Netflix says Staunton 'The Crown' casting reports 'pure speculation'

FILE PHOTO: Actress Imelda Staunton after receiving a CBE from the Duke of Cambridge for services to drama at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, Britain April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Yui Mok/Pool/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Netflix has dismissed as “pure speculation” media reports that British actress Imelda Staunton would portray Queen Elizabeth in future seasons of “The Crown”, saying it was filming the fourth series and had yet to commission future installments.

Several outlets on Friday quoted a Daily Mail report saying the 63-year-old screen and stage actress had been “approached by senior producers and casting directors” from the hit show to portray the British monarch from her mid-60s.

Oscar winner Olivia Colman made her debut in season three of the show on Sunday, where a new cast picks up the story about the British royal family from the mid-1960s.

Actress Claire Foy won a Golden Globe for portraying the younger version of Elizabeth in the first two series that began with the princess ascending the throne aged 25 in 1952.

“We are currently filming season 4 of “The Crown” but have not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation,” a Netflix spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Colman will continue playing Elizabeth in the fourth series of the show alongside actress Helena Bonham Carter, who portrays Elizabeth’s younger sister Princess Margaret.

Staunton is a veteran theater, television and film actress, known for her Oscar-nominated role in “Vera Drake”, playing Dolores Umbridge in the “Harry Potter” films and taking to the West End stage for musicals like “Gypsy” and “Guys and Dolls”.

The actress will star in the musical “Hello, Dolly!” next year, producers of the West End show said on Friday.

Reporting by Mike Davidson; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Gareth Jones

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