Netflix's 'The Crown' Paid Claire Foy Less Than Co-Star Matt Smith

Netflix's 'The Crown' Paid Claire Foy Less Than Co-Star Matt Smith

The Crown, Netflix's sumptuous, historically-based period piece starring Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, moves at roughly the pace of a state dinner, and every so often, Matt Smith's Prince Philip whines to his wife about the diminished sense of importance he feels playing second banana to the sovereign.

It sort of makes sense Smith was offered more initially - producers acknowledged he was a known commodity from Doctor Who - but Foy was the evident breakout star, earning multiple nominations, and wins at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, and had a ton more screen time than Smith.

"Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen", said Suzanne Mackie, one of the show's British producers, in comments reported by Variety.

Foy, however, will not be able to cash in on that promise: The series is replacing its leads for season three, when Olivia Colman will step into the role of Queen Elizabeth II.

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When The Crown premiered in 2016, Smith was the more recognizable star thanks to his 2010-2013 tenure as the 11th Doctor on Doctor Who. She was nominated for an Emmy for her role in 2017. New actors are being brought in to take over Foy and Smith's roles, among others, for the previously announced third and fourth seasons with those parts being recast for what is expected to be a fifth and sixth season.

The producers also admitted that the transition into a more contemporary story is a minefield for them, as they risk offending their actual subjects.

"Seasons 3 and 4 will be the test of whether the show really has the legs to survive", said Harries. That's a small fraction of the show's production budget of around $7 million per episode for its first two seasons, serving as one of the most expensive television series on air, according to Variety. "It's daunting but exciting and I hope it'll keep the series fresh and really of interest to people".

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