How Elizabeth Debicki Prepared to Play Princess Diana in The Crown
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How Elizabeth Debicki Prepared to Play Princess Diana in The Crown

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
Elizabeth Debicki became Princess Diana in "The Crown." In this essay, we'll be looking at this Aussie actress' journey to becoming the People's Princess. Our video includes Emma Corrin, Peter Morgan, the Royal family, and more!
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How Elizabeth Debicki Prepared to Play Princess Diana in The Crown


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re looking at How Elizabeth Debicki Prepared to Play Princess Diana on The Crown.

In this essay, we’ll be looking at this Aussie actress’ journey to becoming the People’s Princess.

Did Debicki’s Princess Di win your heart? Let us know in the comments.

Even decades later, Princess Diana is one of the most recognizable public figures, meaning whoever fills her shoes has their work cut out. Of course, Emma Corrin stole our hearts in season four before handing the tiara to Elizabeth Debicki. But this isn't where the Australian actress's journey began with "The Crown." Debicki originally auditioned for a different role in season two, although she won't disclose who since she says the person who got the part played it "beautifully." Still, we can't help but wonder. Anyway, she told The Guardian, "They obviously saw something Diana-ish in my audition, which is really not what I was going for at that time." Her agent asked her if she was interested in playing the Princess in the future, and the idea remained at the back of her mind until the call came.

The actress shared how elated she was to land the part until the reality of the challenge up ahead finally sunk in. She threw herself into the research process to understand the person she was to embody. Of course, Princess Di was one of the most photographed people of her time, but Debicki was after "honest" footage that would help her get to the core of the character.

As Debicki steps into the role, Diana finds herself in a tricky predicament. Her marriage falls apart, she shuns the rigid rules set by the Royal family, and she's desperate to tell her side of the story. Despite the many troubles in her personal life, she continues her public duty winning over the hearts of everyone she encounters with her grace, kindness, and charisma. The actress shared that she was surprised by the Royal's sense of humor and the joy she radiated in even the most serious situations.

Of course, it wasn't all ribbon cuttings and smiling for photos. Diana often felt like an outsider and struggled with loneliness and isolation. Unfortunately, or fortunately, if you're Elizabeth Debicki, this was something many of us experienced due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Indeed, the actress channeled those feelings into her performance, noting the effects loneliness can have on your self-perspective and self-worth.

Debicki is fortunate enough to share, to an extent, the tall, slim physique, blonde hair, and natural beauty of the real Princess Diana. Apparently, her resemblance to the Royal was so impressive that a make-up artist on set was stunned to discover Debicki had been wearing a wig for the role. Still, there was more to playing the Princess than just looking the part. Debicki worked with a movement coach to help her capture the character's physicality. Together they worked through the endless footage examining how Diana moved, spoke, and interacted with others to help her create a character that people would recognize but would still look natural.

At this point, we have to mention that dress. It was a pivotal moment in Royal history where Diana essentially raised a middle finger to her past in a way that caught the attention of the entire world. In fact, this was such a monumental moment that many people wanted to know if Debicki would be donning the iconic "revenge dress" after learning she'd landed the part. The actress clearly understood this ensemble's impact and channels its power brilliantly. Also, much like Princess Diana, she looks stunning.

Like all her castmates, Debicki had a secret weapon for mastering Diana’s voice and speech patterns. She said she chose not to practice in front of a mirror as that "would be the worst way to go about it" since she wasn't trying to impersonate the late Royal. Still, we think we can speak for us all when we say that if we closed our eyes, we would struggle to differentiate between the actual Diana and her fictional counterpart. It really is uncanny. Conacher, the show's dialect coach, explained that teaching an accent is like learning choreography; you break it down and take it one step at a time. While the rest of the family essentially speak through clenched jaws, Diana's mouth moves freely, and her voice is less controlled and more melodious. When you hear Debicki speak in her natural Australian accent, it only makes her vocal transformation all the more impressive.

We still can't get over that clip from the recreated "Panorama" interview where Debicki delivers one of its most infamous quotes. Not only does it sound just like her, but she even pauses at all the right moments, her head placement is practically identical, and she even replicates Diana's coy smile at the end.

But apparently, the actress shares more with the late Royal than she realized. While talking to The Guardian, the journalist noticed Debicki move her head in a way that reminded her of the late Princess. The actress responded that something similar happened on set where someone also pointed out how naturally she falls into the character. She jokingly added, "I'm not even doing it anymore. Where is the line? I've lost the line."

Ultimately, Debicki said she chose not to overthink the part too much and instead played "off instincts." She divulged that she wasn't too concerned with tackling such a turbulent part of Royal history since the show is clearly fictional. However, she did credit Peter Morgan's scripts and the extensive research available for helping her frame this iconic role. While there's always going to be a level of pressure and expectation when playing someone as renowned as the late Princess, Debicki believes that her responsibility is to bring Morgan's Princess Diana to life. And doesn't she do a marvelous job?
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