to the royal role. And with everything from Liz Taylor (in Burton and Taylor) to A Room with a Review on her CV, she’s also comfortable in period drama.

She is no stranger to the world of royalty in real life, either, her home in Oxfordshire was once owned by Jane Stevens, Princess Margaret’s former lady-in-waiting.

Olivia Colman to replace Claire Foy as The Crown’s Queen Elizabeth

27th October 2017

olivia colman hyude park

The Crown Season 2 arrives later this year, but the return of Netflix’s lavish royal drama comes with a sad note, as it as also marks the last time that we will see Claire Foy and Matt Smith as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

The pair have won viewers over across the UK with their portrayal of the royal couple, but the series’ sheer scale means that they can’t continue to play those roles forever. Creator Peter Morgan confirmed when the first season was released that the programme would need to recast those leads to keep up with its characters’ ages – and with Season 2 taking the royal couple up to 1964, Season 3 onwards will require a new head wearing the crown.

“We couldn’t go any further than where we get to at the end of Season 2 with Claire and Matt,” he told us in an interview. “We need to get a middle-aged Queen. In fact, a middle-aged everybody. And that could be an exciting challenge. It would feel like a different show.”

Who could possibly replace Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth? Netflix has found a more-than-worthy successor: Olivia Colman.

Deadline confirms that Colman will take on the role, as the actor’s star continues to rise higher and higher. After roles in such films as Tyrannosaur and Cuban Fury, and such TV shows as Broadchurch, Colman has become a veritable national treasure. She recently won a Golden Globe for her role in The Night Manager, a co-production between the BBC and AMC. Season 3 of The Crown would mark the second time she has played a royal, following a part as Queen Elizabeth’s mother in Hyde Park on Hudson.

Netflix has not officially ordered a third or fourth season of The Crown yet, but the show is expected to continue, with Foy herself already winning an Emmy for her lead role in Season 1, as well as a Golden Globe.

Season 2 of The Crown premieres on Friday 8th December.

Claire Foy pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth as The Crown looks to future seasons

9th January 2017

Claire Foy hailed Best Actress in a Drama Series at the 2017 Golden Globes, thanks to her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. Netflix’s royal drama swept the nation away when it premiered last year, chronicling the rise of the young Elizabeth following the death of her father, and her relationship with Winston Churchill.

John Lithgow was also nominated for his turn as the former Prime Minister, while the show took home the Best Drama prize overall – Netflix’s first major series win at the Globes.

Speaking to the press, Foy paid tribute to the real life Queen, thanking the monarch in both her speech and in her backstage press interviews.

On stage, she called Elizabeth II “extraordinary”, celebrating the fact that she “has been at the centre of the world for 63 years”.

“I think the world could do with a few more women at the centre of it, if you ask me,” she added.

When asked what she’d say to Elizabeth II, Foy joked that she’d want to know if she’d seen the show.

“I’d just like to hear her talk for about two hours. That would be nice,” she said.

Foy, who beat Stranger Things’ Winona Ryder and Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood to take the prize, also singled out Lithgow and Matt Smith for their performances.

Lithgow was trumped by The Night Manager’s Hugh Laurie in the Supporting Actor category, but said the popularity of Netflix’s show was “astonishing”.

“It delights all of us,” he told the press. “We knew we were doing something fine – from day one, we knew this was going to be extraordinary, but we didn’t dream it would so popular globally.”

The show is currently filming its second season, with Foy and Smith returning as Elizabeth and Prince Philip. With the Queen still going strong today, though, the programme could continue with many more seasons to come – and, after Season 2, will need to recast its leads to keep up with the characters’ ages.

Series creator Peter Morgan confirmed to the press that the next run will take the royal couple up to 1964.

“We leave behind a certain kind of Britain and we enter a new Britain,” he commented. “At the end of Season 2, we will have to start thinking about a new cast because our cast will reach a limit about what they can play.”

The future, he admitted, was daunting.

“The danger of writing a story about someone with a long life is that the story goes on and on and on,” he joked.

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