Josh O’Connor has said his portrayal of Prince Charles in The Crown is not an impression – as he’d be “rubbish” at mimicking the royal.
The actor, 30, who has played the heir to the throne in the Netflix series since July 2018, said while he’s adopted some characteristics of Charles for his performance, he’d be useless at playing him so accurately that viewers thought: “That’s exactly him.”
Season four of The Crown will be released next month on Netflix, with the courtship, engagement and marriage between Charles and Princess Diana, played by Emma Corrin, one of the main storylines.
But O’Connor, who also starred in the recent adaptation of Emma, said: “I really avoided the person Prince Charles, so firstly I didn’t know an awful lot about him, I don’t follow the Royal Family, I’m an all-out republican, so that’s not really changed.
“I’d be rubbish at trying to do an impression of Charles where everyone goes, ‘That’s exactly him’.”
Filming for the new season, which stars Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, was just about complete by mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic hit and sent the TV industry into lockdown.
O’Connor, who starred in Lewis and The Durrells before his big screen break in Francis Lee movie God’s Own Country in 2017, also spoke about being unable to watch some of his past work as he feels like a “failure”.
Speaking at the virtual Esquire Townhouse @ Your House with Breitling event, he said: “Failure’s all part of the process.
“I’ve made terrible decisions about characters or stuff that I now can’t watch the film, or the series, because all I see is failure. But I’ve learned that what failed for that character, that audacious, outrageous decision made for that character that doesn’t work, could work for something else. And then you have the time to reflect on it.”
He also spoke about bringing his own personal experiences to his performances.
“Sometimes it’s helpful to bring your own lived-in experience into a role,” he said. “Sometimes it’s even more exciting to create something from the beginning and in this film [Mothering Sunday] my character’s story is a tragedy and I haven’t experienced such tragedy in my own life, luckily, so you create this narrative completely unique to you and no one will ever see it because it’s private.”