Netflix have finally confirmed their series commitment to the television adaptation of the hit play ‘The Audience,’ which has been in development for a number of months. The streaming service has moved to bolster its growing slate of original drama by ordering 10 episodes of The Crown from series creators Peter Morgan (The Queen) and Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) – both of whom are Academy Award nominees.
The play – written by Morgan – debuted in London in 2013 with Helen Mirren in the lead role of Queen Elizabeth II. Charting 60 years of her reign – from 1952 to 2012 – it conjures a chain of historically significant meetings between the Monarch and a variety of UK Prime Ministers. Mirren’s critically acclaimed performance earned her an Olivier Award for best actress, and she is set to take the role to Broadway when ‘The Audience’ opens there next year. A new version will open in the West End in London a few months later, starring Kristen Scott Thomas.
While the initial order for the series The Crown is for 10 episodes, it seems the project is envisioned as a multi-season endeavour – each one focusing on a specific decade. Season one will introduce Her Majesty as a 25 year old Princess, dealing with the imminent task of leading the British monarchy, while attempting to work with the formidable Prime Minster Winston Churchill in post-war Britain. Speaking on behalf of Netflix, Vice President of Original Content, Cindy Holland, explained:
“The Crown is storytelling that lives somewhere between television and cinema, from Britain’s foremost chroniclers of modern politics, class and society. We are enormously proud to be the exclusive home of a series from Peter Morgan and Stephen Daldry, that promises to fascinate and entertain audiences around the world.”
Executive producing the show is Left Bank Pictures, whose CEO – Andy Harries – added:
“Queen Elizabeth II has reigned throughout a period of unprecedented cultural and political change, and her influence as monarch has been universal. Peter is a writer at the height of his powers and Stephen Daldry is one of the most entertaining and original film directors in the world. The series will be hugely ambitious and surprising, and perfectly capture the changes and complexities of a post-war world.”
Playwright and co-creator of the new series, Peter Morgan, expressed his delight at this new lease of life for his tale:
“The Crown is not only about the Royal Family, but about an empire in decline, a world in disarray, and the dawn of a new era. I am beyond thrilled to be reunited with partners in film, theatre and television for this epic project and delighted to be working for the first time with Netflix.”
His series co-creator, Stephen Daldry, added:
“Peter Morgan’s scripts turn a tumultuous period of history into a thrilling story on an epic scale; dealing with both intimate relationships and international affairs. I cannot wait to bring The Crown to life for a global audience of Netflix.”
The Crown will reach Netflix in 2016, but in the meantime, we can expect many important casting announcements as the roles of Queen Elizabeth II and her Prime Ministers are filled. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project, which looks set to help Netflix stay ahead of its growing competition.