Episode 1: Olding
Everyone Post Office is delighted with the new profile man which they feel to be an elegant reflection of magic transition from young woman to alphabet mother four and settled sovereign the postmaster general himself commented that the two inches the among the slightly older queen are honest identical has vast Bevan's very kind. He's also a barefaced lie just the tiniest changes in many changes that we are ages rarely kind to anyone talking. Welcome to about it on just has to get on with it. You welcome to the crime. The official PODCAST. My Name's Edith Bowman. And this is the podcast for the third season of the net flicks original CDs the crown. This podcast will follow the show episode By episodes taking you behind the scenes speaking with many of the talented people involved and diving deep into the stories. It's been two two years. Since season two ended the entire cast has changed and season three will be under plenty of scrutiny from. It's highly devoted audience ads. There's a lot at stake and I spoke to show creator. Peter Morgan who is anxiously awaiting the public reactions to season three. Compare this Paul. If only we could just make these films and never have to show them. I mean not the moment where it goes out in the scrutiny. And it's nerve wracking today. We're talking about episode. One titled Olding in the fifties the KGB opened an agent recruitment file on future British. Prime Minister Harold Wilson giving him the codename olding hence the title. We'll be discussing events bras up in the episode. So if you haven't watched it yet I suggest you do it now or very soon. Coming up later. We hear from Nina Golden Robert Stern casting royalty in their own rights. They're responsible for casting. Many critically acclaimed the television CDs and it was a real treat to hear them discuss the tools of their trade. But I I had the great privilege to speak with showrunner writer and Creator Sir. Peter Morgan so I am here in a lovely part of London pita mortgage very kindly invited us into his house and thank you so much for coming to deep dive into the crime series three. What's showrunner how would you describe? What showrunner is to someone who doesn't know what Shurer is? I think it's the person who ultimately has to take responsibility for some of the bigger tunnel decisions ultimately when it comes to casting decisions the hiring of directors the really the buck stops with them. The series will the people enjoy the most are those that are authored third and ultimately has to be an author. There are lots of other crowns that could be written out there and lots of other people could tackle material but for better for us. We're doing it this way with with meeting. showrunner has similarities Queen House. Please I mean it is sort of five full-time jobs to do this job. And and and you have to. I think in order to stay alive if you have to let three of those full-time jobs go and and I'm much more focused on the writing thing. And the editing and the costing the CDs is about to be unveiled to funds and the world. How how is your emotional state at that? Point in terms of the season is people. Stop watching it. I got better as Paul I really I. It's not the actor. I very much foot people seeing it and I very much hope people enjoy it but but the the the I don't know I I used to have this conversation with Ron Howard along with Stephen frears allot we. Just come back. If only we could just make these films and never have to show them. Not because the moment where it goes out in the scrutiny and it it's it's it's nerve wracking and don't and I think particularly nerve wracking at the moment because you know in these streaming walls that are going on where where you know you recognize what's at stake for the companies that are making this and it becomes about much more it suddenly. I guess what I'm trying to say it's suddenly becomes about so many other things whereas up until now it's really just been and a group of us that know each other very very well working as hard as we can and as devotedly as we can to try and publish something as best we can give an all the limitations stations you have an all the constraints and all the changes in terms of time or exhaustion or resources all bad luck or all the things that stand in between you and making the perfect episode Assad and we do we all sit there like in a little cottage industry and do our very best. Suddenly comes the moment with the hangar hangar doors open and it gets taken out you just fear for it in the way that you would fearful child out into the world so where how long ago then were. Oh you writing series three. I was probably writing in a couple of years ago but in some way or another I would have been thinking about a lot longer. Even prior to that and the roots of all this go way back and so the whole thing kind of feels like one long journey it started. That'd really with with with the film. I suppose of Television about the relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair and that was nineteen knows in two thousand and two I think two thousand and two so this whole thing feels like one long continuous journey because that started with Tony Blair and then when it came came to writing the queen the Queen. That then only became interesting with Tony Blair in it because it was a relationship between the monarch and the prime minister's Doc I mean everyone was talking about the family but underpinning all this has always been the relationship between head of state and Prime Minister which is beautifully explored in. CD's three get into that in a minute. When you're starting with a constructing a CDs and those episodes Dino you're starting your endpoint point and then you kind of work how you split up until episodes in stories the characters that you want to write by? I'm I'M A. I'm a planner. Clear I mean I think there are other people who are more. OCD and more plenty than me. And I was is one on a panel and on that panel six or seven writers and we were asked what our process walls and and it ranged from the obsessive