Claire Foy was paid less than The Crown co-star Matt Smith. Created by Peter Morgan, the British Royal biographical drama was first released in 2016 with the aim to chronicle Queen Elizabeth’s 65 years on the throne. Dubbed the most expensive drama produced by Netflix to date, the show is expected to continue for a few more seasons until its narrative is finally at par with the current times.
For two brilliant seasons of The Crown, Claire Foy and Matt Smith brilliantly portrayed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip from their early days of marriage to several years into Her Majesty’s reign. The show offered a sneak peek at the loving, but sometimes tense relationship between the couple – made more difficult by the Queen’s responsibility as the sovereign. During their stints in the show, the two actors would go on to nab several acting awards with Foy winning last year for Best Actress – Television Series Drama at the Golden Globes. However, despite this, it’s recently revealed that she’s paid less than her co-star.
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Speaking at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem (via Variety) with regard to the future of the critically-acclaimed Netflix original, Left Bank CEO Andy Harries and creative director Suzanne Mackie were asked about the salaries of their top two stars. It was said, “the producers acknowledged that he did make more due to his ‘Doctor Who’ fame, but that they would rectify that for the future.” Obviously, no numbers were given or any clues as to how much the difference between their salaries is, but Mackie promised that “going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
It’s preposterous to think that Smith was paid more than Foy, not because the former is not a good actor, but just the mere fact that the latter is the face of the show. There was not an episode that went by without the Queen in it, while there are some without Phillip. Granted, there were few outings, especially in the second season, that were centered on the Prince, it’s still incomparable to screen time that Foy had. Considering the actors’ salaries were paid for when they first signed their contracts, and Smith’s Doctor Who experience helped hike his salary, it would be interesting if Foy would’ve gotten more if she had an equally popular role before The Crown. This could also just be another gender pay gap situation.
The Crown is fortunate this came out after Foy’s and Smith’s stint on the show is done, otherwise, this issue involving the two will be brought up every time a new season nears, potentially putting a rift between their working relationship. But with Olivia Colman coming in to play the next-decade iteration of Queen Elizabeth for season 3, the hunt for an older version of the Duke of Edinburgh continues. People will undoubtedly pay more attention to how Netflix pays up their actors moving forward.
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