People – We already knew that the corgis starring in The Crown were talented – they have their own trailer for the new season, after all! But they really seem to have the acting thing down to a fine art.
And their skills are on full display in a certain scene coming up in season 2 of the Netflix drama, which PEOPLE observed during a set visit earlier this year. As Queen Elizabeth, played by Claire Foy, and Jodi Balfour’s Jackie Kennedy wrap up a scene where they have an intimate, get-to-know-you chat, Foy’s character says, “Right, we’re going now.” And in take after take, the dog, resting in her lap, faithfully looked up at her right on cue.
Foy may have the magic touch in capturing the look and character of the Queen’s younger years, but she modestly brushes off praise for the way the corgi behaved in her lap.
“Dogs are quite perceptive and if you talk to them they tend to look in your direction. Often they don’t. That was probably just lucky,” she says. “I definitely don’t have some sort of Dr. Doolittle secret!”
Along with the corgis, the upcoming season features a few new arrivals with the births of Princes Andrew and Edward. Season two will also touch on the Queen’s difficulties to adjusting to a new era on the eve of the ’60s.
“I think [Queen Elizabeth] starts to realize she needs to pay more attention to her personal life now that the other part of her life is going all right,” says Foy.
“The world’s changing faster than anyone can catch up with. There is no letup. She just keeps having to go from one crisis to another to another, and at some point, it’s about five crises at the same time and you have no idea how she manages to get up in the morning,” Foy adds.
Mirror – Actress Claire Foy is hoping to be victorious, happy and glorious at the Emmy Awards tomorrow after wowing 200 million viewers worldwide.
British star Claire – a young Queen Elizabeth in The Crown – is hotly tipped to be voted Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Yet despite her role alongside Matt Smith in the Netflix hit – plus huge parts in Little Dorrit and as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall – Claire can still walk down the street unrecognised.
And while enjoying the lack of intrusion, she admits she’s a little bit miffed!
Mum-of-one Claire, speaking ahead of the ceremony in Los Angeles, even said she would have to beg to get attention!
She said: “I am not joking. I’ve actually been out in my Queen’s wig and full costume for dinner in London while we’ve been shooting, and even then people [didn’t care].
“Me and Matt walked into a restaurant together and a woman went, ‘Oh, you look nice!’ I was like, ‘Are you joking!’
“It never happens. I was on the Tube – I mean, I can’t even tell you! Like, throw me a bone! Christ!”
Claire was on fine form as she told how producers bent over backwards to accommodate her once they decided she should play Elizabeth.
She was heavily pregnant and insisted that being allowed to breastfeed on set was “non negotiable”.
Claire, wed to actor Stephen Campbell Moore, 37, had a daughter in February 2015 – just before filming started.
She said: “I was obviously really pregnant, so I was like, ‘My baby would be three months old when I start this job’.
“And then I did a screen test dressed as the pregnant Queen, and they were like, ‘Yeah, we want you to do it.’
“And I was like, ‘I need to be able to breastfeed on location. I probably need a trailer for the baby.’ ‘Okay, sure.’
“I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I didn’t go massively power hungry. That’s where my demands stopped.
“I’m so grateful they decided I was the right person. I feel very, very lucky.
“And I know that is very unlikely in every other job that I do that I’ll have that free rein . . . which is a bit of a pun.”
Of life on set, she added: “There was a lot of walking around with child in pram, very tired listening to the Queen make Christmas speeches on my iPhone and reading and just cramming really.”
Claire said she only took the role after convincing herself she could juggle work with being a mum.
She said: “I didn’t know what physical state I would be in. You could be annihilated. But I also thought ‘what if I don’t respond well to it mentally?’
“It’s like ‘what if, what if, what if’?”
The actress also revealed she and co-star Matt , who plays Prince Philip, initially feared The Crown could be an expensive flop. Talking about the lavish £85million budget, she explained: “It was quite terrifying. It was the unknown. I looked at the actors, the directors and the writer and all the creative team and crew and I went, ‘this is something very, very special regardless of whether anyone likes it or not’.
“Because you’re so used to being in things nobody watches, or nobody cares about, or everyone thinks is rubbish and everyone’s got an opinion and blah, blah, blah’. And so it felt like, in a weird way, it felt like it was just for me.”
Claire’s fears were unfounded as the show became a massive success. Netflix , along with Left Bank Pictures, spared no expense in making the first series over a year.
It has since won a Golden Globe and been nominated for four BAFTAs – while Claire was voted outstanding actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in LA.
And the most uncomfortable on-set experience for Claire turned out not to be baby related at all.
She broke an elbow in a tumble at a friend’s wedding – then had to film scenes where the Queen mourns her father King George VI.
Looking back on her early days, Stockport-born Claire recalls suffering stage fright as a young actress. She overcame it and shot to fame with the BBC’s Dickensian drama Little Dorrit in 2008.
Claire said: “It was a real learning curve for me. I am quite expressive, loud and big and she was very contained and tiny and meek.”
She has finished work on the second series of The Crown, which airs at Christmas and will be her last.
