EXCLUSIVE: Netflix and series producer Left Bank Pictures are adding to the cast of The Crown. Greg Wise, who recently starred as John Ruskin in Richard Laxton’s feature film Effie Gray, has joined the cast of the royal drama as a series regular, TVWise has learned.
The Crown is described as an inside look at the relationship between the Queen and her many Prime Ministers. It is eyed as a potential long running series, with each 10 episode season charting a decade of the Queen’s reign. The first seasons will open with the 25-year-old Princess, faced with the daunting prospect of leading the most famous monarchy in the world while forging a relationship with the domineering, war-hardened Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Sources tell TVWise that Greg Wise has been set as Lord Louis Mountbatten, Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin. He is present at the Queen’s coronation and was a major presence in the life of Charles, Prince of Wales. Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA in 1979 while he was vacationing in Mullaghmore. Netflix declined comment, while representatives of Left Bank Pictures did not immediately respond to TVWise’s requests for comment.
Greg Wise is a prolific actor who most recently had a starring role in the BBC’s two part adaptation of the Sadie Jones novel The Outcast. His other notable TV credits include a guest role on Law & Order: UK; a recurring role on period drama Cranford; and playing series regular Major Peter Bartham in ITV’s short-lived military drama series Homefront, which told the story of the wives and girlfriends of soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
Netflix has been quietly assembling a huge cast for The Crown, which sources say will include up to 100 recurring and regular cast members. There will be some turnover season-to-season, given that each 10 episode run will chronicle a decade in Elizabeth II’s reign and as such Netflix are eyeing three separate actresses to play the Queen across the show’s run. Thus far, Netflix has only confirmed three cast members: Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith as Prince Phillip and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill.
The Crown, which is understood be Netflix’s most expensive series-to-date with a budget of £100 million, is based on Peter Morgan’s stage play The Audience, with Morgan penning the scripts for the TV series. Philip Martin, Julian Jarrold and Stephen Daldry are attached to direct. Sony backed UK indie Left Bank Pictures (Strike Back, Outlander) is producing, with Morgan, Andy Harries, Daldry, Philip Martin, Suzanne Mackie, Tanya Seghatchian, Robert Fox and Matthew Byam Shaw serving as executive producers.
High end regal dramas have become all the rage. Earlier this year, shortly after Netflix beat out ITV to land The Crown, the commercial broadcaster announced plans to produce their own royal drama Victoria, which has Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman attached to star and will document the early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of 18, through to her courtship and marriage to Price Albert and later years. Both ITV’s Victoria and Netflix’s The Crown are set to premiere in 2016.