Elizabeth Debicki has admitted she thinks there may well be ‘no walking away’ from a role like that of Princess Diana on The Crown.
The Australian actress, who plays the late Princess of Wales in the newly released season five of the Netflix show, also said it was an ‘enormous challenge and responsibility’ to take on the role of someone so beloved and well-known by the public.
As she reflected on having played the part, the 32-year-old likened it to herself and fellow cast members still being ‘under the waves’ as they had spent so long researching, preparing and performing as their characters.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk and other press ahead of the season’s release, Debicki commented, when asked how easy it was to walk away at the end of a day’s filming: ’There is no walking away – well, we’re all still in it, we’re still walking through this. I think of it as being under the waves in a way and I think we’re still swimming.’
‘I could probably answer that question in six months, and I don’t know how easy or hard it will be – I don’t think terribly easy,’ she added.
Imelda Staunton and Sir Jonathan Pryce step into the shoes of the late Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, while Dominic West is the new Prince Charles opposite Debicki, who inherits her role from Emma Corrin.
Lesley Manville appears as the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, Olivia Williams is Camilla Parker-Bowles and Jonny Lee Miller features as former Prime Minister Sir John Major.
Addressing her nerves over tackling the role, Tenet star Debicki – who wowed on the red carpet with her subtle tribute to Diana – continued: ‘Oh definitely [I was nervous]. I think it would be fair to say we were all nervous. It felt like – and the show does feel like – an enormous responsibility, but we are supported by this network of people that understands that pressure and wants us to do it the best we can.
‘It’s an enormous challenge, I think, and you have to – it’s an interesting process for me, I found.’
The actress then explained how she had grappled with all the different versions of Diana, including her own and the audience’s, and trying to fit them together.
‘It took me some time to understand that you’re bringing your interpretation to Peter’s interpretation of this person, but then the people watching this show come with such attachment and memory and a sense of ownership too over these characters in a way.
‘Not only from the people who’ve played them before but also from their living memory and their history. So you have to leave a kind of space for that, and it’s sort of a dance between all of these things, and it‘s a beautiful process but it’s also very challenging – and very rewarding too because we get to work with each other and do these wonderful scenes.’
Despite backlash over content in this season and the upcoming sixth one, which Debicki herself has dismissed, reviews so far for The Crown’s newest episodes have been positive.
Royal biographer Andrew Morton has also singled the actress out as deserving of a Golden Globe for her performance.
‘It was like being in the room with Diana,’ he told GMB’s Ed Balls and Susanna Reid.
‘Elizabeth Debicki and her portrayal of Diana was astonishing. I don’t say this lightly, but that performance really conveys the Diana that I got to know for a couple of years in the early 1990s.’
The Crown, seasons 1-5, is available to stream on Netflix now.