Update: Since Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip, outearned actress Claire Foy, the Queen, a Care2 petition is calling for Smith to donate the difference between their paychecks to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
Prince Philip makes more than the Queen — on Netflix.
Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip in “The Crown,” outearns Claire Foy, producers said Tuesday at a panel discussion at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem.
Smith’s title role in “Doctor Who,” a British classic, helped get him more money, producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries said. Mackie acknowledged the pay discrepancy, saying, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
But Foy won’t be able to reap the benefits if the producers stay true to their word. She will be replaced by Olivia Colman in season 3 as the series moves into Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in the 1970s. Producers haven’t announced who will play an older Prince Philip. Helena Bonham Carter will replace Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, the queen’s rebellious younger sister.
Foy, who won best actress for her role in “The Crown” at last year’s “Golden Globes,” was paid an estimated $40,000 per episode. The series is expensive to create: So far, each episode cost $7 million.
“We put that money on the screen,” Harries said, according to Variety. Foy wore 120 costumes during the second season, the producer added.
It may seem like a hefty paycheck, but compared to how much other actors in leading roles get paid, it’s low. Foy’s character is a central figure in the historical drama, and while the rest of the cast is crucial, she is typically front and center.
At 33, Foy’s already has an established career. In 2016, she was nominated for her role as Anne Boleyn in “Wolf Hall,” one of the many British mini-series she’s starred in.
While it’s not an exact comparison, Mandy Moore, who is starring in the second season of “This Is Us,” makes an estimated $85,000 per episode. As the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” enters its fourth season, Ellie Kemper is pulling in around $150,000 per episode.
This isn’t the first time a woman has been paid less than a lower-billed actor. After Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct, “All the Money in the World” director Ridley Scott replaced him with Christopher Plummer and called the rest of the cast back to reshoot pivotal scenes. Michelle Williams, billed as the film’s lead actress, earned a fraction of what co-star Mark Wahlberg did for reshoots. USA Today reported that Williams earned just $80 a day, adding up to less than $1,000, while Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million total. Both actors were represented by the same agency.