Tobias Menzies has been cast as Prince Philip in ‘The Crown’: good choice or nah?

Mid-season New York premiere of 'Outlander'

The Crown’s producers have been trying to cast (re-cast) the Prince Philip role for months. The conceit of The Crown is that the actors only play the royal figures for two seasons, then there’s a jump in time and new actors are hired. We heard months ago that Olivia Coleman would take over from Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth. But casting Prince Philip turned out to be a tricky endeavor. First they went to Paul Bettany, who briefly signed on but then pulled out (scheduling conflicts, allegedly). Then Hugh Laurie was the next big name and many people loved the idea. Vulture recently ran a “who should play Philip” piece and after that, I became convinced that Iain Glen should play him. But now they’ve scored someone else: Tobias Menzies, best known to me as “the best actor on Outlander.”

Tobias Menzies has closed a deal to play Prince Philip in Season 3 of Netflix’s The Crown. This is the role that Paul Bettany had been in early talks to play before he abdicated for unspecified reasons. Menzies has signed on for the next two seasons, and begins shooting this summer in the UK.

Menzies certainly has the regal bearing. He has played Brutus in HBO’s Rome, Edmure Tully in Game of Thrones, and the dual roles of Frank Randall and the sadistic Black Jack Randall in Outlander. He most recently wrapped the Duke of Cornwall in King Lear alongside Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson for BBC Films and Amazon Studios. He’s also currently starring in AMC’s The Terror.

[From Deadline]

If you just look at photos of him, Menzies doesn’t really pop. But on screen, he can do anything. He can come across as the nicest guy in the world or the biggest bastard. He can play a posh aristocrat or or a sniveling office worker. I think he’ll probably do a great job as Philip. Also: you guys remember that Helena Bonham Carter is going to play Princess Margaret, right? That’s a particularly genius piece of casting, my God.

'The Terror' Madrid Premiere - Arrivals

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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77 Responses to “Tobias Menzies has been cast as Prince Philip in ‘The Crown’: good choice or nah?”

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  1. Nicole says:

    They really upped their game for casting. He’s honestly so underrated.

  2. Theresa Pirrelli says:

    This is a fantastic choice. He is a great actor that elevates everything he’s in! 👍🏻

  3. Anne says:

    Menzies is great actor. (I watched “Outlander” only bc of him, his duble role: good guy and bad guy), and he is hot, hot, hot.

  4. BengalCat2000 says:

    I first noticed him when he played Brutus in Rome. He’s a great choice for PP.

  5. Ehhh says:

    I love love love this casting. I was disappointed when Bettany fell through, and wasn’t thrilled with the possibility of Hugh Laurie. I think this is a great choice, he will do a great job.

  6. SunBo says:

    I just remember him as Brutus and from Black Mirror as well. He’ll do perfect as Charles.
    ETA:* Phillip

  7. lightpurple says:

    Sixer! Sixer! Wherefore art thou, Sixer! Tobias Menzies as Phillip is PERFECT!

  8. Becks says:

    I love him. He will do an amazing job. I don’t think he looks all that much like Phillip, but the right costumes and some makeup will make a big difference. And he is a great actor, which is more important.

  9. Abby says:

    Ah this should be great! I love/loathe him in Outlander. He’ll be awesome.

  10. xdanix says:

    Eh. He’s a really good actor, for sure, but it’s the same situation for me that I had when Hugh Laurie’s name came up- I’m just not excited about this prospect the way I was for the prospect of Paul Bettany. He’s ruined any other Philip for me without ever even playing the role in the end! :D

    (Also… maybe this is WAY TOO AWFUL of me… but does anyone else think that they had to make SURE they cast someone who WASN’T a huge name, such as HL (who would have come with a giant quote attached, undoubtedly), so they could be SURE they could say they’re either paying the Queen and the Prince the same, or paying Olivia more…)

    • Tina says:

      I think you’re spot on with your speculation. Once it was announced that the actor playing the Queen would always be paid the most, there was no way it could be Hugh Laurie and had to be someone more obscure.

