It’s difficult to imagine anyone other than Matt Smith in Prince Philip’s shoes on the hit Netflix show The Crown. The British actor is, after all, almost a carbon copy of a young Duke of Edinburgh. But Smith isn’t as stern or serious as the character he plays. On the contrary, he's an accommodating fellow who only had good stories to tell of his time playing Prince Philip.
In an exclusive interview with Town&Country Philippines, with one more month to go before the season two premiere of The Crown, Smith added to the excitement by revealing some developments in the series’ plot. And of his plans of visiting the Philippines soon.
What will you miss most about playing Prince Philip?
Peter Morgan’s writing. I’ll miss Claire Foy because she’s amazing. You know, I’ll miss playing a character who’s defiant and witty, an outsider who does what he wants and doesn’t play by the rules. There’s a lot I’ll miss about him. I’ll miss his cool naval uniforms as well.
What was the trickiest scene to film in the second season? What was going through your mind at the time?
Well, there will be a lot of interesting things that will happen in season two. For Prince Philip, the show will really unlock his past. It will show what happened to him as a child and how that shaped him as a man moving forward.
There were a lot of scenes that were interesting and challenging to film because there’s that side of Philip that people don’t really see, which is the more emotional man. This provides an engaging insight into the man as we learn more about his past.
Can you take us behind the scenes? Were there any funny moments during filming?
The thing about being on set is that every day there’s something quite funny. It's hard to recount, but Claire and I always laugh very much. We have a wonderful working relationship and we both eat a lot of chocolates. We’re both chocoholics.
And would you say that Claire is your closest friend among the cast members?
Yes, I’ve got a lot of friends in the cast but since Claire and I play Elizabeth and Philip, we spend a lot of time together.
Is there anything you miss about shooting now that the process is over?
The production was a mix of quality writing, directing, and acting–that’s what The Crown had, and that's what I will miss. All good things come to an end but what’s interesting about the role is that now it's being passed on to a new cast. We’ll see how it evolves and changes.
Do you have any advice for your successor?
Not really, because [the casting director has] picked some brilliant actor who will just do it his own way. I suppose he should just have a really
Season Two begins with Prince Philip going on a royal tour. What was it like shooting in all those different locations?
It wasn’t quite as far as the Philippines. We shot a lot in South of Africa particularly, quite a way down from Cape Town. There were lots of exotic locations that doubled as Australia, Papua New Guinea, or Poland, which Philip got to visit during the royal tour. It was exciting to travel to far and remote places I probably wouldn’t go to were I not working on a TV show.
Are there any hidden details we should look out for?
Well, it’s set in the '60s and Princess Margaret goes through a big transformation.
Why do you think we need the magic of royalty today?
I think the fact that they’ve endured for so long and remain an institution with values is probably appealing to some people. You know, having a head of state, like the queen, serve for so long. There
Did being part of The Crown change your life in any way?
It’s nice to be part of something that people are engaged with. I mean, here I am talking to a journalist in the Philippines.
Netflix has a far reach in terms of audience and it's really exciting to be part of something that reaches places that feel very exotic to me. I very much would like to come to the Philippines. I hear it’s beautiful.
Do you have anything to say to your fans in the Philippines?
I can’t wait to come to the Philippines, meet you all, and see your beautiful country. My friend just married a girl from the Philippines and they have the most beautiful baby. I’ve been hearing a lot about the country itself. I’m really excited to visit one day because it’s such a striking, wonderful, and beautiful place to live in. Thanks for supporting The Crown. I appreciate it.
What can we look forward to in your career now that The Crown is over?
We’re promoting The Crown now, and then for another production, I’m playing a photographer named Robert Mapplethorpe, who was around in the 1970s and took the most striking photographs. And then who knows what’s next?