The Hollywood Reporter – 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.
When you first signed onto The Crown, did you think it would catch on the way it appears to have?
No, not a clue. I knew it was very, very special. I knew that the people who were making it were people I really looked up to and respected and admired. So, I knew that I was very, very lucky to be doing it, but you never know the outcome of something. You never know how it’s going to turn out. It’s kind of a chemical reaction when you get all of those people together and see what comes out of the other end. I don’t think we can ever really judge what’s going to happen. So I’ve been continually surprised and overwhelmed and amazed and proud and just feel ultimately really, incredibly lucky that I have been part of something that people have appreciated.
Along with that, you’ve seen your career suddenly blow up, too. Have have you been handling your newfound fame?
Well, I’m one step removed from it, in a way, because I’ve seen it with friends and I’ve seen it from the outside and I’ve seen people suddenly be in something that gets them an overwhelmingly positive response. So I’ve seen that. And, in reality, not a lot changes. I’ve seen it from the outside enough to not be overwhelmed too much by it, I suppose. And also, my life has stayed very, very much the same. I think it’s more of the fact that you notice the difference in people you’re talking to and the roles you’re going up for. That’s the real difference. I’m like, “Oh, this is nice that I’ve been suddenly allowed to talk to you.” (Laughs.) It’s a funny thing. But also, I’m well-aware that it’s not something that you can keep up for a long time. I’m not taking it all too terribly seriously.
Speaking of the roles coming to you, you landed a part in Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic, First Man. And there are reports that you’re starring in The Girl in the Spider’s Web as well. Is that true?
Any other projects you’d like to share?
God, no. That’s enough. That’s quite enough for me. I’ve done a couple of things that will come out, but that was a while ago. But I’m so, so, so excited about First Man. I just think she [Armstrong’s wife Janet Shearon] is amazing and she’s just an absolute cracker, so I feel very, very lucky and I can’t wait to start doing it. But yeah, I’ve got quite enough on my plate. (Laughs.) I’ve got an awful lot of work to do.
Are you looking to do more film than television now?
No. I’ve never in my entire career thought, “This is what I will do now and this is what I will do…” because I just don’t think life works like that. I don’t think you can predict anything. So I’m much more of, if I can see it, then I will make a decision about it. Also, my gut is my guide in the sense that if it doesn’t feel right, regardless of whether it makes a lot of sense, then I just can’t do it. But luckily with Janet Armstrong, I thought it was right. On paper, I’m not the prime candidate. I’m an English woman. (Laughs.) But I just thought that it was right. Thank God Damien did as well.
What’s the process like of having to say goodbye to your character and then see someone else take her on?
I don’t really feel like I have yet because there’s so much post-production to do and publicity. I think once the show’s on and once I start First Man, I’ll really be like, “OK, it’s over. It’s over.” 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’s not like we’ve done two seasons and they said, “No, we’re pulling the plug.” It’ll go on and have another life. Someone else will take on this amazing role and I’m not the first person to play that part. I have taken that role on from other people who’ve played it before. So it’s in the nature of the role that it will keep reincarnating and that that story will keep being told. I can’t wait to watch it and I just think whoever they get to play that part, they’ll be extraordinary because they’re an extraordinary team. 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 and thankful and grateful for the opportunity I had with that role. It’s been amazing for my life.
If you could cast the role in the next iteration, who would you want to play her?
I can’t possibly do that. That’s so unfair. No way. I can’t. (Laughs.)
How have you seen your character evolve over the course of the two season you’ve played her?
God, if I think about, she was a child when she got married. In a way, when you look at her life, she was so young when she came to the throne. And then you watch her be stranded and confused and feel inadequate, and then find her strengths. It’s one step forward and nine steps back in that early part of her reign. And then you see her come into her own, really, and realize the limitations and realize her role and duty. Then it’s another set of challenges. She realizes that but then the world is changing around her and she can’t keep up really — and the monarchy can’t keep up. Also, she’s in a different part of her life. She’s moving into middle age and her marriage is changing. So you do follow someone from infancy to adulthood in that way. She was so naïve and sheltered to get to a point where she sees the world more clearly — and that can be quite a humbling experience. I feel like I’ve lived with her through that.
There’s been a lot of speculation over whether the Queen has watched the show or not. What do you think?
