In a series that will cover Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign, the drama will last more than 20 hours and require up to four different actresses to play the Queen at different ages.
The production is being steered by English playwright Peter Morgan and director Stephen Daldry, for whom Queen Elizabeth’s life is familiar territory.
The pair recently worked together on The Audience, a smash-hit London stage show about the Queen’s weekly audiences with prime ministers (eight and counting) from Winston Churchill in 1952 to David Cameron in the present day. Morgan also wrote The Queen, a 2006 film depicting the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana for which he was nominated for an Academy Award.
The drama has been commissioned by Netflix, a streaming service that is, strictly speaking, not available in Australia and best known for other original productions House of Cards, Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black. Netflix has earned a reputation for heavily investing in its own content and this latest production is reported to cost $170 million.
Actress Helen Mirren, who played the respected royal in both The Queen and The Audience, and won an Academy Award and Olivier award for her respective performances, is not confirmed to have any involvement in this new production.
I do not “want to be known as the actress who played the Queen”, Mirren said.
Actors will be needed to play members of the Queen’s family including Prince Philip, Charles, Diana and William as well as the hundreds of statesmen and women the Queen has met during her reign, including Nelson Mandela.