Fans had been hoping to see Paul Bettany join the new cast of The Crown, playing an older Prince Philip. The Wimbledon star was hotly tipped as the front-runner to replace Matt Smith, however Deadline reports that Paul, 46, is no longer a contender. The actor was apparently in negotiations over the weekend but has since pulled out of talks for an unknown reason.
Meanwhile, Olivia Colman is confirmed to play the Queen in season three and four of the Netflix drama. She will take over Claire Foy, who has won multiple accolades for her portrayal of the young monarch, including a Golden Globe and two SAG awards. Vanessa Kirby is also giving up her role as Princess Margaret and will be replaced by Helena Bonham Carter. The 29-year-old actress appeared to confirm the news earlier this month, by sharing a photo with Helena on Instagram. "Honoured," she simply wrote, tagging The Crown in her post.
Paul Bettany is no longer a contender
Speaking about being cast as the Queen, Olivia previously told RadioTimes: "I have remained ridiculously excited since. I'm trying to be cool. I got a phone call from my agent when I was in a car [telling her that she had been asked to meet with director Peter Morgan]. I think I had fairly recently finished watching the first series, which I think I had done in about three nights and so I was very excited."
On being replaced by the Broadchurch actress, Claire told HELLO!: "She's a genius, a wonderful human being. I can't offer anything to her, just admiration." When asked if she had any tips for her successor, the new mum added: "Absolutely not, she needs no tips from me."