Well, we definitely know that some people [close to her] have watched. They definitely have. I’m sure that Netflix in some way would be able to find out if they were under some massive breach of security, and they could see if the Queen has a Netflix account and that she was active at 11:00 p.m. on the Thursday night. But I don’t know what to believe more than anyone else. In my head as me, I like to believe that she hasn’t watched it because it makes my life easier and it makes me not have to consider that aspect of it. There’s also the likelihood that she has — but I’m living in the world of ignorance where I think that she hasn’t watched it. It’s a nice place to be and I shall stay here living in the idea that maybe she hasn’t watched it. (Laughs.)
What’s the biggest misconception about your character?
That she doesn’t feel. That she’s a distant, unfeeling person. I think she feels everything — she just doesn’t express it. That’s my idea.
If you could switch roles with any other Emmy nominee in any category, who would it be and why?
John Lithgow. (Laughs.) I’d like to play Winston Churchill. Why not let a woman have a crack at it?
If your character in The Crown had to join another show or film, which one do you think it would be and why?
Big Little Lies just because she’d be part of the sisterhood and she would be great in that group of women.
If your character was male, how would she look different?
It would just be same old, same old. Wouldn’t it? It would just be a story of a man in a powerful position of his country. Nobody wants to watch that. (Laughs.) Christ. History is full of that. We could do without that.
What’s the strangest fan interaction you’ve had?
I’ve got two actually. I had one the other day. I went to a fish and chips shop — the most English thing you could ever possibly do — and a woman had been out on a Tinder date and she was quite drunk and we were talking about her Tinder date. And then I got a Facetime call from my mom halfway through, and for some reason me talking to my mother made her realize that she’d watched me on TV and she started crying. I was like, “Why are you crying?” That’s really a peculiar reaction, for me anyway. I’ve never had anyone just cry at me unless they’ve been really upset because I’d done something. It was an odd experience but lovely. I think it was because she was a bit drunk. She was not really expecting to see me in a fish and chips shop. It was the date, it was the fish and chips, it was the alcohol and it all got a bit much. It was the only one I’ve ever had weirdly, but it was a special one.
Entertainment Weekly – Thursday morning, Claire Foy received an Emmy nomination for her performance in Netflix drama The Crown, where she plays Queen Elizabeth II. EW caught up with the actress to see how she reacted to the news.
This is your first Emmy nomination — you must be super excited.
I feel very, very honored and also a bit all-of-a-fluster. I’ve never been before and I can’t wait.
The Crown was nominated in a few other categories too including best drama series, best supporting actor for John Lithgow, and for best writing and directing. Will you guys be in touch to celebrate? Is there a group text?
We’ll definitely be in touch. We just finished shooting the second season so we probably won’t see each other, but it’s not long to wait — it’s only until September — and we’ll all get together and have a big old party. I’ll definitely be getting in touch with John to say congratulations. But we’ve all just worked together again for a long time so we’re sick of the sight of each other — we’ll all be like, “Yeah, yeah, see you September.”
Looking back at season 1, was there any particular scene or episode that stood out to you and made you realize how big this show was going to be?
I really loved episode 9 (“The Assassins”). I just really thought it was near perfect. That’s the episode when Churchill is having his portrait painted and where Philip and Elizabeth have a real break in their marriage and you start to see the cracks in what they’ve been through. Not that I enjoyed playing that or relished the confrontation, but I felt like I could really get into it at that point and I really enjoyed doing those scenes with Matt [Smith], and Ben Caron, who directed those episodes, was just amazing to work with.
It’s so great because, as a viewer, you’re really rooting for both of them; you want both Elizabeth and Philip to get their way. I just want them to be happy together!
I know! That’s all you want, for them to work things out, but it only gets worse in the second series. It’s like, bloody hell, it’s just awful!
They need to go on another safari and have fun.
Exactly! Go back to Africa! I think that’s why it’s so great; they’re not perfect people, and Peter [Morgan, the series creator] is really good at not trying to paint them that way. I don’t know how he writes these scenes between people who’ve got all sorts of complications and problems and all you want them to do is have a cuddle.
How’s working with Matt Smith? He seems like he’d be a dream.
Doesn’t he? He’s amazing. He’s become a real, real friend, so going to work
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with him was amazing. It was great when I knew the days that he’d be in. I love him.
