Olivia Colman says Claire Foy will be an “incredibly hard act to follow” on The Crown.
The star of Broadchurch and The Night Manager takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Foy, who portrays her in the early years of her reign.
She said: “I’m so thrilled to be part of The Crown. I was utterly gripped watching it.”
Colman will be in series three and four of the show and is due to be seen in the role from 2019.
She paid tribute to her predecessor, saying: “I think Claire Foy is an absolute genius – she’s an incredibly hard act to follow.
“I’m basically going to re-watch every episode and copy her.”
Foy was equally complimentary, saying she was “apoplectic with joy” when she found out Colman was being lined up for the show.
“I just love her, I admire her so much and the idea that we sort of will be doing the same job but not actually working together is just enough – I’m honoured by that,” she said.
It is yet to be revealed who will play Prince Philip. Former Doctor Who actor Matt Smith is currently starring as the Duke of Edinburgh.
He and Foy will soon be seen in the second series of the show, due for release in December.
Foy, who has won a Golden Globe for the part, has previously said she was aware she would only be in two series.
“This is the last stint,” she told The Graham Norton Show. “It’s over, I’m done.
“I always knew it was only going to be two series and then the part would be reincarnated and someone else takes over. That’s the nature of the part.”
Colman, who won a Golden Globe for The Night Manager and has also appeared in BBC Three’s Fleabag, will play the Queen in the years from 1963, when the monarch turned 37.
Another actress is expected to take over to play the monarch in later life.
Fans were excited by her casting, with one saying it was “amazing news”.
Colman has form starring as royalty. She played the future Queen Mother in 2012’s Hyde Park on Hudson and will be seen as Queen Anne in next year’s The Favourite.
Netflix’s drama started in 1947 with Elizabeth’s engagement to Prince Philip and is expected to continue up to the present day.
In an era of scant good news, we got some last week: Olivia Colman will play Queen Elizabeth II on the next two seasons of The Crown, taking over from Claire Foy after the upcoming second series. Fans were worried about who would fill the role, but Colman, of Broadchurch and The Night Manager, is BBC’s perfect choice to play the Queen during her middle years.
Let us tell you why: Firstly, she’s used to playing royalty. She played the future Queen Mother in Hyde Park on Hudson with Bill Murray, and Queen Anne in The Favourite, set for release next year. If anyone can pull off extreme regality, it’s Colman.
On top of that, the actress can make nearly anything interesting, and the time period covered by The Crown in seasons three and four, which Colman is now signed up for, are potentially the dullest, so her presence will be somewhat of a godsend. We’ll see her as Elizabeth in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, during which the most exciting event was probably one assassination attempt. (In the ’90s, we’ll get Elizabeth and—gasp—Diana!) Colman is pleasant and sunny in interviews but can make any part unmissable (see the anguish of her character in Broadchurch, her icy bitchiness in Fleabag, or the humor in W1A and Peep Show).
Lastly, Colman does beleaguered, long-suffering wife like a champ, turning what could be simpering roles into simmering ones. Her role in Broadchurch had her dealing not only with a cheating husband but one who was also a serial killer; on Peep Show she expertly played Sophie, who tolerates main character Mark’s quirks as stoically as anyone could. Hence, she’s perfectly suited to deal with the philandering Prince Philip (though we don’t know who will replace Doctor Who’s Matt Smith yet).
Colman’s predecessor is just as happy as we are, if you need more convincing. Claire Foy told Variety, “I just think she’s extraordinary. She’s an extraordinary human being as well. I just think that she will make it her own. And I just can’t wait to see what she does with it.”
Netflix has cast Olivia Colman to replace Claire Foy as Her Royal Highness in the drama series from Peter Morgan. Colman will take over the lead role for the show’s (not yet ordered but expected) third and fourth seasons. Foy was only set to play the young Queen for two seasons.
According to Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos, the plan is to have the period drama run for six seasons, following the Queen’s story throughout her whole life. “This is going to take Queen Elizabeth from age 29 to, presumably, the current day. We’ll see it lay out over decades,” the exec said last year. “The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show [run] over eight to 10 years.” Every two seasons, new castmembers are expected to be cast in the major roles to account for the years that have passed.
Foy herself spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about exiting the series, for which she won a Golden Globe earlier this year. “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,” she said. “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.”
Colman, who has had roles in feature films The Lobster and Hot Fuzz, will be seen next on the big screen in Murder on the Orient Express. Her television credits include Broadchurch, Fleabag and The Night Manager, the latter of which also won her a Golden Globe earlier this year.
The second season of The Crown is set to debut Dec. 8 on the streaming service. Season one castmembers Matt Smith (Prince Philip), Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret), Victoria Hamilton (Queen Mother) and Jeremy Northam (Antony Eden) will return. The series also will welcome newcomers Matthew Goode (as Lord Snowdon) and Michael C. Hall (as John F. Kennedy).