How The Crown faked its Aussie scenes

 

The new season of The Crown has devoted an entire episode to Prince Charles and Princess Diana's famous tour of Australia in 1983 - and made it without even setting foot in the country.

Instead of making a long and expensive trip Down Under, producers of the award-winning drama used parts of England and Spain as substitutes for key Australian locations featured in the wildly successful, six-week royal tour.

The port city of Malaga was used for city footage such as their visit to Sydney, and the desert regions around Almeria - assisted by some clever digital trickery and Aussie-accented extras - stood in for the pair's famous trip to Uluru, while other scenes were shot in London's Australia House.

Emma Corrin, who plays Diana opposite Josh O'Connor's Charles, said she was devastated not to visit the country for real, but said the pair pored over video footage of the real trip to make sure they got it as right as possible.

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Josh O’Conner as Prince Charles in a scene from Season 4 of The Crown, with the desert region of Almeria substituting for regional NSW.
Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Josh O’Conner as Prince Charles in a scene from Season 4 of The Crown, with the desert region of Almeria substituting for regional NSW.

"For the Australia tour it was really useful," Corrin said. "We'd pitch up somewhere in Malaga to do a scene and the director would bring along a laptop and we'd watch their version, not to repeat what they had done, but to get a flavour of the environment.

"Out there in Almeria, in the desert, is where they used to do the spaghetti westerns, and it's an incredible landscape. I haven't actually been to Australia, but you did feel you could be somewhere like that."

 

Princess Diana said at the time that the high-stakes trip was "make or break time" for her and it was so important to the Royal Family that it was inevitable it would feature in the fourth season of The Crown, which covers the late '70s and '80s and drops on Netflix next Friday.

It was the 22-year-old's first overseas trip with her husband of two years and their relationship was already struggling, she broke with royal protocol by insisting on bringing baby William along and it came at a time when new Australian prime minister Bob Hawke was hoping the country would become a republic in the next five years.

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in Season 4 of The Crown.
Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in Season 4 of The Crown.

 

 

The production also flew Richard Roxburgh to Spain and London to reprise his award-winning role as Hawke for scenes with O'Connor, Corrin and Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Elizabeth II. The Aussie actor, who won an AACTA Award for playing the late Aussie PM in 2010, said he had to work hard to regain the distinctive voice and mannerisms.

"It was actually a huge amount of work - I did so much work towards recreating that," Roxburgh said.

"I guess you always just want to do due diligence with somebody who is so beloved and so deeply recognised by the Australian people. But also, you have to claim it and make it your own, which is of course what Olivia Colman has done so beautifully in her work as the Queen."

HER ROYAL DUTY: INTRODUCING EMMA CORRIN AS DIANA - BINGE TV LIFTOUT TOMORROW

Originally published as How The Crown faked its Aussie scenes


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