Despite the fact that actor Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth, the very subject of Netflix series “The Crown”, she still earned less per episode than her counterpart, Matt Smith, who played the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip.
“The Crown” executive producer Andy Harries, creative director Suzanne Mackie and production designer Martin Childs were speaking at a panel about the series at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday when the topic of pay was raised.
“The producers acknowledged that [Smith] did make more due to his “Doctor Who” fame, but that they would rectify that for the future,” wrote Variety reporter Debra Birnbaum in her conference coverage.
After the admission, Mackie added, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
While Smith’s salary wasn’t stated outright, Foy was paid $40,000 per episode, according to a breakdown of TV stars’ pay. (When Smith first started on “Doctor Who” almost 10 years ago, he signed a three-year, £600,000 contract — just over $1 million in Canadian dollars.) “The Crown”, one of the most expensive TV shows in history, had an approximate budget of US$7 million an episode.
Unfortunately for Foy, she will never get that chance to make an on-par salary — as the Queen ages on the show, she’s been replaced by actor Olivia Colman for at least the next season. For Season 3, the show jumps ahead to the 1970s, and begins shooting in July.
To be fair, Foy was relatively unknown when she initially signed on with “The Crown”, so it’s not abnormal that her salary was lower than Smith’s. Arguably, however, the fact that she was the show’s lead, playing the Queen, throws some heft behind the opinion that she deserved more.
Pay disparity between the genders has been a hot-button issue around the world, but especially in Hollywood. Most recently, it was revealed that Michelle Williams made virtually nothing in comparison with her “All the Money in the World costar Mark Wahlberg, despite their near-equal star status.
At least Foy has moved up in stature, having won a Golden Globe and two Screen Actor’s Guild Awards for her royal performance on “The Crown”. She’s been cast as title character Lisbeth Salander in the upcoming sequel film “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”, so it’s safe to say she can start commanding a bigger salary.