Claire Foy breaks silence on ‘The Crown’ pay gap controversy
“I’m not surprised”
Last week it was revealed that Matt Smith, who played the supporting role of Prince Philip in the first two seasons of Netflix's The Crown was payed more than star, Claire Foy, who played the leading role of Queen Elizabeth II. Speaking to EW, Claire has addressed the revelation for the first time:
"I'm surprised because I'm at the centre of it, and anything that I'm at the centre of like that is very, very odd, and feels very, very out of ordinary...But I'm not [surprised about the interest in the story] in the sense that it was a female-led drama. I'm not surprised that people saw [the story] and went, 'Oh, that's a bit odd.' But I know that Matt [Smith] feels the same that I do, that it's odd to find yourself at the centre [of a story] that you didn't particularly ask for."
Foy's co-star, Jared Harris who played Elizabeth II's late father, King George VI was less diplomatic in his response to the pay disparity, suggesting that the show's production company, Left Bank, reimburse Foy: "I understand [Left Bank] made an apology but, you know, an apology and a check would be more welcome," Vulture quotes Harris. "She worked longer hours. Her performance is a huge reason why this thing is going to have a season three, four, five, and six ... send her a pay check and, in retrospect, bring her pay up to parity."
The initial consensus was that Smith, who was coming off a stint with the popular Doctor Who BBC series, was able to negotiate a higher pay bracket due to his prior success and name recognition. This decision has been rectified for future seasons; when the pay gap was first addressed, Left Bank creative director, Suzanne Mackie stated: "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen."
It is important to note that Foy and Smith will not be returning to the series for future seasons; instead being recast for older actors to better portray the age of the royals' as the series moves through time. Queen Elizabeth II will be played by Olivia Colman for seasons three and four of The Crown.
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