On Netflix’s ‘The Crown,’ the prince got paid more than the queen

The critically acclaimed Netflix Inc. series “The Crown” is about Queen Elizabeth II, but the actor who plays her husband took home the fatter paycheck.

Speaking at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday, executives from Left Bank Pictures, which produces the series, admitted Claire Foy — who was nominated for an Emmy Award last year for her portrayal of the young queen — was paid less than supporting actor Matt Smith, who plays Prince Phillip.

They cited the fact that Smith, who had starred in the popular TV series “Doctor Who,” was more well-known going into the series. Prior to “The Crown,” Foy was best known for her role on the BBC series “Wolf Hall.” The producers did not specify how much either actor was paid, and Netflix NFLX, -1.69%   declined to comment. Each episode of the series cost about $7 million to make, and last year Variety reported that Foy made about $40,000 per episode.

The producers said that from here on out, the actress playing the queen will be paid more than her co-stars. “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen,” Left Bank creative director Suzanne Mackie said Tuesday.

But that will be too late for Foy. The series will re-cast the queen and prince for its third season, to reflect a time jump a decade or two ahead of its first two seasons.

Pay disparity and gender inequality have become hot topics in Hollywood in recent months, following a series of sexual misconduct and harassment scandals, and the #TimesUp movement has cited equal pay as among their goals in an effort to eliminate gender biases.

Foy will likely still command a hefty pay raise in her future projects, which include the starring role as Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” a sequel to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” from Sony Corp.’s SNE, +0.12%   Sony Pictures; and in “First Man,” a biopic from Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA, -1.43%   Universal Pictures about astronaut Neil Armstrong starring Ryan Gosling, where she’ll play his wife.

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