The Crown’s producers apologise to Claire Foy and Matt Smith over pay gap
VOD News | On 22, Mar 2018
The producers of The Crown have apologised to stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith, following the news that Foy was paid less than her co-star on the Netflix series.
The royal drama, which won Foy the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV drama in 2016, charts the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from her young coronation through her private relationship with Prince Phillip and professional relationship with multiple Prime Ministers. It is one of the most expensive TV shows ever made, with Left Bank Pictures lavishly blowing its budget on costumes, production design and a starry cast that includes Jared Harris. However, speaking at a TV panel last week, the producers revealed that Foy, despite Queen Elizabeth II, was paid less than Smith, who played her husband.
In the week since, there have been calls from the public for the balance to be redressed, with a petition also created for Smith to donate the difference to Time’s Up in the UK. Now, Left Bank has issued an official apology over the scandal.
“We want to apologize to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own. Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on The Crown have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity,” the company said in a statement.
“As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues.”
“We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a re-balancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes,” the company added.
Foy, Smith and Netflix have not commented on the controversy, while Left Bank has not confirmed whether it will redress the imbalance between its stars in retrospect or responded to the petition. The company has committed to equal pay for its upcoming seasons, which will see Claire Foy replaced by Olivia Colman, alongside Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. Casting for Prince Philip has not yet been announced.
Claire Foy was paid less than Matt Smith on The Crown
14th March 2018
Claire Foy was paid less than Matt Smith for her starring role in The Crown, the show’s producers have admitted.
Netflix’s Royal drama, which won Foy the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV drama in 2016, charts the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from her young coronation through her private relationship with Prince Phillip and professional relationship with multiple Prime Ministers.
The show is one of the most expensive TV shows ever made. Each episode of the first two seasons cost about $7 million and shot for 22 days. That went on the series’ extravagant production design, with Foy alone wearing 120 different costumes in Season 2. Despite effectively playing the title character, though, Foy was paid less Smith, who played her on-screen husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Andy Harries, CEO of Left Bank, who was joined by the studio’s creative director, Suzanne Mackie, and production designer, Martin Childs, for a panel at the INTV Conference on Tuesday, said that Smith’s fame for playing The Doctor in the BBC’s Doctor Who meant that he commanded a higher fee. Foy previously starred in the BBC’s Wolf Hall and was reportedly paid $40,000 per episode for The Crown’s first two seasons. Smith’s salary has not been confirmed.
The admission is the latest example of the gender pay gap in TV and film. Last month, it was revealed that Michelle Williams was paid significantly less than Mark Wahlberg for reshooting parts of All The Money In The World.
The producers say that the inequality will not continue on the show’s third season, when Foy will be replaced by Olivia Colman.
With the first two seasons portraying the monarch in the 1950s and 1960s, Season 3 will continue the story from 1963, covering such major events as the 1966 World Cup, The Beatles, and eventually lead to the Camilla Parker Bowles years, and a young Princess Diana.
“Those are going to be extraordinary, those episodes,” said Mackie.
“Seasons 3 and 4 will be the test of whether the show really has the legs to survive,” added Harries. “I think we were the first television series ever to change cast and continue, and we will change cast twice. It’s daunting but exciting and I hope it’ll keep the series fresh and really of interest to people.”
The plan was to do six seasons originally, although Mackie and Harries noted the natural end would be “when the crown passes”. They joked, though, that he would like to see episodes where Trump comes to Buckingham Palace, or that, if the show continued into the present day, Prince Harry’s bride-to-be Meghan Markle could play herself.
Colman will be joined in Season 3 by Helena Bonham-Carter as Princess Margaret. Smith’s replacement, though, is yet to be announced, with suggestions that Hugh Laurie could play the Duke of Edinburgh. What we do know for sure, however, is that the Prince won’t earn more than his wife.
“Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” promised Mackie.
Season 3 will start shooting in July.