So is season 2 all wrapped?
Yeah, it’s all done. It was amazing. It was completely different, like a completely different show in a way. The direction the show has gone in is very different and the period of time is moving on, so it does feel very different. It was also lucky because [season 1] came out while we were all shooting so it was really lovely that it went down so well. It was really lovely for all of the crew and the cast to be like, “Woohoo, we’re doing it again!”
Is there anything you can tease for the next season? You’ve got the Americans to contend with now with the addition of J.F.K.
I absolutely fell in love with Jodi Balfour [who plays Jackie Kennedy]. She’s just brilliant, and Michael C. Hall [who plays Jack Kennedy] is just incredible. You really see how amazing it is to put Philip and Elizabeth — their marriage and their world — suddenly into the 1960s. You see how the royal family has to start changing and move with the times and realize that things and people are different, and you start to see the evolution of the modern monarchy.
Do you have a preference in terms of fashion for those different decades?
I loved wearing 1950s skirts, but I’m not a massive fan of the queen’s choice of wardrobe. I think when she was younger she didn’t have to have the uniform, she was more free, but as she gets older in the second season, she becomes much more like, “This is what I wear for work.” You start to see the formation of the queen as she looks now — the hair and everything.
Los Angeles Times – Claire Foy was no stranger to period dramas before portraying Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix’s “The Crown,” having played Anne Boleyn in the miniseries “Wolf Hall” as well as performing in a recent revival of “Upstairs Downstairs.” Perhaps that familiarity is what made her performance such a standout on “The Crown,” which earned 13 Emmy nominations, including Foy’s first in the lead actress in a drama category.
Where are you? Sounds like you’re outside.
I am in Hampstead Heath in London; it’s this big park. I was here when I got the news. My publicist was the first to contact me, and then it was just loads of people — lots of Americans — were contacting me. It’s the middle of the day there, whereas here, people are having dinner and stuff. It’s been lovely.
How are you going to celebrate?
Uh… I don’t… know. I think I’ll probably just save my celebrating when we actually can all get together at the Emmys and sit down and have a good ol’ drink. I’ll bottle up my celebration until September.
That sounds like something that queen would say. That’s a lot of willpower.
Ha! I’ll wait until the big party. I’m not really mad keen with the idea of celebrating, myself, that way we can all celebrate each other and pat ourselves on the back.
You wrapped production on Season 2. How has it been inhabiting this role? Are people recognizing you, or does the period garb make it easier for you to go unnoticed in real life?
We’ve been so overwhelmed by the reaction the show has received. But I don’t really get stopped on the street, to be honest. But most of the reaction I do get is the frantic question of: “When is the next one coming out?”
I also get people who want to blame you because they lost 10 hours of their life. They’ll be like: “I watched it all in one day!” You’re not really sure if you should say, “Thank you” or “I’m sorry.” It’s quite funny that people want to let you know that you took away their time. It just shows that people really appreciate it and enjoy it.
Going into Season 2, was there a greater ease in channeling Queen Elizabeth?
I think you could say it was easier, but at the same time, it’s harder in a way because you have to guard against thinking you know everything about her. All the directors and Peter Morgan really kept on top of us because they didn’t want us to rest on our laurels. And the storylines were more in-depth and complicated. We really felt comfortable, but at the same time tried not to get too comfortable.
How are the corgis?
I love the corgis, but when they’re on set, all bets are off. The corgis have complete creative control. We let them run free. If they want to take a scene in a particular direction, we’ll follow them.
Who are you excited to see on the big night? I really want a selfie of you with the “Stranger Things” kids.
Oh, I love them. They’re amazing. And they’re always the life of the parties, as well. It’s ridiculous. They’re there dancing until like 3 o’clock in the morning. I feel like an absolute ancient old lady next to them. Like, I’m trying to dance and they’re out there being like Justin Timberlake. And I’m a mother trying to dance next to them. But it would be lovely to see them again.
Vanity Fair – Claire Foy has to preserve her phone battery, because it’s dying and she’s far from home. Oh, and she just got an Emmy nomination, which means her line is going to be ringing off the hook for the next several hours. On Thursday morning, the star was tapped for best actress in a drama series for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s sumptuous series The Crown. Foy, who is currently in London, did not watch the nomination livestream, instead preferring to go for an early evening stroll in Hampstead Heath.
