Left Bank Pictures, the producers of The Crown, has issued a statement about the revelation that Claire Foy was paid less than co-star Matt Smith on the Netflix series.
“We want to apologise to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own.
“Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on The Crown have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity,” Left Bank said.
It added: “As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues.”
The pay scandal erupted last week at the INTV conference, where Left Bank revealed that Smith, who plays Prince Philip, was paid more than Foy, who stars as Queen Elizabeth II.
The British-based producer, which is backed by Sony Pictures Television, said Tuesday that it supports the drive for gender equality in film and TV and is eager to talk to the British Time’s Up campaign and is already speaking to Era 50: 50, a group campaigning for gender equality on screen and stage.
However, Left Bank did not say whether it would redress the imbalance between Foy and Smith, and did not comment on a public petition that was started this week calling on Smith to donate the difference between his pay and Foy’s to Time’s Up in Britain.
“We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a re-balancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes,” it said.
Neither Foy, Smith, nor Netflix have commented on the pay controversy.
Two seasons of the lavish series have been produced, and Netflix has ordered a further two. The producers have already committed to pay parity for the upcoming runs of the show, which will see a full cast refresh, to reflect the aging of the characters.
Olivia Colman will play the British monarch on the next two seasons, and Helena Bonham Carter will play Princess Margaret. Other key casting decisions are still to be made. – Reuters/Stewart Clarke