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Olivia Colman reveals hilarious trick to her Queen Elizabeth II role

Olivia Colman is the second actor to play The Queen in Netflix series The Crown after Claire Foy, and in a televised interview, revealed some of her tricks

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Queen Elizabeth II was renowed throughout her 70-year reign for her stoicism — something Helen Mirren was highly praised for replicating in drama movie The Queen. In recent years, portrayals of the Queen have also made a splash in various TV series, with a recent example being the critically-acclaimed Netflix series The Crown.

The award-winning drama series aims to document the majority of Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign. While Claire Foy portrayed the Queen in her younger years across seasons 1 and 2, Olivia Colman was tasked with taking over the role during the third and fourth seasons of the show, which depict Prince Charles in young adulthood and the early years of his marriage to Princess Diana.

In a 2018 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Colman shared her ingenious trick on how to keep the Queen’s poker face during more intense, emotional scenes. “It’s hard, when other characters are saying something that’s quite sad. I can’t help myself, I burst into tears,” she explained. “The Queen doesn’t do that, she is our rock.”

“She is not often [upset], not caught on camera.” Colman added that on days where she did feel a little bit emotional during intense scenes, they filmed “quite a lot from the back of my head.”

But when she had no choice but to do front-facing scenes, Colman had a secret weapon which helped her maintain composure. “They give me an earpiece and play the shipping forecast for me,” she explained. “So I just have to try and tune in for the shipping forecast, and that’s just rude because I’m not listening to my fellow actors, I was trying not to listen to them.”

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For The Crown season 5 and season 6, Colman will be replaced by former Harry Potter cast member Imelda Staunton, who will play a more contemporary version of the monarch.

After the Queen sadly passed away on September 8, aged 96, The Crown confirmed that they had paused production on season 6 as a mark of respect. It is also unclear how the Queen’s passing might impact the planned release of season 5.