deranged planning to a quite OCD. Planning and to some one writer talk he just started writing and had no idea where it was going to. It felt like the purest art in its own way and he was from South America and when he spoke about writing it sounded so much more interesting and sexy than when I speak about writing. I need a little bit more of an outline. An idea where I'm going and so I I figure it all out and and to me the figuring out is at least eighty percent of the writing so CD's three. We left CDs too and we also left a cost behind his well. Where do we find ourselves at the start of CDs three? It's like well. We I think first and foremost we find ourselves with a new cost you know and and I and and overwhelming problem was how oh to how to introduce them and what to do and and I always think it's probably quite a good idea to just declare it you know. Just what the hell that. The choice was simple. You either go with putting a whole lot of makeup prosthetics on somebody or well oil you just say look. It's ridiculous you can't ask someone in their late twenties or or thirty to play someone who's fifty and really understand it. I I mean you can approximate it. But you can't draw on something within yourself when you had leitch and I speak and bits take and things that work in the same way and you've already had some of the stuffing knocked out of you and you wear that not just you know you input lines on someone's face and you can maybe even digitally age them. But you can't breathe the fatigue of life and the bruises of life into a face and I don't think anybody can get to fifty all mid forties late and the age span in in these two seasons three and four for the Queen in between sort of early forties and early sixties. And you know life. It's it's had a go at you by then you know you show you have a few scars of bruises and you walk with slightly hunched shoulders. And when you sit down you got grow even equate. Yes and and so. I figured you know we've got to get some people entering laid into that. And so I knew it'd be a big bump five zero one of a bit of a high wire act because Claire was so fabulous she she might have been a little bit more considerate and been slightly less fabulous pressure right. Because it's not easy did did you knowing that you were after the there was going to be a new cost not just for the Queen but for for for love the characters did. Did you write differently. No no no. I really didn't actually and for a while. We were even thinking of talking to some of the actors and saying look some of the the things that Matt Smith did the way. He sort of moved the FIDGETY. NECE could you repeat that. Could you could you could you echo that and and it just happens that Tobias Menzies Plays Prince for. He just isn't a fidgety tight He's a much more rooted time and so he didn't. He elected not to do that. And I don't think matters. I don't think that suddenly Prince Philip seems to stop fidgeting. You do that Moore. Wins the ones out Wilson Awesome Would be made up of rabid antimony heads on spikes vive luzern zipped dipped down. They speak French and effects does fields. I even heard a rumor that Jesus. KGB Spy Wilson as ridiculous. Did you hear that from a friend of mine learns a whole theory being turned well a trade mission to Russia it said he even had a KGB Oldie. I do think the battle pass and that sort of how I've always thought it's it's like a relay race and you pass a button and that they've they've actually they haven't done they mimicked. What the previous actors thank? They've just taken the battle don what they do and it almost feels like what you were talking about that expedients as well feels like those contractors. Are this place now on. They've got that experiences. Almost change them as well and the opening scene that you have for that first episode as this. It's so clever because you kind of immediately forget even though there is Claire's reference than there in that scene and visually you kind of already on that journey with the with the new version. Did you take a little bit of time that it takes a few while to come. I'm to what the opening scene is going to be how you would start now That was one of those ones that was massively a fluke It just came and did it. Oh yeah that's a good idea and it was waved through by the border gods. They all went. They looked at the papers and startups. Your through the idea got through and and then we just did it and actually the impact. It's had all the enjoyment seems to have created among people is disproportionate Fortunat to the effort that it took it was a real fluke. Mostly it's the other way round. Mostly you toil and toil and toil and people don't even notice and this one happens happens to come quickly just went through one that the stem did you know who was going to be playing all the characters when you were writing you know. I knew I knew Bolivia would because we went to see are we went to see you know what feels like a thousand years ago. Now she happens to be you a list of one. We haven't considered anybody else and no one else are then. Why just her? What was it about first and foremost foremost I think the aspect? Because I think that you know the Queen Manages to be both the grandest woman in the country and yet entirely approachable. It seems and live has something of that. She she feels like someone. Who is it very likable? Very collectible with and that of calls doesn't it anyway. Suggest how complex both the woman she is and and an actress and I the hardest thing about playing the Queen I think is is to walk very thin line between being clearly a person who is shy why and private and yet someone way one suspect as quite a lot of little Russian Dole's within within them that have been locked away in hidden away and I felt pretty certain that could could really bring something to that and anyway it was a list of one Olivia and then the phone call lost one second we said would you like to. Yes you know I. It was one of those well that was nice and so we probably should meet for lunch and it was a lunch that