BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Is The Crown's next step to go back in time?

BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Is The Crown’s next step to go back in time? Writer Peter Morgan wants to pen new show set before the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

Peter Morgan has revealed that he’s not finished with the Royal Family yet.

The writer and producer behind the award-winning Netflix series The Crown recently announced that the drama would end in its fifth season, with Imelda Staunton playing Elizabeth II.

Morgan told me the last episode, which won’t be filmed until next year or the year after, would culminate with Britain entering the new millennium, and will be ‘explosive’.

He had, initially, sketched out storylines for six series of The Crown but changed his mind because ‘there has to be distance’ between the events in the show and real life.

The writer and producer behind the award-winning Netflix series The Crown recently announced that the drama would end in its fifth season, with Imelda Staunton playing Elizabeth II

Peter Morgan told me the last episode, which won’t be filmed until next year or the year after, would culminate with Britain entering the new millennium, and will be ‘explosive’

‘You can’t fully examine incidents that happened yesterday. There has to be ten to 20 years’ distance. And in some instances much longer,’ said the man who also wrote The Queen for the screen, and The Audience for the stage, both of which examined the present monarch’s relationship with her prime ministers.

Morgan did say, though, that he would like to revisit the Royals five to ten years after season five of The Crown streams on Netflix.

‘I don’t know yet, but I might go further backwards in time, perhaps before this Queen,’ he said.

Morgan did say, though, that he would like to revisit the Royals five to ten years after season five of The Crown streams on Netflix

In the past few months, real life inside the Royal Family has, at times, seemed stranger than fiction.

Morgan observed that the last time life at Buckingham Palace had been ‘so turbulent’ was back in 1992 — a year the Queen dubbed her ‘annus horribilis’.

He said: ‘It’s a dangerously turbulent time and the only reason there hasn’t been more of a clamour is out of respect for the Queen and Philip.’

For now, Morgan and his colleagues are busy working on the fourth season of The Crown — which once again stars Olivia Colman as Her Maj — as well as gearing up to work with Ms Staunton on the final episodes.

Lily-Rose Depp has landed a top role in the Keira Knightley Christmas drama that, seemingly, every actor wants to be cast in.


Lily-Rose Depp has landed a top role in the Keira Knightley Christmas drama that, seemingly, every actor wants to be cast in.  The 20-year-old actress will play opposite Sope Dirisu, another fast-rising star

The 20-year-old actress will play opposite Sope Dirisu, another fast-rising star, in the as yet untitled Christmas family movie starring Knightley, Roman Griffin Davis and Matthew Goode.

The picture follows friends and relatives spending the Yuletide holidays together.

The plot is being kept under wraps, but it has been described to me as a fun film for people ‘who secretly dread Christmas’.

Depp and Dirisu will play characters who are being described as ‘the hottest couple in the world’ — and are part of the group that gathers together for the celebrations.

The film will be directed by Camille Griffin, based on a script she wrote for producers Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray and Matthew Vaughn.

I’ve been bumping into Ms Depp a lot lately. She was in Hollywood over the Golden Globe Awards weekend in early January.

Then, last Saturday, she attended the swanky pre-Bafta dinner hosted by Charles Finch and Chanel at the private club 5 Hertford Street in Mayfair.

Dirisu trained with the National Youth Theatre and cut his teeth at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Donmar.

This film will be an opportunity for him to shine with a big-screen cast.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste, known for her work in Killing Eve and the HBO comedy Barry, also has an as yet unspecified role in the picture.

There was something rather magnanimous about Sam Mendes on the stage at the Royal Albert Hall last Sunday, when his film 1917 took the top prize and was named best film at the Baftas.

The director didn’t grandstand. He asked one of the film’s stars, George MacKay, who plays a lance corporal on a mission with a fellow soldier played by Dean-Charles Chapman, to step up to the podium and say a few words instead.

At one of the after-parties I asked Mendes about his selfless gesture and he said he was aware that there won’t be too many more opportunities for his lead actors and other collaborators (co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns performed a similar duty when 1917 took the best British film prize) to enjoy the limelight, and that he wanted MacKay to get some of the glory.

There was something rather magnanimous about Sam Mendes on the stage at the Royal Albert Hall last Sunday, when his film 1917 took the top prize and was named best film at the Baftas

Mendes praised both his leads for their faultless performances, and their decency.

