How The Crown Continues Princess Diana Actor’s Very Unusual Typecasting

How The Crown Continues Princess Diana Actor’s Very Unusual Typecasting

During a recent talk show appearance, The Crown’s Elizabeth Debicki discusses how the Netflix show continues a specific typecasting trend for her.

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The Crown‘s Elizabeth Debicki discusses how her turn as Princess Diana continues a very specific typecasting trend. As is tradition for the Netflix drama, a new season meant new actors taking over as iconic real-life figures. In the case of Diana, Debicki took over for Emma Cornin, who’d portrayed the Princess of Wales in The Crown season 4. Although it’s a huge gig, with potential Emmy buzz, the performance was actually part of a continuing theme that has recurred throughout Debicki’s career.


During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Debicki was asked about the recurrent theme. Colbert brought up the actor’s past performance in The Night Manager and Tenet, comparing those turns with her time leading The Crown‘s season 5 cast. Debicki responded that the connecting point is not the characters are blonde. But that, somehow, she’s become synonymous with portraying people who are sad on boats. In the quote, which is included below, Debicki jokes that she’s not entirely how that bit of typecasting happened:

I’ve cornered the market for sad people on boats. I don’t know how I did that! I don’t know how I did it. The first time I was ever on a fancy boat was with Hugh [Laurie], and I think people saw it and thought, “she’s great on a boat. Put her on more boats.”

Related: The Crown: What Happened To Martin Bashir After His Diana Interview

How Have The Crown Fans Received Debicki’s Diana Performance?

Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown season 5

On the whole, The Crown season 5 has garnered a more negative response than the Peter Morgan series typically does. Reviewers have noted that the show is losing its sheen of prestige as it moves away from distinctly past eras, becoming more of a gossipy commentary on relatively recent events that many viewers were alive to witness. Still, whatever negativity The Crown has received, it hasn’t applied to Debicki. The actor had been a popular choice for the role before she was cast, with audiences saying she looked perfect for the part.

Those predictions proved to be correct beyond just the point of physical resemblance. Debicki not only made for an aesthetically convincing Diana, but she was able to tap into a part of what made the Princess of Wales such a captivating global presence. Other recent Diana portrayals, such as Kristen Stewart in Spencer, play into Diana’s public image in order to create a sense of horror and disorientation. The Crown season 5 and Elizabeth Debicki’s Diana play the events with decidedly less wish fulfillment and fantasy, leaning right into the tragedy while trying not to exploit what was a terrible real-life event.

That could well be an example of Debicki’s salient skill at embodying sad people, whether they’re on a boat or not. It’ll be interesting to see whether that skill nabs the actor some major awards recognition. For many of those that have seen The Crown season 5, even though the relative recency proves divisive, there’s been little denying that Debicki livens up the series when she’s on the screen.

More: The Crown: How Rich Was Mohamed Al-Fayed?

Source: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

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