The Queen’s guards lined the royal carpet as stars and creatives returned, post strike, to a warm reception of journalists and fans at the Westwood Regency Theater in Los Angeles for the season six premiere of Netflix’s Emmy award-winning series, “The Crown.”
The corgi dog featured in the series was in attendance alongside creator, showrunner, producer, and writer Peter Morgan, and stars of Part One, Elizabeth Debicki, Jonathan Pryce, and Khalid Abdalla, were on the carpet and reminiscing about the shoot. Returning on November 16 to the streamer, the series begins with a four-episode Part One that explores the short romance between Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Dodi Fayed (Khalid Abdalla). Netflix previewed the first episode for a packed theater eager to watch the conclusion of the beloved series.
Part Two will be available to stream on December 15 on Netflix and tells the story of William and Kate. Prior to the screening, Executive Producer Suzanne Mackie explained that the advantage of time between the release of Part One and Two allowed for an important arrangement.
“Do we want to risk challenging and changing the formula? But actually, it’s exciting and keeps the show alive for longer,” said Mackie. “In many ways, as it transpired, the end of episode four is a gear change to episode five, and I think that gap that we’ve got now will help in many ways to come back to an older William and Harry. It helps with the adjustment.”
Primetime Emmy Award-nominated composer Martin Phipps approached his compositions differently this season as relationships in the family are tested further following the tragic deaths. However, Part Two offers a lighter air to the story, and Phipps decided on reduced instrumentation to accompany the emotional weight of the characters.
“[The music] gets harder as you come nearer the present day because many of these characters, people remember who they were and the events themselves,” shared Phipps. “So, we had to be more careful with the music, and more precise, and more restrained, to get the emotional balance just right.”
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos introduced the screening with affectionate words for series creator and show-runner Peter Morgan, giving insight into their future partnership at the streamer. “I am profoundly, profoundly grateful to Peter Morgan… He is a remarkable talent, and we are thrilled that we’ll be exploring his next films and series for years to come at Netflix,” started Sarandos. “In the chaos of creation, some relationships fray or are pushed to the limits. That was never the case with The Crown. Everyone involved was in it for the same mission to create television that people had never seen before.”
In a post-screening conversation with Deadline’s Executive Awards Editor Joe Utichi, Morgan noted that while the main cast changed every two seasons, the crew behind the series largely remained the same across the series. “It was lovely that somebody referred to the atmosphere of the show because there are so many people who stayed from day one right through the end, which I think is quite unprecedented,” stated Morgan. “It’s made this very special family.”
The fifth season of The Crown is nominated for six Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Debicki. From the beginning, eleven years ago, Morgan envisioned where the show would conclude. “I knew that I wanted to end with enough distance from where we are today that it should still feel like history, even if, for some people, it feels like very recent history. Twenty years is a generation, and I always wanted to have that kind of buffer between where we are now and where the drama ends.”
In the season six premiere episode, Princess Diana travels to St Tropez with a young William and Harry and connects with Dodi while Prince Charles (Dominic West) reaches further for the Queen’s validation of his relationship with Camilla (Olivia Williams). After reading the scripts for Part One, Debicki remembered having a vivid response after reading the fourth episode. “I was devastated, actually,” recalled Debicki. “I remember I read all four, took a deep breath, and went and laid down somewhere.”
Debicki also spoke on the duty of respectfulness as an actor recreating and characterizing their real-life counterparts in the show. “It’s very unusual and challenging and a beautiful experience to play these characters, and we feel a great deal of responsibility,” expressed Debicki. “We take it deeply into our hearts and our souls, and we work from that place.”
Part One is an opportunity for the series to explore the unknown story of Dodi Fayed. Khalid Abdalla added that he felt fortunate to encapsulate a man who has been virtually unknown to the public. “Dodi is a person who died 26 years ago. He has been on supermarket shelves in magazines. People know his name, and they know virtually nothing else about him,” explained Abdalla. “He was a gentle, shy person with a very intense and important relationship with his father.”