Arts & Culture

The One Thing The Crown Couldn't Get Right in Season Three

After colored contact lenses were deemed a failure, the show considered a workaround.
IMAGE SOPHIE MUTEVELIAN / NETFLIX
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Of all the things The Crown has to replicate in exquisite detail—the palaces, the royal jewelry, the historical events—it seems like Queen Elizabeth's eye color would be on the easier end of the list. In the first two seasons, it was a non-issue, as the then-Queen Claire Foy is also blue-eyed. But when Olivia Colman was cast to replace Foy as the middle-aged monarch, it presented a problem.

First, the crew tried to put the brown-eyed Colman in colored contact lenses, but that was quickly dismissed. It was like "she was acting behind a mask," Ben Caron, who directed the first four episodes of The Crown's third season, told the Guardian. "It was as if we had taken all of her acting ability and put it in a safe and locked it away."

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Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth in 'The Crown'
Photo by SOPHIE MUTEVELIAN / NETFLIX.

So, more extreme measures were taken: the team attempted to use CGI in post-production to change Colman's eye color. "But it didn’t feel like her," Carson explained. "CGI-ing her eyes seemed to diminish what she was doing."

After trying multiple methods, The Crown's team ultimately decided to let Colman's eyes remain brown. Although it might be a little jarring at first for viewers to see a brown-eyed Queen, the show's casting director thinks they'll soon forget it.

"We always thought it should be Olivia, right from the beginning," casting director Nina Gold told The Guardian. "The thing everybody loves about Claire was that she transmits her humanity in a very simple, plain, not-doing-anything kind of a way: you just get it. We felt that was exactly the same thing Olivia does. It’s not about looks—it’s about a quality."

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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