By: Alexandra Pollard
Losing out on a Bafta for the second year in a row was, Claire Foy insists, one of the best moments of her career. She was up for best actress for her role as Elizabeth II in The Crown, and was widely expected to win – but the moment came, and it went to Happy Valley’s Sarah Lancashire instead. “Can I just say,” said Lancashire from the podium, “Claire Foy, you have given me the best 10 hours under a duvet that I’ve ever had.” For Foy, it was better than winning.
“That was, I’m telling you, one of the most ridiculous moments of my life,” she says, beaming. “I mean, I love her. I grew up watching her.” Foy is sitting opposite me, wearing a comfy-looking jumpsuit and scuffed Converse, her hair – now she no longer needs to adopt the Queen’s bouffant do – newly cropped short. “There’s nothing as amazing as a fellow actor saying you’re good.”
We meet a couple of days before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce their engagement, a relationship Foy has expressed approval of in the past (“I must speak for actresses,” she said, “We’re not a bad bunch. We’re all right”). She’d had nearly a decade of television roles – she first appeared on screen as a werewolf’s ex-fiancee in Being Human, then later starred in BBC dramas The Night Watch and Wolf Hall – but it was not until The Crown that, she says, people’s perception of her changed. The lavish Netflix series had an unprecedented £100m budget, but the show’s heart and soul was Foy’s compelling, devastating restraint as the young monarch. It is no easy task to play a woman whose main personality traits are, by necessity, detachment and composure, but with just the downward crease of a smile or the flicker of her enormous eyes, Foy hinted at the tumult rippling beneath the Queen’s steady surface.
There has been speculation over whether the royal family have seen The Crown – Foy finds it easier to imagine that they haven’t – but if they do gather round Netflix for season two, it might make for awkward viewing. Beginning in 1956, with the Suez crisis escalating and the British public starting to question the monarchy’s relevance, the season (which is Foy’s last; Olivia Colman will take up the mantle for the Queen’s later years) explores the parts of the royal story we are unlikely to see on a commemorative plate any time soon. We learn of the Nazi affiliations of Edward VIII, the sexual proclivities of Princess Margaret’s disdainful fiance Antony Armstrong-Jones, and – perhaps most shockingly – Prince Philip’s supposed infidelity.
Continue reading Interview with The Crown’s Claire Foy
By: Lisa Armstrong
What happens to an actress once she has played the queen? Does some magisterial DNA rub off on her? Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas, Judi Dench have all been appointed dames. Only Cate Blanchett, who so magnificently illuminated Elizabeth II’s namesake, Elizabeth I, is yet to receive a title. But since she’s an Aussie and thus, technically, a subject of Her Majesty, there’s still a chance. Besides, Blanchett exudes innate queenliness.
“The role can give you quite a lot back if you let it,” says Peter Morgan, who should know, since he wrote not only The Crown (for TV) and The Audience (for the stage) but also The Queen, the 2006 movie that arguably restored the monarchy’s popularity following Princess Diana’s death. “When Helen was a guest of the Obamas at the White House Correspondents’ dinner,” says Morgan, “everyone else was being mercilessly teased, but the entire room stood up and cheered her. I’m not sure Helen didn’t grow two inches.”
The glow of imminent stardom flickers like Saturn’s rings around Claire Foy, who will be back as Elizabeth Regina in season two of The Crown next month. Directors from Steven Soderbergh and La La Land’s Damien Chazelle to Evil Dead’s Fede Alvarez have lined up to work with the prolific but previously little-known 33-year-old British actress. Far from being in character when we meet for chamomile tea at the chic London members’ club Quo Vadis, she is wearing tortoiseshell glasses, her blondish hair scraped back with visible roots—the remnants of her role in her recent movie Breathe, opposite Andrew Garfield—and a denim jumpsuit from Citizens of Humanity. (There’s no such thing as a bad jumpsuit day in Foy’s book; at the Emmys in September, she arrived in a silver-trimmed black version by Oscar de la Renta.) By the time you read this, she and her jumpsuits will have decamped to Atlanta to film Chazelle’s First Man, which traces America’s determination to get its man on the moon before the Soviets. Foy plays Neil Armstrong’s wife, Janet, opposite Ryan Gosling.
Continue reading Claire Foy on the Second Season of ‘The Crown’, Going Blonde & Early Bedtimes
By: Anne Marie Scanlon
From Tesco to the Tower and after two coronations, actress Claire Foy has never lost her head
As someone who studied history to post-graduate level, reads history books for fun and gobbles up historical fiction, I was beside myself with excitement when I heard the BBC was dramatising Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the Man Booker Award winner 2009.
Transferring beloved books onto both the big screen and the small is a notoriously tricky task but director Peter Kosminsky’s adaptation was a unanimous hit.
The casting was superb throughout – from the bit players to Mark Rylance as Cromwell and Damien Lewis as Henry VIII.
To my mind though, Claire Foy, who I had never heard of at the time, stole the show as a magnificent, complicated, wholly credible, Anne Boleyn.
Wolf Hall won many awards and although Foy was nominated for several she didn’t get one gong, when really she should have won ALL the awards.
In person Foy is nothing like Anne Boleyn (probably a good thing), she’s petite and bears a passing resemblance to Henry’s second ill-fated wife, but that’s it. The actress tells me that she was as excited as I was when she heard that Wolf Hall was being made into a TV series (we both agree that Hilary Mantel is a “genius”.)
Continue reading The Queen of the Small Screen Goes Big
By: Marion Van Renterghem
The Queen is all secrets, mystery and muffled noise – ostensible blandness and unwavering tradition. Guests of Buckingham Palace must observe the golden rule: talk of politics, religion or gender is forbidden. “It limits conversational scope,” says Belgian journalist Marc Roche, a biographer of the Queen. Roche is almost the only reporter on the planet to have access to the press-fearing Windsors – a much-coveted privilege. A longtime London correspondent for French newspaper Le Monde, he has met the Queen six times. “Each time, she asked me the same three questions,” he says. “How long have you been in the UK? Do you like it? Isn’t it a wonderful place?” Once, she added a fourth. “Do you like my paintings?” A Rembrandt and a Rubens were hanging within arm’s reach, Roche recalls. “They are marvellous, Ma’am,” he replied. “Aren’t they just? My great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria bought them,” she said, before slipping away with small, hurried steps to speak to another guest.
Something unprecedented has happened to the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In the Netflix series The Crown, she has become the heroine in a pacey and lavish account of her life, beginning with the final years of her father, George VI, the stammering king. Played by Claire Foy, Elizabeth II is the new star of the American video-streaming platform, which recently topped 100 million subscribers. This year, this blockbuster-budget American-British series took home two prestigious Golden Globes: Best Drama Series and Best Actress for Foy. The ten episodes of The Crown’s first series were released across ten countries simultaneously and critics were universal in their praise. Although Netflix keeps its audience figures close to its chest, its hurry to announce a second series, expected this November, confirms The Crown as a global success.
Read the full article here on GQ.