Elizabeth Debicki (‘The Crown’) on the ‘immense pressure’ of portraying Diana [Exclusive Video Interview]

“It’s totally unlike anything I’ve done before. I think a layer of it, if I’m honest, is just immense pressure,” admits Elizabeth Debicki about portraying Princess Diana in Season 5 of the Emmy-winning “The Crown.” For our recent webchat she adds, “it’s pressure to play this real life person, or to come close to a suggestion of that person, which in this case is completely unique in the sense that our collective consciousness, our memory, this real life person we’re talking about. The way that she lives in people’s memory still, the way that people miss her, the way that people still feel like they need her in their cultural life. It’s totally a unique kind of presence that she had when she was with us, so that’s enormous pressure.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Dominic West (‘The Crown’)

“The Crown,” was created by Oscar and Tony-nominated and Emmy-winning writer Peter Morgan, who is currently in production on the show’s anticipated sixth and final season. The Netflix drama uniquely reinvents itself every two seasons by replacing its main cast, as the royal family continue to evolve and age over time. Taking the reins for the show’s final two seasons are Oscar and Emmy nominee Imelda Staunton as the Queen Elizabeth II, Dominic West as the former Prince of Wales (and now King Charles III), Debicki as Diana, Oscar nominee Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Jonny Lee Miller as Prime Minister John Major and Oscar and Emmy nominee Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip and Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles. The show has dominated at previous Golden Globes, Critics Choice, SAG Awards and Emmys, shattering records at the 2021 Emmys by being the first drama series to ever claim a clean sweep of awards handed out on the big night — winning Best Drama Series, all four acting wins (Colman, O’Connor, Menzies and Anderson) as well as for writing and directing.

Season 5 focuses on the Royal Family’s place in a fast-evolving modern British society, as well as the dissolution of Charles’ marriage to Diana and his relationship with his eventual second wife Camilla. While Debicki acknowledges the immense pressure of taking on the role from Emmy nominee Emma Corrin, who portrayed a younger Diana in Season 4, she also says that she benefited from some distance to the iconic Diana when she was growing up. “The canvas I came to this with was relatively neutral for me as an actor. It was an advantage to be an Australian coming into this role, because in a way, I got to look at the world of the character itself, the history of the country in the nineties, all these things that were foreign to me in so many ways,” she explains. “I got to just open up that booklet of research, and in a way I have this distance from it, so I could absorb it without memory, without agenda or without really any opinions that have been solidified. Yet I think my feeling about Diana before I knew I was going to play her was that there’s still a piece of me that was able to retain that love and admiration in the distance of this person, who was an icon who had this incredible journey through her life and who represents so much for women.”

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