was before she'd done the positive. aww Queen Anne for which she won the Oscar so she was she said. I've got to eat a lot now because I've got to get fat. So she spoke with her mouth full throughout the entire lunch but she I was excited and happy and Giddy and and then sworn to secrecy for quite a long time. I mean it was long. It was long before the second season came so we we also knew that it was going to be via and had been quiet about it for her in new. She's he's GonNa be. I wrote it for her but I didn't change the voice when you change your cost the fact that you've got the same writer and the same locations and the same the same heads of department filming it. It really is only the face. Everything else has not changed apart from the experience in life that thing that kind of what they bring into it because of course all actors bring themselves to say it gives you the chance to apologize. There's no need to understand all you need to know. Is the time misjudged you terribly. And I'd like to take this opportunity to say to take a closer look at the challenges of casting a whole new set of actors for season three we spoke with Emmy and BAFTA award winning casting directors Nina Gold and Robert Stern. I can't remember a time when we haven't been talking about the seems like we've been talking about it for a long time. We started talking talking about the casting of this incarnation of it as early as we were talking about the first incarnation of what we were shooting. The first two there was a lot of ongoing conversation with repeater about is going to be the next queen and we used to be regular discussion normally around seven forty five. AM pitas favorite costing chat time. We've discovered even earlier where it was very very clear that the dreams successor to Claire was going to be Livia and fortunately she agreed. Identity has been done before is kind of fascinating proposition to have something this up and going everybody. Everybody's made a connection with and then go again and in a sense you're starting with a blank piece of paper for the next two seasons but at the same time we have had to have an awareness of water before the qualities that they had brought to the particular things about each actor that they brought to each of their characters. Fair version characters is in fact you're trying to cast the the character and the same time the character that's been informed by the previous person character so the outcome taking place between the actor and their original character. You have to bed both of those things in mind. When you're looking at the next incarnation of it? The first incarnation of let's say the Queen. What Claire Clad it with it? I guess. The kind of qualities that clamp brought to it were qualities then inform the way we portray the queen in the next version. Version that with the live that seemed to be the thing that really anything like each other in reality but that they both had this incredibly identifiable and five full kind of access to that humanity and to make this character Queen who is you know. We don't know who she is is a real person but they bring their transparent empathetic humanity to it in a way that makes you believe in her as a real human being and they. That's what they really have in common and that's right. I think Pete didn't write a kind of Brittle loof queen and that's not what Claire did did you get a sense of a woman longing to have a more ordinary life. I'm a woman who's dealing with kind of inter family relationships As well as juggling a job that she's very dedicated to that there's a great access to that woman through that approach to writing that character sir. And that's what glad to say magnificently didn't she. And what does pregnant as well. The cost of these real life characters. There's it's a degree of a kind of technical specificity. The actors have to have your being able to study the voices the Matt. We're not looking for impersonations people but they have to be able to look at the voices and physical mannerisms and use some of those elements as hawks on which to hang their own version of the character not bringing enough of that to make it seem like the real person behind completely not make it a lookalike sound or send them up. It's it's about finding a way to exist in the character that gives them freedom but also you can identify with the real life character and the exciting thing is when people come in the video. Know that they're going to make a connection with the historical catcher. They're looking at but there's some bulb goes on somewhere and they've made that connection and able to fly with it. I mean it's really quite quite enjoyable if you find somebody who's GonNa play brilliantly and also has some way of making you of even if they don't look like the really really of kind of capturing the essence in such a way that you recognize the real person in the fictional version wonderful that to get get the chance to work on something that goes from season after season and see all the actors kind of gain in their confidence as they're doing it to work through various decades. It's been quite fun to be part the story that you can really feel watch develop and unfold in a kind of really progressive. Storytelling manner is really interesting. Brad slightly to what everybody thinks back with Peter now we're just delving into the carefully woven themes of politics on the monarchy which appeared in degrees in each episode of the crown. What's always been a lovely narrative of which you mentioned earlier? Is this political narrative that that runs that relationship between you and kind of parliament of thing and within within this first episode we have a whole big shift and there's a couple of really beautiful scenes as well in particular she goes to visit chart show. WHO's very very poorly? So the Queen Deal with Your Majesty moves along it gripped nail biter. We'd better keep an eye on Vanua Swath cont measure what that would be like having a prime minister want didn't trust and one thinks what it was like back with you. I was