The Crown’s Prince Andrew actor is not afraid to tackle the disgraced royal’s rumoured wrongdoings, he’s said.
James Murray plays the Duke of York in the hit Netflix series’ fifth season. Andrew was stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages earlier this year, after Virginia Giuffre brought a US civil case against him for sexual assault – claims he consistently denied.
In March, he paid a financial settlement to Giuffre thought to be worth up to £12m.
In a new interview with Variety, Murray said he enjoyed playing “polarising” roles.
“My thoughts were, ‘Great, fantastic,’” Murray said of finding out he’d received the role of the controversial prince. “This is going to be a lot of fun.”
“The material is brilliant,” he added. “And apprehension with regards to what is going on with Andrew in the press? Not really, because the first thing to do was to divorce myself from all that and just treat it as white noise and crack on with the material that was put in front of me. I’m very honoured and privileged to have been offered the role. And it was great fun playing it.”
Variety asked Murray how he would have reacted if showrunner Peter Morgan had decided to dramatise Andrew’s friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the alleged indiscretions that stemmed from it.
“I mean, don’t judge me on this, but I quite enjoy playing challenging or polarizing roles, or certainly scenes that could divide an audience, because I think that’s fun,” he said.
“And I think, from an actor’s point of view, in my career when I’ve been given scenes that have been shocking or divisive or will court controversy or reaction, they’re the fun scenes. But I know that’s not for every actor.
“So if I’d have been given those scenes, or indeed if those scenes come up in Season 6, I’ll enjoy them. I’ll relish them,” he added. “Because we’re doing TV drama and it’s not a documentary. So, from an actor’s point of view, it’s a joy to play.”
In an interview with The Independent, 47-year-old Murray said it wasn’t “as challenging as you might think [to empathise with Andrew].”
“We’re not dealing with the Andrew who’s been so much in the press recently, in season five, we’re dealing with a young man who’s going through marital strife.”