The actress is taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth from Olivia Colman for season 5 of The Crown

By Georgia Slater
January 05, 2021 10:52 AM
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Credit: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Buckingham Palace via Getty

Imelda Staunton is opening up about the difficulties of playing The Crown's next and final Queen Elizabeth.

On Monday, Staunton spoke to presenter Emma Barnett on BBC radio's Woman's Hour about the "extra challenge" that comes with playing a more contemporary version of the Queen in season 5.

"I think my sort of extra challenge, as if I needed it, is that I’m now doing the Queen that we’re a little more familiar with," the actress explained.

The 64-year-old noted that her time as the Queen will be much different than when Claire Foy (seasons 1 and 2) and Olivia Colman (seasons 3 and 4) helmed the role.

"With Claire Foy, it was almost history and now I’m playing one that people could say 'she doesn’t do that,' 'she’s not like that,' and that’s my personal bête noire," she continued.

Film and theatre star Staunton is most popularly known for playing Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films and also recently starred as Lady Bagshaw in the Downton Abbey movie. She was also nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in Vera Drake, a 1950s British drama about illegal abortions.

Imelda Staunton
| Credit: © 2019 Focus Features, LLC

While playing a more modern-day version of the Queen might prove difficult, Colman said Staunton is well prepared as she has already perfected her regal walk.

While speaking about handing over the role to Staunton in October, Colman admitted the actress has "already got a much better walk than me."

Staunton also revealed her stance on whether or not The Crown should add a fictional disclaimer at the beginning of the show, as was proposed by U.K. government’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden last month.

"I think that is up to producers and directors," Staunton said. "This isn’t verbatim; this isn’t taken from diaries. You’ve got to use your imagination, and I’d like to allow the audience a bit of intelligence. You can’t know that’s what Margaret and Elizabeth were talking about."

Netflix has also retorted that they have "no plans" to add a disclaimer.

"We have always presented The Crown as a drama and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events," the streaming service said in a statement last month, according to The Guardian. "As a result we have no plans, and see no need, to add a disclaimer."