And she added: “It’s wonderful to be part of something people have enjoyed. It’s very weird to suddenly be in a position where people think that you’re worth their attention. Even if at all ends from there, it is all really lovely.”
The Hollywood Reporter – One of this year’s biggest breakout stars — she won Golden Globe and SAG awards for her portrayal of young Queen Elizabeth II in the most expensive TV series ever made (Netflix allocated $100 million for its first two seasons) — reflects on auditioning while pregnant, playing a woman famous for hiding her emotions and growing as an actress.
“For me, the most challenging thing about it was endurance,” says Claire Foy, the 33-year-old British actress whose portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II on season one of Netflix’s The Crown earned her best actress in a drama series Golden Globe and SAG awards earlier this year and has made her the frontrunner to win the equivalent Emmy. As we sit down at Netflix’s FYSee interactive exhibition space in Beverly Hills to record an episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast, Foy continues, “I had a small child, I had the biggest job of my life, I broke my elbow — so it was more of just, like, ‘I can do this!'”
Foy was born and raised near Manchester, England, and briefly flirted with careers in dance and cinematography before committing to acting and eventually studying it at the Oxford School of Drama. Soon after graduating, she began working on TV projects of growing prestige, including several BBC offerings — the 2008 miniseries Little Dorrit; the reboot of the drama series Upstairs Downstairs, which ran from 2010 through 2012; the 2012 miniseries White Heat; and the 2015 miniseries Wolf Hall — as well as Channel 4’s 2011 miniseries The Promise. Her performances generally won widespread praise from critics, but it wasn’t until last Nov. 4 of 2016, when Netflix dropped the entire first season of The Crown, that a much larger audience began to appreciate what a remarkable talent she is.
At the recommendation of casting director Nina Gold, who previously had cast Foy in Wolf Hall (and “who I owe my life to,” the actress says), she was invited to audition for the principal part in the drama series, which Netflix had commissioned with 10 seasons in mind, each chronicling a different chapter of the Queen’s ongoing reign. Informed that it was the brainchild of Peter Morgan, the same man who was behind the 2006 film The Queen and the 2015 Broadway play The Audience (both of which also center around the Queen, and which brought Helen Mirren an Oscar and a Tony, respectively), and that several of its episodes would be directed by Stephen Daldry (who also helmed The Audience), she was intrigued — but faced a dilemma. “I was five months pregnant,” she says with a chuckle. “I was like, ‘Well, I’ll just go in and meet them. I’m not gonna get it, but it’ll give me something to do for the next couple of weeks.'” As it turned out, her physical state was not a deal-breaker and she was brought back for a screen test and then offered the part.
Netflix spared no expense on the prestige production, with seasons one and two costing a combined — and unprecedented — $100 million. The first spans the Queen’s marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Matt Smith), in 1947, through the resignation of Winston Churchill (John Lithgow), prime minister of the United Kingdom, in 1955. “That journey that she goes on in that first series is a fascinating one,” Foy says. “‘You think you know someone,’ is essentially the tale — you think you know someone, and actually you don’t know where they’ve come from, and don’t underestimate them, and don’t think that their life has been all wonderful and marvelous and ‘isn’t it great just’ because of the position that they’re in.” (Season two, which is expected in the fall, will pick up from there.)
For Foy, preparing to play the Queen involved juggling not only a massive script and a newborn child, but also studying biographies of the Queen, audio recordings of her giving speeches and footage of her throughout her early life, as well as working with a dialect coach. Once on set, she faced a new set of challenges. The years of the Queen’s life that she was to portray had to be shot out-of-sequence, starting with her coronation, and then jumping backwards and forwards, which was less than ideal. She also somehow had to convey the emotions of a monarch who has made a specialty of hiding her emotions. And, on top of all that, she broke her elbow mid-shoot. But the experience of making the show was never anything less than wonderful and felt less like working on a TV series than on “a very long movie,” she insists. “It more felt like a movie because the attention to detail and the heads of department and all the people that were on the crew were the best — the best of the best of the best of the best. Everyone. All the set dressers, all the costume standbys, all the makeup girls.”
As people have caught up with The Crown, Foy’s profile has grown, and many have speculated about her future. Some have inaccurately suggested that she has elected to leave the show after season two, when, in fact, it always was the plan for a new crop of actors to cycle through at that time. And she’s as excited as anyone to see what happens them: “I’ll be so interested to see how it works and what they do with it — they’re bound to do something really clever because they’re all really clever. And it is that thing of going, ‘It’s not about one person,’ because it hasn’t been — Kristin Scott Thomas has done it, Helen Mirren has done it—” and now Foy. (There are reports that one of the Queen’s sons and his wife have screened The Crown for her and that she has enjoyed it very much. Foy, who briefly met the Queen at a reception for Little Dorrit years ago, can’t help but laugh at the thought of this — but says she’d have a very different reaction if she actually saw the Queen again, having lived in her skin for The Crown: “I’d cry and I’d tell her I love her,” she says.)
