The Crown’s Olivia Colman reveals ‘exciting’ scenes with Gillian Anderson

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

Olivia Colman has said it was “so much fun” filming scenes for The Crown in which she clashed with Gillian Anderson’s Baroness Thatcher.

The Oscar winning actress, 46, reprises her starring role for the fourth season of the royal Netflix drama, while Anderson, 52, makes her debut playing the first female prime minister.

Colman described their joint scenes as “terribly exciting” and praised writer Peter Morgan for penning believable parts for both of them.

Speaking during the show’s virtual premiere on Thursday, Colman said: “It was terribly exciting at the beginning, powerful woman versus powerful woman, and so much in common.

“But yes, slowly slowly, they started to, in our story, I think it is true, absolutely hate each other, which makes for so much fun to play.

“With Gillian and I opposite each other in a room smiling but not really meaning it.

“We had a ball which is why I really loved the Balmoral (scenes) because that’s where we think the Queen is most at home.

“There was an awful lot of funny stuff with Gillian wearing the wrong clothes in the middle of the fields. And she nearly fell out of a Land Rover. That was funny.”

Anderson said in researching the former leader she was most surprised by the politician’s sense of humour.

The Crown Season Four Premiere
Gillian Anderson and The Crown writer Peter Morgan (Netflix/PA)

“I was shocked at her sense of humour,” she said.

“Watching all the footage of her coming in and out of No 10 or even before that when she was leader of the opposition and she was filmed, and press outside her door every morning, etcetera.

“How she talked to the press and to the general public, I didn’t realise she had humour in her and that she was as quick witted.

“I didn’t realise how she often had a smile on, which I think if I do remember anything it is quite a stern visage.

“To see so much footage of her being quite bouncy and quite chatty, I was shocked by that.”

Colman, who won the best actress Oscar at last year’s ceremony for her role in The Favourite, praised The Crown for presenting the story of the British monarchy as a domestic drama.

The Crown Season Four Premiere
Emma Corrin plays a young Princess Diana (Netflix/PA)

She said: “You can see strings of love between them and strings which are really difficult. Everyone recognises that in their family.

“Whatever the wallpaper behind you or how posh the bottle is you are drinking.

“I think that is what everybody loves – the grandmother, the children, the siblings, the in-laws.

“Peter does it so beautifully that you know when you go into that room before you even play it how you all feel about each other.”

Colman said she felt “slightly more comfortable” returning to the show because the cast felt “a bit more like a family”.

She added: “There’s the teasing and protecting and loving and joking that happens in normal families that we had totally settled into for season four. It was such a joy to do.

“It was slightly scary in season three and then it was just so much fun in season four. I think we all loved it.”

During the virtual premiere, the stars of the drama posed for red carpet-style photos in their own homes.

Following an introduction by Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos, the wider cast spoke about their experiences on set and off.

The fourth series also stars Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne and Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother.

Season four launches on Netflix on November 15.