Emma Corrin, who portrayed Diana, Princess of Wales, in the fourth season of “The Crown,” revealed her script kept her from believing a lot of historical hearsay about her character during the research process.
“It was a huge pressure that I felt from the moment I got the part. I got quite lost and bogged down in hearsay, speculation and kind of like facts that didn’t really give me any sense of who she was. It was really when I got the scripts and reminded myself that this is Peter’s world that we’re creating and this is my version of Diana, that gave me a bit more freedom to bring my own take to her,” said Corrin.
“Working with Polly Bennett and William Conacher on her behaviour and voice and mannerisms, we very much built [Diana] from the inside out,” she added. “So breaking down the emotional journey, her arc in the script, and what she was going through in each scene, and therefore how that would manifest itself outwardly.”
But not all of Corrin’s research steered her off course. The 25-year-old actress started to develop a deep understanding of Princess Diana’s desire for love and attention in her adult years after reading about the late Royal Family member’s childhood revelations.
“Something that I found fascinating in researching Diana was about her childhood and the lack of support I think she felt from her parents. She speaks about it. I think she said her childhood was very lonely, and really all she wants is a mother, and you realize she was expecting to enter into a family, but she hadn’t quite anticipated the extent to which they were so dysfunctional in their ability to communicate and to love each other in an intimate, emotional way,” Corrin continued.
“The moment [in the show] where [Diana] admits that it is comforting to receive the attention that she does, I think is so beautiful,” she added. “This fine balance that she always plays between her vulnerability and her strength, where she uses her honesty and her openness of emotion to really be very strong and very bold, which is something new for the Royal Family. No one had been that emotionally articulate before, and she’s able to say, ‘Look, yeah, it does feel comforting because at the moment I’m getting no support from any of you so when there are people who see me and want to relate to me and talk to me and support me, of course it’s going to feel good.’ It actually ends up being quite a valuable lesson for the Queen.”
In a new video exclusive to ET Canada, Corrin celebrated the period drama becoming one of AFI’s Top Television Programs of the Year by breaking down that intense scene with her character and Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth II.
“I remember when Josh [O’Connor, who played Prince Charles] and I were discussing this scene and it became so clear through what Diana was saying to the Queen that Diana and Charles’ problem existed in the fact that they both needed the same thing. They both needed reassurance and love in almost a parental way that they’ve never quite got before and so because they both had this gap missing that they needed to fill, neither of them would be able to do that for the other,” Corrin said.
“The hug at the end is just incredible,” she added. “I think Peter said that it was one of the first time he’d seen the Queen hugged by someone who wasn’t Philip. You see two things. You see the extent of her youth and the extent to which she needs a maternal figure and a guide.”
The Netflix drama is also AFI’s Movie Club selection of the day due to the addicting show’s brilliance in storytelling.
“‘The Crown’ carries on its radiant sparkle through the power of brilliant storytelling. As the sun now threatens to set on the British Empire, Peter Morgan’s addictively epic narrative ascends to an even higher throne – with Olivia Colman’s royal embodiment of Queen Elizabeth II evoking both power and pity as she stands in conflict with equally powerful women, including Gillian Anderson’s transformative take on Margaret Thatcher and the incandescent addition of Emma Corrin as Princess Diana,” the American Film Institute said.
In another exclusive video for ET Canada, Gillian Anderson, who plays former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown”, accepted the AFI Award’s honour on behalf of the creative ensemble.
“I am so honoured that ‘The Crown’ has been selected as a nominee at this year’s AFI Awards. It felt like such a huge gift to me to be asked to be a part of the fourth season of ‘The Crown’. I’m incredibly grateful to have worked alongside such amazing co-stars and to witness the talent of all those who dedicated so much time and creativity to the behind the scenes processes, whether that was production, or lighting, or costume design, or creating a giant bouffant hairdo for Margaret Thatcher,” said Anderson.
“On behalf of the entire creative ensemble, I know we are proud to be recognized by AFI, and proud to share our story with you today,” she added.
The AFI Awards celebration is sponsored by Audi, a supporter of AFI programs for the past 17 years. To commemorate each of the AFI Awards recipients, Audi has created the AFI Awards Audi Scholarships initiative providing scholarships in the name of the honorees to women and BIPOC Fellows at the AFI Conservatory – for a total contribution of $250,000. Congratulations to Abbie Vance, Production Design Fellow, recipient of the AFI Awards Audi Scholarship in the name of AFI Awards Honouree “The Crown”.