Hugh Laurie may replace Matt Smith on The Crown: good choice or meh?


In January we discussed The Crown’s, inspired casting choice of Paul Bettany in the role of Prince Philip opposite Olivia Coleman’s Queen Elizabeth. Well, that deal fell through due to the Hecate Can’t Have Nice Things clause, apparently. I couldn’t imagine anyone else for that role. But the show must go on. According to the Daily Mail, they now intend to have Hugh Laurie as Philip.

He’s known for his caustic one-liners, not to mention the occasional flash of temper. So who better to play the Duke of Edinburgh than Hugh Laurie?

The Mail on Sunday understands the Old Etonian actor is being lined up to replace Matt Smith, who starred as the younger Prince Philip, in the third series of the hit Netflix drama The Crown, which covers the period from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Creator Peter Morgan – who has already announced that Olivia Colman, 44, will play the Queen, taking over from Claire Foy – is said to be ‘very keen’ on Laurie to portray Philip in middle age.

One source said: ‘Hugh’s name has been swirling around for a long while now and it hasn’t yet stopped – he is the sort of big name that would draw in viewers. He and Olivia were formidable on The Night Manager and bosses of The Crown would love to recreate that.
‘Other actors have been considered, but Hugh is viewed as the perfect choice.’

[From The Daily Mail]

Meh. I adore Hugh Laurie and will watch shows just for him. He’s a great actor capable of this role, I just don’t think he’s a good fit. I love The Crown and Hugh so I’ll watch it regardless. Plus, Olivia and Hugh woill be incredible together. It might be difficult to separate them from their roles in The Night Manager. We’d keep waiting for them to kill each other, which does sound like the royal couple in the 70s. We should petition to get Tom Hiddleston a part, just to complete the TNM triad. Maybe he could play Roddy Llewellyn to Helena Bonham Carter’s Princess Margaret.

As of this writing, Daily Mail is one of the only outlets reporting this so I was going to dismiss it outright. But I just checked and Hugh’s TV series Chance was cancelled so he does have time in his schedule. All I know is they need to get on it – I don’t want to wait forever for Season Three.

(For those of you who didn’t see A Bit of Fry and Laurie, please watch this.)





Photo credit: WENN Photos

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35 Responses to “Hugh Laurie may replace Matt Smith on The Crown: good choice or meh?”

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  1. Una says:

    Hugh Laurie is impossibly charming. I can’t help but fawn over him whenever I see him on screen.

    • Lahdidahbaby says:

      I love Hugh Laurie, but I’m struggling a little with this casting, dunno why. It just seems a bit odd to me. I imagine he’ll pull it off very well, though. Maybe my problem is just that I came to love him as the rumpled, unconventional, pill-popping House.

      • Una says:

        He will probably pull it off. I just don’t understand the time gap between the series. I thought it would be a decade? But Hugh Laurie is not a decade older Matt Smith. Meh, we’ll see.

    • Anna says:

      I love Hugh Laurie as well. The Queen will be older and so he will fit as Phillip.

      • SKF says:

        Olivia Coleman is 44. Hugh is 58. He is too old for this time bracket – much as I love him.

  2. Alix says:

    Hugh Laurie is ALWAYS a good choice — for anything! I predict he’ll be so good in the role we’ll wonder why we ever doubted it in the first place.

    • laulau says:

      Hugh is great but I absolutely love Olivia. I am so, so bored by Royal stuff however so I’m torn. Maybe I can get into the second season without watching the first.

  3. lightpurple says:

    “Feeling a bit discombobulated, are we?”

    They need to have Olivia deliver that line to him as Elizabeth. Everything can be made so much better if Olivia and Hugh just pop up and she asks him that.

  4. Liberty says:

    I lovvvvvve him. He’s stellar at everything; he’ll get it done. Team Hugh-Philip!

    • magnoliarose says:

      Agreed. He has the range to pull it off and add layers to the character. I hope it happens.

  5. elephant says:

    Oh no, I thought Bettany was a done deal, that was excellent casting. I like Laurie, but not for this 🙁

  6. Char says:

    I love Hugh Laurie, but I am going to have a hard time letting go of Matt Smith as Philip. I will still watch it, no matter who gets the role. I love the show, and I’m sure Hugh Laurie will be great, if he gets the role.

    I just read an article that said someone asked the actual Duke of Edinburgh if he has watched The Crown and, supposedly, he snapped “Don’t. Be. Ridiculous.” 😂 But it’s been said that The Queen enjoys it. I hope all of that is true, because it is hilarious to me!

    • maxine ducamp says:

      Absolutely love Hugh Laurie, but it seems a big leap (age-wise) to go from Matt Smith to Hugh Laurie. Aren’t they doing the show decade by decade? It’s not like they’re skipping ahead (or maybe I misunderstood and they are)?

      • T.Fanty says:

        I agree. The age thing, more than anything else, is throwing me off.

      • Jussie says:

        Smith is only 35. Philip was 43 by the end of the events of Season 2, and he looked every single day of it and then some. Smith honestly looked too young for Season 2, but I get that they wouldn’t want to change actors every season.

        Laurie doesn’t look much like Philip, but in terms of how they’re ageing he’s a perfect fit for playing Philip through his 40’s to his 60’s.

  7. Krill says:

    I hate that thing Matt Smith does of dropping his head then cocking it to the side and peering up at whoever he is speaking to with a comical scrunched up expression. Who could take such a man seriously irl? Good riddance.

