A fine line. After she was cast as the late Princess Diana, actress Emma Corrin tried not to get too overwhelmed by the minor details — or the major pressure.
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The Crown star, 25, sat down to chat about the Netflix series with Bridgerton‘s Regé-Jean Page for Variety‘s Actors on Actors series and reflected on how she avoided being swept up in the Princess of Wales’ powerful legacy.
“The bridge between the two things for me was the script. I know that sounds really weirdly obvious, but I had three or four months when I got the role and started doing the research when I hadn’t yet got the script,” Corrin explained. “And it was a bit like I was falling into this dark hole of research. I mean, God! If you Google Diana, there’s, like, new articles every day.”
Instead of turning to the “limitless biographies and newspaper articles” about Diana’s life and death, the Golden Globe winner reminded herself that she wasn’t working on a documentary. “I got the script, and I sort of had this mad realization that as much as this is Diana, this character is almost fictional. And you should treat it as such,” she continued. “When I got the scripts, I could really just work off what was on the page. It’s sort of a love story. It’s a marriage. It’s two humans navigating extraordinary circumstances by virtue of their position in society. As soon as I narrowed it down to that, I could make any research much more specific.”
The up-and-coming actress received rave reviews for her portrayal of Prince Charles‘ late ex-wife, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. After learning that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have seen a bit of the Netflix drama, Corrin admitted to feeling starstruck.
“It’s really interesting,” she told TheWrap earlier this month. “Personally, I try not to engage with it because I feel like it’s a slippery slope and if I start worrying about who’s seen it and what they think, it becomes stressful. … When I’m becoming a character, and especially with The Crown, I become so fond of the person that I brought to life, my version of her.”
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Harry, now 36, was still young when he and Prince William lost their mother. When asked about his opinion on the series — and how accurately it represents life within the British royal family — the Duke of Sussex said the critically acclaimed series was only “loosely based on the truth.”
He told James Corden in February, “They don’t pretend to be news. It’s fiction. … It gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that.”
The prince and his wife, 39, stepped back from their senior royal duties in March 2020, making the decision permanent nearly one year later. The couple now reside in California with their 2-year-old son, Archie, and their daughter, Lili Diana, who was born on June 4.
Harry has spoken openly about how Diana’s death left a lasting impression on him, and with the arrival of his second child, he knew he wanted to honor his mom with a special tribute. His little girl was named after both Queen Elizabeth II and the late princess.
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Since being cast to portray the beloved royal figure, Corrin has also developed a strong bond with Diana. In her 2021 Golden Globe acceptance speech, she opened up about what she’d learned from the role.
“Most of all, thank you so much to Diana,” she said in February. “You have taught me compassion and empathy beyond any measure that I could ever imagine.”
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