Writer-producer Peter Morgan and director Stephen Daldry were the royal couple at the Museum of Modern Art on Sunday as Netflix hosted a sneak-peek screening for the pair’s period drama “The Crown,” which bows Nov. 4.
At the dinner that followed at the Modern, guests were quick to genuflect to producers and cast members for the artistry of the series that examines Queen Elizabeth II’s early years on the throne. Claire Foy drew raves for a performance that depicts QEII as a woman as much as a monarch. Matt Smith impressed with his work as the conflicted Prince Philip, while Jared Harris nearly runs away with the first two episodes with his touching portrayal of the dying King George VI.
Harris was humble about how he landed the part. “Colin Firth was too expensive,” he joked, citing the star of the Oscar-winning 2010 feature “The King’s Speech.”
“The Crown,” from Sony Pictures TV, arrives at a momentous time for the U.S. — with its first female president expected to ascend to the throne next month — and an opportune time for Britain to look back at its recent past, what with the Brexit business still roiling the nation.
The big question audience members had after the screening was: How long will “Crown” reign? Writing 20 episodes to run over two seasons has been an all-consuming three-year odyssey for Morgan, who also penned the 2006 Helen Mirren starrer “The Queen.”
“Rather than finding this woman and this predicament less and less interesting it becomes more and more interesting,” Morgan said. The Queen’s story is a good way to examine the modern history of England because she is so intertwined with the “British constitution and the British soul,” he said.
But Morgan admitted he’s still wrestling with whether he will continue the story — should Netflix seek to renew “Crown” — that ends in the 1960s at the close of season two. Morgan may not know, but “Crown” producer Suzanne Mackie, of Left Bank Pictures, has a dream of mounting another three-season arc to take the House of Windsor through the Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana years.
Producers Jason Blum and Colin Callender, Tina Brown and Harold Evans, Gay Talese, financier Leon Black, actor Zachary Quinto, UTA’s Peter Benedek and Sony TV’s Andrea Wong were among the notables who made time for an audience with “The Crown.”
(Pictured: “The Crown” stars Matt Smith, Claire Foy and John Lithgow)