terrible. Bully You Guardian Angel Roof as my head the spine in my back the iron in my heart. You were the company that steered and and directed me not just me all of us. Where with Great Britain be without its greatest Doc and that was a really special relationship that I think that's what I one of the many things I love about. The series is the way you explore our relationship with these men who they kind of come and go in terms of the last in office for a certain amount of time and if you look at throughout her entire murky many she went through or is going through. It's quite extraordinary ordinary. But why is an important part of the narrative to continue and are those relationships in. What did they bring these things too? I mean I on the Church of the visual I mean. We really agonized about that. Because to bring John Lithgow over and to hire him and just do one seen those little hand wringing thing about that but the and we have to strict rule. which is that the minute? Our Prime Minister is out of office. You don't see them again The reason why ultimately we decided to go back to to having Churchill foreseen is because it felt like another bit of vulnerability for her. You know the now. He's he was a loss connection with her father and also he was the first prime minister you know and and and she'd so relied on him but now of course by this point in her life and her reign. She you know she's confident. She's had three or four prime ministers by now I liked how vulnerable it made her feel in this episode in the first episode. Of course we're exploring the idea that not only has her Mike Downing Street be compromised but also Buckingham Palace's compromised As as we're in the Cold War now by a traitor and and she's left feeling even more vulnerable without Churchill there somehow protect towards a certain kind of England. That's gone when he goes to the Post Churchillian landscape is something very different instead of him. You have Harold Wilson and the thing that you mentioned about prime ministers in the men in her life. It it's useful. I've always found it useful when thinking about her relationship ship. Those men to think of them in in family terms and Churchill was a grandfather as a paradigm and then Macmillan very much farther ida particularly count. Him was so brief and he was a fan. But but Wilson the first you'll understand what I mean when I say has been paradigm he. He's the same. He's roughly the same age and always within a decade. I think and and I think that also necessarily creates a very different relationship and then you moved through all the premises and you get to play would have been the first son. That's actually just mean and ED miliband howdy. There was a brief moment. Of course he would have been a grandson well twin. Oh because they're six months apart you know. So that's that's very much from those emblems. The Eagle with two heads facing in opposite opposite directions both very very a lot of similarities and differences and they would born just six months apart so they've got an an awful lot in common not least agenda which sometimes the things that you think will bring people together actually drive some Paul. It's wonderful to watch Jason Watkins. I think a great piece of Causton for Arnold Wilson but suppose. I should kick things off with an apology. Whatever four winning? I'm aware of the affection for my predecessor. Dallas Youtube preferred him to have continued in office. And I can see the attraction of someone. Someone like someone you can chat with about the racing's well bred High Bona knows how to heal this country as opposed to roughly in line. Me Hot I worked with him. We did a film called the loss of Christopher jefferies about the man who was wrongly accused of murdering in Bristol and Jason was just sensational that and he cleaned up with all the prizes and I really that was one piece of casting got more involved unusual and and it was just because I've been in the trenches with him and what he could do and And I'm glad you like what he's done. I think he's sensational. We have these points points in in the show that we've seen on TV or we know of happens but then that's the wonderful thing in the way that you've written how well you knew these characters in this world world the way that you write we absolutely believe it and how do you do that. How do you decide? What's what you are fabricate and what you creative license and you know as as a dramatist and as a writer two different answers to that I mean the the first bit with regard to the characters characters I mean I think they feel consistent because they are consistent to the character to die imagine they are all that I've created that they are died? That is quite different from they are. It could be that. I'm quite wide of the mock on a number of occasions but I'm consistently wide of the mark and therefore it feels it feels like a consistent characterization. I spent no time with these people. None I don't really want to. I'm interested in them and their predicament. I'm interested in the in the challenge of living within this extraordinary in conundrum. This this Very very very specific anthropological challenge that they have. But I you know I don't know if I've gotta right I don't know. Oh how I'm just guessing it is. It's it's like well intentioned well informed guessing but it's just guessing and you're joining the dots what's and ultimately is the You've gotta you've got to try and provide something plausible that joins two moments because the one great advantage with these people is that everything they do is minuted. We've got caught circulars. We know where they were on at any given time on any given day and then to that you then add things like what. What was their age? Then you add your own experience of life or what sort of things. I was thinking feeling at that particular time in my life. Or what is it like to be married. Or what is it like to have a son or what does it like tough adore. What is it like to be envious of a brother? What is it like to feel eclipsed and these things are