Josh O’Connor: Charles and Di a conflicted love story
Q: Charles’ relationship with Diana is incredibly complex. How did you find the challenge of depicting the developments in their marriage?
A: I think the biggest thing was just being aware of not playing the end. Unlike many of the storylines, we know almost every beat of the Charles and Diana story as so much of it has been played out in the media. I was always conscious that I wanted to get rid of those thoughts and play it truly as a conflicted love story; that there is a lot of love there for each other and it’s a conflict because ultimately Charles doesn’t know if it is the right thing to do.
The trickiest element is always that so much of “The Crown” is getting rid of what we already know and seeing this as a drama, rather than anything historic.
Q: In Season 3, many viewers felt compassion for Charles. How do you think they will react to him this season?
This (season) is slightly more complicated because I always had, as I think a lot of people had, a prejudice of, a very two dimensional view of how that marriage broke down or why that marriage broke down and I think the friction between love and duty often makes people think it is all the Royal Family’s fault.
What is really interesting in this (season) is seeing a man desperately trying to get out of this mess. I hope, through that, people are going to come away actually thinking that these are two very lost souls and that they had been manipulated. They both needed something they couldn’t give each other and it didn’t work. I think because of Peter’s (Morgan, series creator) writing, people are going to go on a rollercoaster of feeling for Diana and then for Charles and understanding his frustration, understanding her frustration so I hope people will come out very balanced and sympathetic for both.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.