Netflix original series The Crown has come under fire amid reports that Claire Foy (AKA Queen Elizabeth) was paid significantly less than her on-screen Duke of Edinburgh, Matt Smith.
Per Variety, it’s understood Foy was paid $40,000 per episode for the first two series, where the 33-year-old actress portrayed the monarch during the 1950s and early 1960s. Details of Matt Smith’s own salary weren’t disclosed at the time of writing, though Netflix has vowed to stamp out The Crown‘s own gender pay gap before Olivia Colman headlines season 3.
As for why there was a disparity in the first place, the “producers acknowledged that [Smith] did make more due to his Doctor Who fame, but that they would rectify that for the future.” Adding to this, Left Bank creative director Suzanne Mackie stressed that “going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.” And rightly so.
But The Crown‘s third season presents a unique challenge of its own, as Netflix begins to draft an entirely new ensemble cast, beginning with Olivia Colman as the Queen. While appearing alongside Mackie at a recent panel in Jerusalem, Martin Childs admitted that:
Seasons 3 and 4 will be the test of whether the show really has the legs to survive. I think we were the first television series ever to change cast and continue, and we will change cast twice. It’s daunting but exciting and I hope it’ll keep the series fresh and really of interest to people.
It’s all part of Netflix’s plan to create a generation-spanning account of the Royal Family, and though season 4 is yet to receive the go-ahead from the online streamer, we fully expect The Crown to continue into 2019 – and possibly 2020, providing the stars align.
Filming on the show’s third season is due to commence later this year, by which point we ought to know the identity of Matt Smith’s successor. It’s definitely not Paul Bettany, after the Avengers: Infinity War actor ultimately decided to pass on The Crown season 3 back in January.