“I just got a text message about it, which was lovely,” she tells Vanity Fair.
It’s Foy’s first nomination, and the first of several nominations for the series, which was highlighted in multiple other categories—including outstanding drama series, directing, costume design, and more, as well as an acting nod for her co-star John Lithgow. “Amazing!” Foy says when she’s told, unaware until now of the show’s eventful Hollywood morning. She does let out a small “aw” when she finds out that co-star Jared Harris, who turned in a heartrending performance as King George VI, wasn’t nominated for his work. “It’s so difficult,” she says diplomatically of the Emmys process.
So, how will Foy celebrate her first-ever Emmy nod? By . . . not doing anything, really. “I won’t do any big celebration or anything like that. I’ll just walk across this bloody park for the next few minutes, probably—I’m trying to get out!”
As for how she would celebrate if she was channeling the character she plays? That would also be . . . a lot of nothing, really. “She’d just play it all down,” Foy muses. “I think, that’s her style. She’d just crack on.”
What about the next season of The Crown—which will also be Foy’s last, as Season 3 will jump ahead in the queen’s life? The actress can’t say much about the plot, but she does note that she’s excited for viewers to see the way the show approaches Elizabeth “coming into her middle age.”
“I’m constantly kind of surprised by her . . . she’s like all of us as you get older and as you change through life,” the actress says. “It’s interesting to watch how she approaches that and deals with that as a person as opposed to a monarch.”
Though it was rumored by an insider that the high-profile royal has actually watched The Crown, Foy doesn’t think that’s true, saying she’d prefer to “err on the side of no.”
“The only person who knows is her,” she adds. “I don’t have any direct communication with her, so I’ll never know.”
Mere mortals might also never know if the monarch decides to keep an eye on how The Crown performs at the Emmys this September—though the visual of Queen Elizabeth II tucking into an awards show makes Foy laugh.
“I don’t think she will,” she says. “Probably not. Do you think she’ll watch the Emmys?”
W Magazine – Claire Foy was fairly unknown until 2016, when she changed everyone’s idea of royalty with her role as a coming-of-age Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s The Crown. Foy, who won both the SAG and Golden Globe awards for Best Actress in a Drama, has now proved that she is a star. Here, the British actress talks about how she landed the life-changing role, what it’s like to wear the Queen’s girdle, and everything you can expect from the show’s second final season.
How old were you when you started thinking about becoming an actress?
Probably 20, which is quite late. It never really occurred to me that it was something that I could do really being an actress. I never really thought it was a life or a job or anything that was accessible to someone like me. So it was only when I went to university and kind of got a bit of confidence that I considered it, I suppose.
What was the first thing you auditioned for?
It was a TV show called Being Human. I played werewolf’s ex-fiancé who had epilepsy. And I wore like a really hideous sort of shiny coat with a fur hood. I didn’t have an agent at the time, so I went in just really luckily got the job.
Did you feel immediately like this is it, this is what I want to be doing?
Actually on that first job I had a terrible time and I was really bad in it. And I really struggled. I just didn’t get it. I remember the director shouting at me. “It’s time to start acting now, darling.” I’d never been on a film set in that way before. I had no idea what I was doing. But it was sort of a baptism of fire. But everyone’s got to have it because you can only learn on the job, in a way.
And did you not get depressed? You just kept going?
Yeah, then I just kept going really. I did a play, I did a bit more telly and then I just paid attention and tried to absorb how to behave as much as possible.
And how did The Crown come about?
The Crown came about kind of in a normal way, I suppose. I just got sent the script and I mean it was slightly odd. I was five months pregnant when I got sent it. And then they asked to meet and so I did and then I had to do a screen test and all the time I was thinking this is never gonna happen. This is never gonna happen.
And you were getting increasingly pregnant.
More and more pregnant, and it was getting more and more ridiculous the more pregnant I got going in for these auditions pretending to be the Queen of England. It was just really surreal. And then they offered it to me and I really had to make a kind of really serious life decision at that point. Because I didn’t know what state I was gonna be in after having a child or anything. So yeah, it was a real leap of faith in a way.
How soon after you had the baby did you start doing the show?
