Olivia Colman stepped in as the blue-eyed Queen Elizabeth II succeeding Claire Foy in 'The Crown'. Getting the middle-aged monarch's physical attributes right seems to have been a tough task for the actor. When the crew tried to thrust colored contact-lenses, it didn't work as Ben Carson, who directed the first four episodes of the third season told the Guardian, "It was as if we had taken all of her acting ability and put it in a safe and locked it away."
When the lenses didn't work, the team even tried CGI effects. "But it didn’t feel like her," Carson explained. "CGI-ing her eyes seemed to diminish what she was doing." Finally, the crew simply let her eyelids be a brown shade. For Colman, getting the physical attributes right, doing the impressions, capturing the physical movement and protocols was quite challenging.
While the research team helped her a lot in understanding the thought process of her character, it was tough to get the physicality right. "I'm really bad with my physical knowledge. I used to have movement sessions where I used to watch how the Queen moves. And the little things like that. There was a position for hands when she is walking. So I had to be really strict on myself for that."
Going by early reviews, the actress — who previously clinched an Oscar award for playing a different queen in the 2018 film 'The Favourite' — seems to have taken the character one notch higher. Talking about how she was first approached for the role, she said, "I binge-watched the first season and then I was offered the job before I watched the second season," she said, adding her immediate response was, "Yes, please."
Colman personally admires the Queen and feels she is "marvelous" and "amazing" as a human being. She said, "She is like a book and my job is to do justice to the part. The more I researched for this part, the more I started respecting her. She has gone through so much. It is really amazing. I have become more of a fan... But it's harder to play the character if they are still around. It's hard to play a person the whole globe recognizes."
Moreover, there might be many comparisons with Claire Foy, who earlier played the part. "I spoke to Claire and she said 'you would love it and everyone is lovely and you should do it'," she recalled. But, Colman added a new dimension to the character. "I had to do my own with this character. What Claire did was beautiful and I told her I was completely hooked. My husband keeps saying 'she is amazing'. She told me everyone is there to help me. So I'm happy to play it the way I should have."
The third season of 'The Crown' will premiere on Netflix this Sunday, November 17, 2019, and will chronicle Queen Elizabeth II’s reign from 1947-1963.