I'm a huge fan of a little-known (in the U.S.) British actress named Claire Foy. I first came across her starring in the title role of the BBC-PBS mini-series Little Dorritt based on the Charles Dickens novel. It's not one of my favorite books by Dickens, but the adaptation and her performance were so wonderful that they made it one of the best adaptations I've seen of Dickens. And it ended up winning seven Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Mini-series, the most ever on by a Masterpiece Theatre production.
In a completely different role, she was wonderful and hilarious and dark in the tremendous (and highly-recommended) British mini-series, Going Postal. And played a selfish, spoiled, Nazi-sympathizer in the updated version of Upstairs, Downstairs for PBS.
She came to her most attention in the U.S. last year in the adaptation of the best-selling Wolf Hall, in the critical role of Anne Boleyn.
She also had a small, but important role in Jon Stewart's directorial and screenwriting debut, Rosewater, playing the real-life wife of Maziar Bahari, the journalist who is wrongly arrested.
Wonderful though she is, Claire Foy has never yet broken through with American audiences. It looked like she might take a step in that direction a few years ago when she played the title role in the feature film, Season of the Witch, that starred Nicholas Cage. But the film bombed. So much for that.
The other day, an upcoming series for Netflix was brought to my attention, The Crown. It's written by Peter Morgan, who I mentioned here the other day, who has written such productions as The Queen, Frost/Nixon and The Other Boleyn Girl. It tells the story of the young Queen Elizabeth, as she moves from being a young royal into the head of the monarchy. And starring as Queen Elizabeth is...okay, you've probably figured this out by now -- Claire Foy.
It has a very good cast. Matt Smith, who many know from Dr. Who, plays Prince Philip. The great Eileen Atkins is Queen Mary. And in a bit of surprising casting, John Lithgow plays Winston Churchill -- but surprising or not, in the trailer he looks terrific.
In fact, the series looks terrific. It's scheduled to premiere in November, and run for six seasons of 10 episodes each. That's quite a commitment from Netlfix -- but then, they're investing $150 million And it could be a stepping stone that helps bring Claire Foy the attention she has long-deserved on this side of the pond.
Here's the trailer for The Crown.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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