Claire Foy became one of the best know people on television almost overnight when she starred as Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons of The Crown on Netflix. The show became a huge success for the streaming giant, and one of its flagship dramas when it began in 2016, chronicling the reign of the Queen and the Royal Family.
Foy played the central character of the Queen opposite former Doctor Who star Matt Smith, who played the Duke of Edinburgh in the first two seasons of the show, with the actors giving way to Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies respectively in season three.
And in a new interview, Claire Foy has revealed the insight into fame that Matt Smith shared with her as the series became a global sensation. Having already experienced fame as the Eleventh Doctor in the BBC’s hit science fiction series Doctor Who, Smith was able to give his view on the best way to think about suddenly being propelled firmly into the public eye.
“I’d been working for like 10 years by the time I got The Crown, so I did feel a bit long in the tooth when it happened. [Laughs] I was a bit like, ‘So what?’ I had got to a point in my career where I was just like, ‘Well, that’s not gonna happen for me,’ Foy explained in an interview with Collider.
She added: “I mean, I don’t know who that happens to. It was a pretty extraordinary experience. But I was very lucky that it wasn’t at the beginning of my career. I was very lucky I wasn’t overwhelmed by it or took it too seriously, basically. Or personally! So it was amazing, but I also very much had my own life and knew how to do my job by that point, so I was very lucky.”
But she explains that it was her co-star Matt Smith who was able to offer some context and advice on dealing with the sudden pressures of fame.
“He [Matt Smith] already had it because he’d done Doctor Who and he said, ‘What I think is really interesting about it is that everybody thinks you’ve changed, but you’ve said exactly the same. It’s just everyone’s opinion of you has changed, you know? Everybody around you suddenly thinks of you differently and you think of yourself the same.’
“I understand that that might be like, ‘That’s not difficult,’ but there is something to navigate about that because you still have all the same opinions and insecurities or beliefs about yourself and then suddenly everybody else thinks of you now differently, that you apparently move through the world in a different way even though you still feel exactly the same.
“I think the thing is not to fight it. You can’t control what other people think of you, ever, so you may as well just be in charge of your own life.”
Claire Foy can next be seen in the movie Women Talking set in 2010 when “the women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling a brutal reality with their faith.”