As for widespread rumors that Foy may replace Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in the sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, she declines to comment, except to confirm that she wants her next project to be a major departure from the sort of period pieces she’s done recently. “I definitely don’t want to do something that’s similar to this [The Crown], just for my own sanity,” she says, before cracking, “but it doesn’t necessarily have to be me going mental.”
Meanwhile, Foy insists that outside of the industry, in the real world, not many pay her much notice at all. “No one gives two shits,” she says with a laugh. “I’m not joking. I literally would have to beg. I’d have to go out in my [Queen’s] wig. I’ve actually been out in my wig and full costume for dinner in London while we’ve been shooting, and even then people [didn’t care]. Me and Matt [Smith] walked into a restaurant together and a woman went, ‘Oh, you look nice!’ I was like, ‘Are you joking?!’ I mean, I was on the Tube — I mean, I can’t even tell you! Like, throw me a bone! Christ!”
More seriously, though, she expresses immense gratitude for the opportunity to star in The Crown and the interest in her that it has bred. “It’s wonderful to be part of something that people have enjoyed,” she says. “It’s very weird to suddenly be in a position where people think that you’re worth their attention — as in, it’s very enlightening and also lovely and also scary. But it’s a very, very interesting position to be in, and I think very few people are ever in this position, and I’m very much following John Lithgow and his sort of way of being in life, which is just, ‘Huh, this is what’s happening now? This is interesting, OK.’ And just receiving it all and just going, ‘This is lovely,’ and really enjoying that people have loved something that I’ve done. Even if at all ends from there, it’s really lovely. Really lovely.”
Deadline – A pioneer in the field of computer-generated performances with such films as Lord of the Rings (portraying Gollum) and King Kong—in which he plays Kong himself—Andy Serkis found his directorial breakthrough in The Jungle Book, which was pushed to 2018 so as not to conflict with Jon Favreau’s 2016 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of stories. But no matter—in the meantime, Serkis shot another film, Breathe, which bowed at the Toronto Film Festival this week.
Starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy—an Emmy frontrunner for her turn as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, that can’t quite process that reality at the moment—the film tells the true story of Robin Cavendish (Garfield), a young man paralyzed by polio, and Diana, the strong, brilliant woman who supported her husband through his deep depression and ultimate acceptance of his fate. With very little expectation of a long life for Robin, he and Diana elect to invent a new life for themselves, straying from Robin’s mandated hospital stay and pioneering in technology to better the lives of those suffering from this terrible condition.
Interestingly, this remarkable true story came to Serkis through his business partner at Imaginarium Productions, Jonathan Cavendish, the son of the couple on display in the film. Known for his work in very different kinds of movies, Serkis made a passionate pitch to direct the film. “Five or six years ago, we started Imaginarium [Productions]. It was a performance capture studio and a production entity with the view to creating lots of different projects, ‘next generation storytelling’ sort of projects, and then we had an old slate of films that he was wanting to make. One of these films was a film called Breathe, which he’d been working on for some time before we got together,” Serkis explains. ” I read it one night and, as most people did who read the script originally, I couldn’t stop crying. It was just so powerful, such a brilliant piece of writing, and I said to Jonathan, ‘I know I’m sort of more known for directing dwarves, goblins and creatures of Middle-earth, and jungle animals, but I really would love to direct this. What do you think?’”
“He said, ‘Absolutely’—without a blink, he just said, ‘Yeah,’” the director remembers. “So we started to develop it, and what I loved about it—what really inspired me to want to do it, actually, apart from the fact that it was the most amazing love story—was that it seemed to me to be a story about pioneering. At that point in the story when Diana says, ‘How can I make life better for you?’ and he says, ‘Get me out of here,’ from then on, they are basically creating life afresh in a way that had never been done before.”
Like Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything—a film which delivered that actor his first Oscar—Garfield is confined to a chair throughout the film, with a ventilator attached to keep him breathing. Undoubtedly, the role must have presented physical and logistical challenges for Garfield, among others, but as with his remarkable turn in last year’s Hacksaw Ridge, the actor is ever modest, placing the focus on the material and the remarkable people who really experienced these events.
“There’s a magic to it. There was a magic to their lives, there’s a magic to Jonathan, there’s a magic to the script that Bill Nicholson wrote, without wanting payment until the film got made. There was a magic to the whole process, and it was palpable,” Garfield says. “From my first reading of the script, I was so deeply and profoundly moved because it felt like a story that was so much more than about these two people. It was about how we can create meaning as human beings, how we can create lives of meaning and of joy, and of community amidst such terrible tragedy and loss, and laugh at the cosmic joke of existence.”
“And those words don’t do it justice,” he continues. “Their lives felt like a poem.”
A real logistical challenge for Serkis—more familiar with the extended shooting schedules of blockbuster films—the director and actors had to tell their story in 7 weeks, three of those weeks, in South Africa. While the production schedule was “incredibly intense,” it was the singular purpose of those involved with the production that made it all possible.
“We really were blessed, actually, because we had a fantastic crew—the most amazing people in all departments—who were all there because they wanted to tell the story,” Serkis says. “So that was brilliant. But watching these guys work together was so phenomenal, and what they released in each other was just beautiful to watch every single day.”