Performance coaches reveal secrets behind cast’s portrayals in “The Crown”

LONDON (Reuters) – As the final season of “The Crown” prepares to launch, the show’s performance coaches are shedding light on the techniques used to perfect the portrayals of the British royals. The upcoming season of the popular Netflix series will focus on Princess Diana’s final days in its early episodes.

William Conacher, the supervising dialect coach, shared insights into the preparation process for the cast, emphasizing that it’s not about impersonation but about capturing the essence of the characters through their movements and mannerisms. “First thing I say is nobody needs to do an impression, and I don’t believe anybody ever has on this show,” Conacher told Reuters. “It’s more about analyzing what the face does, what the mouth does, what the head does, and then letting your voice come through that shape.”

This approach has yielded impressive results in the past, with both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, who portrayed Queen Elizabeth in different periods of her life, receiving awards for their performances. Conacher explained that each royal family member had distinct characteristics that the actors focused on. For example, for Queen Elizabeth, they concentrated on minimal mouth movement, while Diana’s portrayal involved a more open mouth and speaking in a minor key. These subtleties allowed the actors to sound like the characters without altering their natural voices.

Movement coach Polly Bennett also played a crucial role in helping actors embody the physicality of their characters in each season. This included capturing idiosyncratic movements, such as Diana’s characteristic head tilt or Prince Charles’ specific posture.

The sixth season of “The Crown” will be released in two parts on November 16 and December 14. It begins in the summer of 1997, focusing on the events leading up to Princess Diana’s tragic death in a car crash at the age of 36. Season 5 actors, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, and Elizabeth Debicki, will reprise their roles as Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princess Diana, respectively.

Bennett described her work with Imelda Staunton, who plays Queen Elizabeth in this season, focusing on how the queen ages and changes in her physicality. This includes the queen wearing glasses and walking at a slower pace. Additionally, Bennett highlighted the historical context, emphasizing that Queen Elizabeth always knows where she’s going because she’s guided by her staff.

“The Crown” continues to captivate audiences with its meticulous attention to detail and the dedication of its cast and performance coaches in bringing the royal characters to life on screen.