      But Menzies is a great, great choice IMO. He is a fabulous stage actor and had blinding chemistry with (ironically enough) Vanessa Kirby in a recent production of Uncle Vanya at the Almeida. I’m sure he’ll play Philip very well. (And the Queen looked fairly matronly in the 60s and 70s – Philip did look younger than she did at the time).

    • Carrie1 says:

      I don’t see that but it doesn’t mean you’re wrong. I do think all of these new cast decisions are ultimately the best as they’re all strong mega talented character actors. Every one of them. I can’t wait for this.

  11. F. Intintola says:

    He doesn’t hold a candle to Prince Phillip.

  12. Cannibell says:

    I have been kind of a celluloid idiot for a long time (since starting grad school and helping my mother through her last seven years), but I have been watching “The Crown,” and you are all making me happy about this choice.

    • Carrie1 says:

      I completely relate. Both parents now passed here but further disabled by illness. The world falls away for stretches of time out of necessity.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the Crown and joining in here. Shows this good are few and far between.

  13. Sparkly says:

    My first reaction was that I wasn’t sure I’d like that. However, he’s such an awesome actor that I’m sure it will be great.

  14. reverie says:

    I have loved him since Rome and every time I’ve seen him since I get excited because the quality of the show just got upped. There’s something about him… his demeanor or his smile… I don’t know what it is. I find him attractive.

  15. Talie says:

    He’s been great for years in so many TV projects, and he’s also very tall, which will work well.

  16. Huckle says:

    Is he the guy that played Katelyn Stark’s bro?

  17. Boudica says:

    He was excellent in Outlander, in the dual roles. I had sympathy for him as Frank but loathed him as Jack. But even the character of Jack had aspects that invited a degree of sympathy… because Tobias is such a damned good actor. I am looking forward to seeing him playing Philip. I think he looks more like Phillip than Matt Smith did.

  18. Merritt says:

    This is good casting. He is really talented.

  19. bread says:

    I never look for him but I always enjoy his performance whenever he pops up in something I’m watching. Good piece of casting!

  20. Lizzie says:

    amazing actor. i might try to catch up and tune in!

  21. Ninks says:

    I’m not sure why, but I took an instant and total dislike to Outlander from the very first moment I heard about it. It’s weird and irrational, and I can’t explain it. I’ve read bits about it, the constant rape stories, then sort of reinforced my beliefs, but that was after the face. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago it was on TV so I thought I should watch it and give it a chance, and I tried to be openminded but 10 minutes was enough for me. I thought it was awful.

    So, my first instinct when I saw he’d been cast, was ugh. (I just really hate it.) But actually, I think he’s a really great actor and I’ve loved him in other things so I’m looking forward to him as Philip.

    • Sara says:

      It doesn’t get good until she goes through the stones. Which I think isn’t until the very end of the first episode? I adored the first season (sans the last two episodes which I will NEVER watch because yes, there’s a lot of rape). I just haven’t been able to really get back on board after season 1. It’s not the show’s fault entirely – the second book is a bore and a half. The third book is good. I moreso enjoyed the first half of season 3 over the second half. We get it. Claire and Jamie have a LOT of sex. So much so that it’s become boring. I will be interested in season 4 plot since they’ve made it to America and I like studying that period of American history.

      • LAK says:

        I binge watched seasons 1 and 2 because my friend, a production designer / interior designer raved about the production design.

        Loved season 1 sans the last 2 episodes. Loved episode 2 (the silliness of Paris espevially Louise) and i think 8 (the one about the battle of preston pans).

        Overall, despite the outstanding production design and costuming, i decided that i really hated the show. Too gratuitously rapey and violent, and Claire had no sense whatsoever and frequently endangered everyone around her. Turning her into a damsel in distress who had to be rescued in nearly every episode grated. All the supporting characters are better written than the central couple.

        Won’t watch any more series.

      • Kelly says:

        @LAK,
        I grew to despise Claire due to her treatment of Frank. Plus, she seems almost motherly when it comes to Jamie. I love her brilliance with medicine and strategy, but she was impulsive as well as constantly shrieking. Can Claire not speak in a normal tone? I contemplated watching again now that Frank is mercifully gone, but learning Brianna will arrive in 1700s Scotland only to be raped – nah. Plus, Jamie married the very woman who set Claire up to be burned as a witch. It made Jamie look so weak. He needed Claire to tell him what to do.