universal and it feels heretical when you impose them on these people because we assume well we'd like to think of them as people without those issues? We resent them for their humanity but actually the humanities that they are no different to us and yet nothing like choice. It's that thing you get back to you never sway towards you know kind of rooting for one person or the other. You keep that balance really brilliant in terms of there's no villain really in terms of an in a situation. It's very much kind of it's important to have both sides of the argument. Almost is that easy to do in terms of chewing this food. Rodney Karcher showing. The failure show in their strengths. Are I think they do that for us. I mean you know and there's a lot that's hard to like about a lot of them and there's also a lot of pity and compassion. You can have because it can't be easy see also I don't think it's entirely their fault. I mean I think that the pressure cooker situation that they live in where you know where the exposed and visible to the degree that they are. That can't be easy if I'd been God knows what a member of the royal family. And you were to impose all the things that that have happened on my life into that it would read like a very it would it would be turbulent and and you know hello. I'm really grateful that every time I screw up in life and full short that it's not being written about and so I do feel I feel for them but at the same time they have made some pretty disturbing decisions on occasions and and you know you gotta hug them and welcome Lacombe equal measure because because they are no different in that sense I want to talk about the reflect a Throughout the Cold War kind of that kind of there's there's there's there's events that happened I just imagine that that's an exciting and theme to write about it in a way. Unfortunately the problem with episode one is the it had to be an episode one is the worst thing you can ask any episode to be because it's so much easier to write a midseason episode where you have no obligations is to do introductory writers in a Basil Exposition and here comes the coach. I am this person by the way my agenda. Is this this this this and this I. I wish that I'd come to the To the season so that one could relish the fact that there was a KGB spine Buckingham Palace under suspicion was that there was a kgb spy in Downing Street and that one could really draw out and one could really plant that into and we had to take quite a lot of stuff out that we filmed it was a very very challenging episode episode. One because come midseason I can tell you that would have been all sorts of spies meeting in Washington and they would have been all sorts of stuff that we had to take out because actually the first order of business particularly in first. Fifteen minutes of the first episode is to say the people this is Helena Bonham Carter and she's not going to be playing Princess Margaret. This is via Coleman and to let an audience just sit sit with them for a little bit and and it is therefore it's the only episode in which you are having to make concessions to the storytelling and I'm sure every writer would agree with you. Know Sketches Guitar. I out of the way and then you can actually start writing I I love below this little nuances away. Levin reacts to all the gossip by the spy and every time it's insinuate that it's Wilson and her kind of reaction to the dinner table and it's just it's witty subtle but it's just a lovely tune of kind of of kind of comedy Mitty in a way that she's kind of Like Gossiping. At one point we had to cut. I think about four hundred people had told her imprisoned. Might be a spy and we always wanted us to think. Wherever for doing the Wilson the spy and so we have toned down? Trust me this much version of extras. Yeah I think we've made that point Israel and unless the on on episode one the new new family dynamics in terms of where Elizabeth Phillips relationship as but then also Margaret Interning and where they are with their relationship is well around like you say you have to introduce all that kind of because those stories and relationships tough to develop in whatever way do throughout the CDs uh and people have to get used to different faces. Don't forget people like you know. Vanessa be very very strong flavor to her performance. And signed Helena Bonham Carter neither particularly looks like nor was making any deliberate concession to what Vanessa Kirby had I've been doing and so it takes needed time. But what we cast with Helena Bonham Carter and it was a particularly spy aww casting. I think by Nina cold was you know a the internal map of all of somebody and it's really brave to do that. And because they really don't like one another at all Vanessa Kirby and Carter but it was so interesting to see in so many pieces of behavior just as you're hanging out on set as you turn up through a hassle. You know the I would say the chaos but as it were the tumult that Hannibal and Carter brings into a room was an absolute replica of what used to happen with Vanessa Kirby and the way she she texts you know with the way you get text messages from both and they write identical text messages and says oh my God Nina gold had been so perceptive in and costing a spirit and so. I hope that works selects. Yeah that was definitely not protocol. I'm Edith Bowman and my special thanks to our guests on this episode Nina Goad Robert Stern and Peter Morgan this production by net flicks on something else in association with Left Bank pictures. Join us for our next episode. which goes behind the scenes means of episode two titled Margaret? All Aji which features the gripping performance of Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. Isn't it possible that we've stumbled upon something here. You have fall too much to do far too much pressure far too much responsibility and I tune. It'll having a row having nothing to do this soul-destroying all I'm asking is if you were prepared. Share Little Bowl basics and subscribe live wherever you get you put costs and UH.