Four months after. Looking back now, I just sort of made the decision, I’ll just think about it later. I’ll think about it later. And then what happens when you’re working TV or film, the machine starts happening and you just sort of go along with it in a way. And so that’s what I did. And it’s been amazing. I would have always wanted to go back to work after having a child – always, always. So, it was just I went in at the deep end, I think, in a way.
At the time, were you worried at all?
Yeah, I said to my agent I just don’t know what I’m gonna do. Physically or mentally after having a child you don’t know what you’re gonna be like. It’s a completely life-changing experience. And so he always said, you know, “We’ll, just wait and see.”
I think especially now, and I don’t know what it’s like so much in America, but in England, women going back to work after having a child, it’s not made easy for them. Childcare costs a huge amount of money and you’re sort of made to feel like, it’s very difficult to go back to work and be a mother. It’s just really, really hard. And that’s the role of the mother. So it’s a really interesting thing to go through.
Did you know a lot about the royal family before being The Crown?
No, I didn’t know anything about it. I just never really considered it. I think in England you sort of learn about the monarchs of the past and how they came to the throne, and you have the Tudors and Henry VIII and all those sorts of things, because they’re further away and also they were so much more dramatic, I suppose. You don’t really investigate your modern monarchy. And she is the modern monarchy. You know, she’s 91 but she’s still on the throne. And I supposed it’s just not something that you ever really consider because you just take that person for granted. But I really think it’s worth investigating a person who has lived the life that she has and seen so many changes in political and kind of social – it’s amazing.
What are the costumes like? Did she wear corsets or just girdles?
She just wore girdles really, but I had to wear a corset because I had quite a lot of baby weight in the beginning. I never, ever thought I’d get back to normal. I always thought, this is my body. It’s quite funny actually thinking about it because the costume designer, Michelle Captain, as time gradually wore on, I started to kind of lose [weight]. It’s mainly like your ribs and everything. It took about kind of 18 months to get back to sort of [normal]. But the thing I really noticed, looking back now, I’ve got quite a significantly padded brassiere on because the first series it was all my own work. I’ve never known anything like it. But the second time round they were like, “Ha, where have they gone?” And I was like, “I know. They’ve gone.” So, yeah, the first one I did a lot of my own kind of Queen breastwork, I suppose. Oh, she’d be so ashamed of me.
Do you have any indication that the royals have seen it?
You know, they are mysterious by nature. We definitely know that certain members of the Royal family have watched it and we definitely know that certain members of the household have watched it. We have people on set who have worked for the royal house and they would have a, you know, not a knowledge of whether they watched it. So, they were definitely aware of it. Whether they’ve watched the entire 10 hours of their life repeated back at them, I’m not sure. But you know I hope that it would never be viewed as something that would be a negative or salacious or anything like that. We just tried to tell a truthful story.
We have an amazing man on set, Major David, who is incredibly vigilant about [all the details] – that footman would never open that door, his badges would never be on at that angle. So we’ve got somebody who’s constantly checking that we’re doing the right thing because we’d never get it right on our own. We need like an overlord telling us what to do.
In the first series, the Queen is quite young. What’s next for the show?
Yeah, well that was the great thing about the first series, that you saw an evolution of a person which I think is lovely. The second series will be interesting because it will be different, I think. [It starts] where we left off, so ’63. So get kind of Tony Armstrong-Jones, and the swinging sixties.
And, of course, your sister?
Margaret, yeah. She’s naughty. Very minxy. She gets even naughtier even though she gets married. The naughtiness just continues. And I just get more and more, you know…. There’s lots of references to my age in this series, which is interesting. I don’t know whether life is imitating art or the other way around. I don’t know what’s going on but yeah, it is interesting to see her change in this one.
And this is it, you’re done, right?
I’m done, yeah.
Are you sad?
Oh, I’ll be so – I mean, I’ve always known that we were gonna just do two series. So it’s lovely having known that and now it’s coming to an end and it feels like it’s time for us to finish, definitely. But I just – I’ll just miss everyone so much. It’s just the most wonderful group of people. And also it’s been a really special time in my life and I’ll always remember it for that, from having a child and doing this extraordinary thing and having all of these extraordinary experiences, all because of this one character. It’s quite amazing. I’ll look back very, very fondly. Or I’ll cling onto it.