Peter Morgan says British monarch has same pivotal role in show as James Gandolfini's mobster.

You might not think real-life British monarch Queen Elizabeth II and fictional New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano have much in common. But that’s because you are not Peter Morgan, creator and writer of Netflix’s royal family drama The Crown. According to Morgan, both characters play similarly pivotal role in there respective shows, meaning that they can never be offscreen for too long.

“You’ve got prime ministers, you’ve got government, you’ve got crises, you’ve got national conflict, you’ve got other members of the royal family, you’ve got any number of avenues that you could explore,” says Morgan of The Crown. “Why do you always need to gravitate back to this rather silent, taciturn, dutiful middle-aged woman? It doesn’t feel like a natural way for a telelvison show to pivot, and yet it does. It’s a bit like what it must have been like for David Chase trying to write episodes of The Sopranos without Tony Soprano in it. I’m sure he must have tried a million times and then thought, it’s a bit ugh, let’s bring Tony in for a couple of scenes, and suddenly it all shifts its gravity, and you’re rooted. Even in the making of season 1, as early as that, I would realize in the cutting room, Oh, my god, we need to put Claire (Foy) back in, let me rewrite a couple of scenes and put them around Claire, which we did a lot to anchor the show.”

The Crown; The Sopranos
Credit: Des Willie/Netflix; HBO

Season 3 of The Crown finds Oscar-winner Olivia Colman replacing Foy in the role of Queen Elizabeth II. Other new cast members include Tobias Menzies, who plays Prince Philip, and Helena Bonham Carter, who portrays Princess Margaret.

The Crown season 3 premieres Sunday on Netflix.

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