The Crown season five will move into the 1990s, which means we are getting a new set of royals. Imelda Staunton takes over as the Queen, and Jonathan Pryce will be the new Prince Philip. Prince Charles and Princess Diana, meanwhile, will transition from Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin to Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki. With The Crown season five now in production, Netflix released a first look of West and Debicki as Charles and Diana and while SHE is GREAT, HE is TERRIBLE. Dominic West is a perfectly fine actor, so maybe he’ll win me over through his performance, but he is physically distracting, he looks so little like Prince Charles.
Our new Prince Charles (Dominic West) and Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki). pic.twitter.com/2QIMOhY1dE— The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) August 17, 2021
This feels like the first instance of bad casting from The Crown. Dominic West just…isn’t right for this, at least not to me. Look at him! He’s trying, with his posture and his expression and the hair combed back like that, but let’s be honest. This is too much hair. It’s too much dude. Dominic West is a broad man with a full head of hair. This is pretty much the polar opposite of how you describe Prince Charles. I’m not trying to be mean here, but “broad” and “lots of hair” is just not Prince Charles. I don’t believe actors have to be exact physical matches for the real people they play, but there is a point where an actor is just not suited for the role, where the points of divergence become distracting. We have crossed that line with Dominic West. All I see when I look at this photo is how NOT like Charles he is.
Elizabeth Debicki, on the other hand, is PERFECT. Not only is she invoking Diana, but I am also reading Emma Corrin in her face. They don’t look especially alike, but there’s something about their expressions as Diana that is resonating. This is as good a first look at Debicki-Diana as West-Charles is a bad first look. My only real question is if The Crown will let Elizabeth Debicki be tall? If you’re unaware, she is a Very Tall Woman (six-foot-three!). Many movies do not let Elizabeth Debicki be tall. Widows and The Night Manager are two good things that are even better for letting Elizabeth Debicki be tall. Tenet, though, suffers even more demerits for masking her magnificent height in all but one distinctive moment in which she is allowed to loom over everyone in the frame. Otherwise, she spends a lot of that movie sitting down or standing slightly back from everyone else. Boo, let Elizabeth Debicki be tall! Here’s hoping she absolutely towers over Dominic West in The Crown.