Matt Smith almost passed on Netflix right-royal mini-series, The Crown, where he plays Prince Philip, because of his experience on Doctor Who.
Not wishing to be tied down to another series that could potentially deny him the chance to flex his acting muscles (“look at my muscles!”) elsewhere, producer Andrew Eaton told the Radio Times that Smith was ‘umm-ing and aah-ing’ before signing up for the new drama series.
“I think he was wary about getting into a show that would take up a lot of his time and keep him from doing other things.”
However, the producers persisted with Smith, who they saw as the perfect spoil for Claire Foy’s young Queen Elizabeth II, and they eventually persuaded him to jump on board despite his reservations.
Eaton told press at a special event for The Crown:
“We saw quite a few actors to play Philip, but it was clear from the auditions that we all became a bit fixated that he was the only person who could do it.
“He and Claire work in completely different ways. And they’re quite different people, but they just gelled from the get-go.”
While he was perfect as the Eleventh Doctor, Eaton is keen for audiences to see a difference side to Smith and for the actor to show his full range.
“I think he’s got a fantastic quality to him, Doctor Who put it all in the one direction, and you realise he’s got so much more to give.
“He’s obviously well known to a certain area, he was having to nip off during the shoot to do various Comic Con things and stuff, so he’s obviously known in that world.
“But I think outside that he’s not really known as a film actor particularly yet, so I’m sure for Hollywood and other places it’ll probably change his profile.
“Obviously when you were filming you’d get a lot of kids of a certain age who’d flock to him in complete awe, and he’s brilliant at that. He has a real sweetness about him which I think comes out in his acting.”
You can judge for yourself when The Crown becomes available via Netflix from November 4th.