How do you solve a problem like Prince Andrew? That’s the question Netflix may be asking itself as The Crown’s fifth season prepares to go into production. On Tuesday, the streamer denied a report from The Sun that claimed The Crown is “struggling” to cast the role of Andrew on its upcoming season. According to the outlet, producers at Left Bank Pictures had placed a casting call for the part on a website called Spotlight.
“There is absolutely no struggle to cast any role for season 5 of The Crown, and it is normal practice for productions to advertise in Spotlight,” a representative for the series said in a statement to Deadline. In The Sun’s original report, a casting source said that Andrew, a part for a man in his mid-30s to early-40s, is “not the sexiest role” following his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, which forced him to step away from official royal duties in 2019.
The pressure to cast Prince Andrew is on as production for the fifth season begins this June, Deadline reports. A starry lineup has already been assembled to join The Crown, including Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Dominic West as Prince Charles, and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana. Other high-profile characters that have yet to be announced include who will be playing Camilla Parker Bowles following Oscar winner Emerald Fennell, and who will take on the role of Sarah Ferguson, who was married to Andrew from 1986 to 1996.
Prince Andrew was played by Tom Byrne in The Crown’s fourth season, and featured most prominently in an episode titled “Favourites.” During the installment, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman in seasons three and four) meets with each of her children to determine, bizarrely, which one she prefers most. After uncomfortable lunches with Charles (Josh O’Connor), Princess Anne (Erin Doherty), and Prince Edward (Angus Imrie), she settles into a relieved rhythm with her third eldest child, Andrew. However, at one point the queen says, “If he doesn’t change…,” perhaps alluding to the Andrew’s future public missteps.
The Crown’s fifth season will likely cover the ’90s, and potentially Andrew’s divorce from Fergie. In March, they became grandparents with the arrival of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s son, August. Earlier this year, reports suggested that Andrew had hopes of starting a new chapter following his entanglement with Epstein and Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell.
After Prince Philip’s death in April, Andrew made his first public statements since the Epstein scandal outside the Chapel of All Saints near his home in Windsor. “I feel very sorry and supportive of my mother, who’s feeling it, I think, probably more than everyone else,” he said. “The queen, as you’d expect, is an incredibly stoic person. She described his passing as a miracle. She’s contemplating, I think is the way that I would put it. She described it as having left a huge void in her life, but we, the family, the ones that are close to her, are rallying around to make sure we are there to support her.”
It remains to be seen who will play the fallen royal when The Crown returns in 2022—or just how much the series will allude to Andrew’s controversies.
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