    Hugh Laurie is fine except that he is too close to the subject. Isnt he besties with Charles? Fry’s autobiography details dinner parties with his set and Charles.

    • minx says:

      That mannerism, and others like it, always irritated me about him when he played Philip. I actually think he was not a great fit for the role.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I like Smith in the role but they turned P. into such a massive douchebag. Which is fair if that’s what he was like (is like?) but to me, it was never clear why the hell Elizabeth was so hellbent on marrying him. They should’ve shown that to us before he turned into a d*ck.

      I think Hugh Laurie will be excellent.

  8. Shutterbug says:

    I feel like the makers of The Crown are taking a big risk in changing the entire cast for season 3. I think Olivia Coleman will do a great job and I think Paul Bettany was an inspired choice – pity that didn’t work out! – but I still think it’s a BIG risk since the original players were so good in their roles. Part me thinks they should have pulled a ‘This is Us’ and just aged the cast with make-up. Never thought I’d say that as it’s not something I’m generally a fan of – but I thought Foy, Smith and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret were so great in those roles!

    • Alexandria says:

      But it’s the actual premise of the show. Right from the start, they wanted to feature the Queen every two decades so they already decided from the start to have and risk a different cast every two seasons instead of aging the cast. Hence asking them to age the cast is quite futile. Perhaps just aging the minor actors? I’m going to miss Pip Torrens.

    • elephant says:

      Foy and Smith were amazing, and I enjoyed the series a lot, but I think I will miss Kirby the most. I like Olivia Coleman, and am looking forward to seeing her in the role, but I just do not see how you go from Kirby to HBC. No disrespect to HBC, they just seem to have very diferent looks and mannerism etc (I know, “acting”, but still). I hope Bettany still gets the role somehow.

  9. xdanix says:

    Meh. I have no doubt he’ll do a good job with it if he does end up playing the role, but I am just so… UNEXCITED about the prospect. He’s a really good actor, I know that, but I think I’m one of the only people in the world who doesn’t enjoy him- I can’t think of a performance of his I’ve really, truly enjoyed. It’s always great acting, but it’s also often very SAME-Y.

    Plus, I can see him playing the role in a very similar way to Matt Smith, whereas I thought Paul Bettany would have brought something very different to the role, and made it very different from what we’ve been watching. Now THERE was an actor mooted for the role I was really excited by! To be fair to Hugh, perhaps part of my discontent at the idea of him playing Phillip is simply that whoever gets the role, for me it will be disappointing compared to Paul B.

    I was really intrigued by the idea of changing up the cast initially… and when they cast Olivia I was thrilled! But between this and Helena Bonham Carter taking over from Vanessa Kirby (Don’t hate me, but again, I CANNOT enjoy HBC’s performances. As a person I’ve nothing against her, but as an actor she’s my BEC.) I am distinctly less excited about the next two seasons…

  10. LittleWing says:

    He’s too old

  11. Mira says:

    I have loved Hugh Laurie ever since I saw him in Jeeves and Wooster when I was a little girl. I’m absolutely certain he will be excellent.

  12. LittlefishMom says:

    Nooooooo!!!! I DO NOT understand why they just don’t use the same actors/actresses and age them with make up etc…

  13. Vox says:

    Well, he played a prince in Blackadder and was entertaining as hell so maybe he’ll be fine as Prince Phillip, he’s kind of the House of the Royal family. He’s kind of a cross between both roles here (being a prince and being a caustic ass). Cracks me up that little George is going to be Prince of Wales one day, like the character on Blackadder.

  14. SJhere says:

    Hugh Laurie was excellent as the Prince in Blackadder! Still makes me laugh every time, decades later. I watched House just for Hugh L.
    Netflix is pulling in huge stars for some of their original shows lately.
    I’m looking forward to the rumored Keanu Reeves upcoming superhero/Netflix combo.
    I would happily watch Keanu in almost anything, and I have sat thru Neon Demon, The Bad Batch, and Generation Um, To the Bone. None of which would have been green lighted without his name attached IMO.

  15. CeeCeeSays says:

    I did not dig the original casting of her husband. Matt Smith just didn’t do it for me, he continually drops his head then looks up to try to look charming I guess? Just not my cup of tea. I don’t watch Dr. Who tho either (and I think he’s in that)? I would have loved Paul Bettany in the role! And I love Hugh Laurie so I’ll watch it for him but agree that it might not be the best casting for this particular role.

  16. MI6 says:

    ALL. THE. YES. 😍

  17. No Doubtful says:

    I don’t think he’s the right fit for this role, but hopefully he will prove me wrong. Are they jumping 30 years into the future? The new cast is so much older.

  18. SJF says:

    I think Hugh Laurie is the perfect man so I’m totally thrilled by this news.

    I binged the first 2 seasons in less than 2 weeks last month. I’m addicted. And this decade covers the Swingin’ 60s!?!?!?! I’m so there.

  19. Hannah says:

    I am feeling ‘meh’ about it but then if someone told me Matt Smith was going to play Prince Philip I would be like ‘he will never pull that off!’

    I still don’t see why he couldn’t stay. He was ageing so well with make-up and he could have stayed. Loved Foy but she smiled too much for the Queen. Olivia will bring the scowl she needs.

  20. themummy says:

    I adore Hugh Laurie as an actor, but I think this is not a good casting choice. At 58 he is already too old for the two decades the next seasons will cover… Paul Bettany was the PERFECT choice, in my opinion. And I really, really love Hugh Laurie–just not for this.