MacKay is one of the good guys in the film industry. I remember asking him if he ever went to nightclubs and showbizzy hangouts.

He looked at me as if I’d gone bonkers. ‘That’s silly. I wouldn’t get noticed in the first instance and I’m not really interested,’ he told me.

Isabella Ellis, a film script supervisor (she works under the name James Ellis), happens to be married to Roger Deakins, the camera maestro who shot the World War I picture. She told me that when she met George’s mother (the costume designer Kim Baker) she couldn’t stop herself from exclaiming: ‘Oh, I have wanted to meet the woman who produced this remarkable young man!’

People ask me why I love 1917 so much.

Well, it’s a great cinematic movie experience for starters. And, for me, it’s also about a decency that we rarely see reflected in public life any more — in this country but also in the U.S.

MacKay somehow exemplifies that quality, which is so rare.

The Oscar-nominated women keep secret until the very last minute which designer’s outfit they’re wearing.

Jonathan Pryce said it’s ridiculous for men to do the same as there’s never much variation in what they turn up in.

The Oscar-nominated women keep secret until the very last minute which designer’s outfit they’re wearing. Jonathan Pryce said it’s ridiculous for men to do the same as there’s never much variation in what they turn up in

‘It’s usually a dark tuxedo — and I’m wearing Brioni,’ Pryce told me. He’s up for a Best Actor Oscar for his sublime portrayal of Pope Francis in Fernando Meirelles’ film The Two Popes.

He also has a to-die-for Brioni cashmere overcoat — useful when temperatures fall at night and you want to enjoy a cocktail in the garden of the Chateau Marmont.

His wife, the actress and director Kate Fahy, will be wearing a gown by Susie Cave at the house of The Vampire’s Wife.

I hope I won’t be drained of blood for revealing that little titbit.

Florence Pugh thought she’d have a restful few days leading up to Sunday’s Academy Awards, where she’s nominated in the Best Supporting Actress section for her performance as youngest sister Amy in Greta Gerwig’s super adaptation of Little Women.

Instead, Pugh was on an early flight to LA on Monday from London, where she attended the Baftas, for additional shooting on the Marvel film Black Widow.

Florence Pugh thought she’d have a restful few days leading up to Sunday’s Academy Awards, where she’s nominated in the Best Supporting Actress section for her performance as youngest sister Amy in Greta Gerwig’s super adaptation of Little Women

She’s playing Yelena Belova in the picture that stars Scarlett Johansson in the title role. Johansson is also in the running for Oscars this weekend — two, actually — for Noah Baumbach’s great movie Marriage Story and the dark comedy Jojo Rabbit.

Black Widow is released on May 1 and the re-shoots are pretty late in the day but scheduling both Johansson (who was at the Baftas too) and Pugh — plus director Cate Shortland and her team — has not been easy.

As I suggested last year, expect Pugh’s Yelena to return in a further Black Widow picture sometime in the future.

Those who have been paying attention will know, of course, that Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff died in Avengers: Endgame.

Watch out for…  

Alex Hassell, the Royal Shakespeare Company-trained actor, who is one of a handful of British actors who have joined Joel Coen’s screen adaptation of Macbeth, which is about to start shooting on locations in Los Angeles.

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, who both started their careers on the stage and know the classics, will be playing the bloodthirsty Macbeths.

Hassell — an ace interpreter of the Bard — will be playing Macduff’s cousin Ross. The film, being backed by Scott Rudin and the A24 film group, also has Brendan Gleeson and Harry Melling in the company.

Renee Zellweger, the Oscar front-runner for Best Actress is also a contender at the Spirits for her brilliant portrait of Judy Garland

Adam Sandler, so good in the Benny and Josh Safdie film Uncut Gems — which I didn’t care for the first time I saw it but have now watched three times — is up against Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse), Kelvin Harrison Jr (Luce) and Matthias Schoenaerts (The Mustang) at tomorrow’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. Usually a lively affair, it’s held under a mammoth marquee on the beach in Santa Monica. Renee Zellweger, the Oscar front-runner for Best Actress is also a contender at the Spirits for her brilliant portrait of Judy Garland.

Marriage Story, one of my favourites, has already been selected as winner of the Robert Altman Award, given to the best ensemble cast. 

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