Just days after it was revealed that the The Crown‘s lead actress, Claire Foy, was paid less than her male counterpart, Matt Smith, for the series’ first two seasons, the actress is speaking out about the headline-making story. “I’m surprised because I’m at the center of it, and anything that I’m at the center of like that is very very odd, and feels very very out of ordinary,” Claire told Entertainment Weekly.
“But I’m not [surprised about the interest in the story] in the sense that it was a female-led drama. I’m not surprised that people saw [the story] and went, ‘Oh, that’s a bit odd.’ But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it’s odd to find yourself at the center [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for,” she continued. A few days ago, The Crown‘s producers publicly apologized to Claire and Matt for their pay disparity.
“We want to apologize to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own. Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on The Crown have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity,” Left Bank Pictures said in a statement obtained by E! News.
“As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues. We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a rebalancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes,” the message continued.
“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that these issues are tackled, and as a leading production company we want to make our contribution to the debate. As company policy we are engaged in conversations with ERA 50:50 and going forward are keen to talk to Times Up UK; organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice,” Left Bank Pictures concluded their statement.
The news of Claire and Matt’s pay disparity was previously brought to light during a recent The Crown panel discussion. At the event, one of the show’s producers, Suzanne Mackie, shockingly revealed that Claire — who played a young Queen Elizabeth on the series — was paid less than Matt due to the actor’s star power before landing his role as the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip.
Prior to The Crown, Matt played The Doctor on the BBC’s Doctor Who from 2010 until 2014. When Claire was given her part, she was a relatively unknown actress with small parts on British TV shows Doctors, The Promise, Crossbones _, and _Wolf Hall as her acting credits. “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” Mackie told the audience following her salary confession. According to Variety, Claire was paid around $40,000 per episode during Seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown. It is not known at this time how much more Matt was paid for his work on the series.
The show’s third season — which is set to start filming in July — will feature a change in cast. Claire will be replaced by Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth while Helena Bonham Carter will take over Vanessa Kirby’s role as Princess Margaret. It’s still unknown who will play Prince Philip but British actor Hugh Laurie is reportedly in talks for the coveted part.
Join our Facebook group for the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Prince William, and all things royal!