March 14, 2018

Netflix is embroiled in a gender pay controversy over The Crown

By Jack Rear

After debuting in late 2016, The Crown soon cemented itself as one of Netflix’s most popular series (it actually came ninth out of 52 in Verdict‘s most popular Netflix series rankings.)

The series tells the story of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the current monarch of Great Britain. Netflix’s series Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Phillip in 1947 will track her reign right up to the present day.

Netflix is planning for 60 episodes spanning six series.

However, Netflix found itself in hot water after it emerged that Matt Smith who played Prince Philip was paid more than the series lead Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II.

The information came out in a panel at INTV Conference in Jerusalem.

Producers admitted that because Smith was a household name due to his internationally-acclaimed performance as the Doctor in Doctor Who, he was able to negotiate a higher salary. Variety reported the news.

Still, though Smith had universal recognition from Doctor Who, his career was arguably not significantly more advanced than Foy’s.

The exact amount Smith received is unknown. However, Variety reports Foy got around $40,000 per episode.

Suzanne Mackie, the creative director of Left Bank, the production company behind The Crown said this gender pay gap would be rectified as of the upcoming third series:

Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.

Unfortunately for Foy, this pledge is meaningless. Olivia Colman will replace Foy as of the upcoming third series.

Like Smith, it’s likely that Colman would be able to negotiate a higher salary than Foy anyway. The Broadchurch star won international recognition for the aforementioned role, as well as appearances in The Iron Lady, The Lobster, and Murder On The Orient Express.

Colman has also already played royalty in Hyde Park On Hudson where she played Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who is also a character in The Crown.

Neither Foy nor Smith have responded to the revelation.

What else was discussed at the panel?

The third series of The Crown will begin filming in July. New characters for series three include Camilla Parker-Bowles and a young Princess Diana. The third series will have an almost entirely new cast for nearly every role.

Mackie revealed:

“Those are going to be extraordinary, those episodes.”

Other highlights from the panel include the confirmation of The Crown‘s status as the most expensive TV series ever made. Producers admitted that each episode of the series cost around $7 million to make.

Producers also said they hoped to have an episode where Donald Trump visits Buckingham Palace in the future. Still, that may not be possible. Trump’s state visit, which was offered in January 2017 by UK prime minister Theresa May is still yet to be arranged.

Finally, The Crown’s producers shared their wish for Prince Harry’s fiancé Meghan Markle to play herself in the series.

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