        I actually took quite a break after Jamie’s rape by Black Jack was filmed in an erotic manner, and the author was psyching people up for the exciting rape of Jamie.

  22. lobbit says:

    Great choice – he’s crazy talented.

  23. JeanGenie says:

    I’m just happy it isn’t Hugh Laurie. He’s a very good actor, but is too old to play opposite Olivia Coleman in this role.

  24. Cali says:

    I’m going to have to watch this show now. I absolutely LOVE him. He’s an amazing actor. Off to catch up on seasons 1 & 2!

  25. Tiffany says:

    Olivia and Tobias in scenes together. I am ready.

  26. Rumi says:

    He’s is a brilliant actor, criminally underrated.
    He can play complex very well.
    Anything I’ve seen him in, he steals the scenes and brings so much depth to a character.

  27. galexhkg says:

    God, I love Tobias Menzies. He has such smouldering, intelligent presence to me. He’s that kind of sexy that really gets under the skin because it’s so specific and intense. Did anyone see him in “The Honorable Woman”?

  28. Escaped Convent says:

    I adore Tobias Menzies. Although I can’t imagine him as Philip, i think Tobias could play almost anyone and be utterly convincing. I’ll start watching the Crown because of him.

    And his Black Jack Randall was so terrifying, he belongs in some kind of Pantheon of Villains.

    • L84Tea says:

      I’ve said the same thing about his Black Jack Randall performance. He absolutely terrified me in that role to the point where I had to get up and leave the room at times. Many people turn their nose up at Outlander because they think it’s a romance novel come to life, but they have no idea what they’re missing with actors like him in it.

  29. Mina says:

    Menzies is a good actor, but I don’t think he’s the best choice for this role.

  30. Jussie says:

    I love him, but man, he’s going to need a truckload of aging make-up by his second season if they want him to look remotely like Philip did at that point.

    I know some people thought Laurie was too old, but in terms of how Philip actually aged, he was perfect. Now when they cast a Philip for the last two seasons it’s going to be a gigantic leap age-wise.

  31. NeoCleo says:

    I find him really attractive–the same way I find Charles Dance incredibly attractive. They ooze intelligence and sex on the screen.

  32. Muprhy says:

    Yeah I think he’ll do a great job. His looks don’t pop in those pictures but he has a strong jaw-line.

  33. FishBeard says:

    He’s very understated in his acting. I know a lot of people don’t think this, but I find him incredibly attractive.

  34. Girl_ninja says:

    Wonderful casting. I loved his awful character Tobias in Outland. He really does steal every scene.

  35. Stevie says:

    Damn good choice, much better than Paul Bettany who would have been a terrible match for Olivia Coleman.

    It helps that he is the jam on my bread.

  36. Taxi says:

    Olivia Coleman is gifted! I haven’t seen much of Tobias but he should be able to do mostly-expressionless grump Philip. Foy was wonderful but Matt Smith? Meh. Never saw him in anything else but not a fan.
    I would like Bill Nighy for old Phil. An earlier post said he’s too expressionless, which may be what’s needed. I liked him a lot in Pirate Radio, Page Eight, the Marigold Hotels, his Worricker shows, and Glorious 39. His facial structure could adapt to Philip’s pretty well too.

    • L84Tea says:

      You’re in for a treat then. Tobias Menzies is the most brilliant actor I’ve seen in a LONG time. You should look on Youtube and see if you can find clips of him playing Black Jack Randall on Outlander. He was amazing and terrifying and brilliant.

  37. Jillybean says:

    He’s frigging amazing!!!

  38. DAWN says:

    Tobias is INCREDIBLY underrated!

    I remember the year he won an unexpected Emmy for his work in Outlander. I smiled big as he walked to receive it.

    *I’m most definitely sure it was won due to a single episode from season 1 of Outlander, called “The Garrison Commander”.

    BEST hour of television arguably in a full decade. Check it out, as you wouldn’t be disappointed. You don’t need backstory to watch that single episode either.

    Prefer to watch the full season but if only one episode you could get through. That would be the one.