“I was told that my life would change as much as his”

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“Diana’s accent wasn’t particularly noticeable,” says Conacher. “His intonation is the thing an actor can hang their vocal hat on. She spoke with a minor key phrase ending most of the time, something that came from a lack of confidence I think in her youth and a tool she later used to build empathy.Corrin’s correctness for the piece was noted in small increments over several months. In the summer of 2018, she had just left Cam-bridge University and was “auditioning tirelessly” while trying to make money. She had had two small roles on television – in the American drama Pennyworth and an episode of Grantchester – and had played a small role in the movie Misbehavior, about a group of 1970s feminists disrupting the Miss World pageant.

She was working at a start-up packing lingerie when her agent Maya Hambro rang. “Don’t panic,” she said. “It’s not overly exciting, but it’s a great opportunity. The Crown was auditioning five potential Camillas for season three and wanted someone to ‘read’ for Diana, alongside Josh O’Connor, playing Prince Charles. “It’s paid,” Hambro added, “and you’ll be out of the box, but the room will be full of producers, directors and cast.

Corrin learned the lines, devoured the number – fewer books and documentaries on Diana, and took a deep breath. “It was rather perfect for me, very beginner, to be in audition, but without pressure. ”

During a lunch break, one of the directors pulled her aside and asked her if she wanted to work more on the character. “Can we put you on tape too?” He asked. “Don’t hope, Emma,” Hambro warned. “It wasn’t an audition.

But there were pointers. “I have had meetings. They called to check a few times to see what job I was doing. Little things. Then the public casting started and they invited me to audition.

Hundreds of girls have been seen. Corrin’s audition lasted two hours and at the end she said to a friend, “If it doesn’t go any further, this is the best time of my life. Corrin believes his impromptu interpretation of All i ask you, from the musical The Phantom of the Opera, helped win it. As a misjudged gift for the Prince of Wales’ seventh birthday, Diana arranged to be filmed on the West End stage, performing the song in costume with the orchestra. “Can you sing it now?” Morgan asked. Robert Sterne, the casting director, called up the karaoke version on YouTube. He took the male part and Corrin sang the female part.

“My God,” I thought, “What am I doing?” Corrin remembers. “I haven’t sung it in ages. I hadn’t warmed up. I was flying lightly close to the seat of my pants, feeling absolutely mortified. They have since told me that it was the fact that I was so willing to do it that shocked them. They didn’t think I would.

There was another audition when she was called in for a chemistry reading with Josh O’Connor, but it feels like a formality. A few moments after his arrival, the costume department was taking its measurements. Director Ben Caron offered him the role on the set. “After this long process, it was the most wonderful way for it to end,” Corrin says. “I had the most intense wave of feelings I have ever known.

Although she vowed not to say anything about the role of Diana, she went straight to her family in Sevenoaks to tell her parents – Juliette, a speech therapist, and Chris, a businessman. Perhaps because of her South African mother’s resemblance to the Princess, Corrin had always been fascinated by Diana and was an avid follower of The crown. “I am very proud,” she said. “Joining this incredibly talented family of actors was just surreal. ”

The show’s research department produced a huge leveraged file containing everything she needed to know, episode by episode. Corrin was not quite two years old when Diana died in August 1997, at the age of 36. “I have no living memory of her and I think it was helpful. She met Diana’s former private secretary, Patrick Jephson, who told her to remember that Diana was funny and happy most of the time. “Do you think she liked Charles? she asked him. He replied: “Without a doubt.

And she obsessively watched the documentary Diana: In Her Own Words on Channel 4 in 2017. “It helped me understand her voice and the way she reflected on what had happened to her. It was very helpful to hear him talk about Earl’s Court’s massive stint with his roommates in the seclusion of palace life. I don’t like to use the naive word about her – it does her an injustice – but it was so different from what she had imagined. She’s in a sort of dream, waiting for someone to care about her presence.

“Weird parallels” between her experience of being pulled out of the dark and Diana’s are inevitable. Ben Caron told me, “Look, your life is going to change the same way he does. If something happens that makes you feel scared or overwhelmed, if there are photographers following you, just use those feelings [in the part]. »

“It was incredibly useful because it was kind of like that. It may look a lot like a running train, but I can control it, I can slow it down by being more careful. I’m very anxious about doing press and events, so it’s important that I surround myself with people I get along with and really trust.

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