I genuinely mean that. To meet Debicki in person is like meeting a Royal. All of six-foot-one, the 29-year-old is a vision in real life; warm, funny and speaks with the type of eloquence only a NIDA student could – or Cate Blanchett, an actress this actress is continually likened to.
“Princess Diana’s spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many,” Debicki said upon the announcement of her new role. “It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one.”
Debicki will join a new cast for the series that includes Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth (The Downton Abbey actress succeeds Olivia Coleman and Claire Foy in the role), Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip.
Emma Corrin is playing Diana on the show’s upcoming fourth season, but Debicki will take on the part for what’s sure to be the character’s most dramatic chapters.
Her appointment has been better received than news Kristen Stewart will also play Princess Diana in a new film directed by Pablo Larrain. This particular drama – expected to be a highlight on the Cannes Film Festival’s virtual line-up – will explore a critical weekend in the life of Diana, the one where she decided to end her marriage to the Prince Of Wales, Charles.
In the past, movies about Diana’s life have not done well. Take a look back at the actresses who have played the Royal to unfavourable reviews.
Debicki is notoriously private. She doesn’t have Instagram and upon sitting down her in a hotel room in Los Angeles in 2019, I asked her about her first trip to Los Angeles; what she saw, what she thought. “I woke up in a hotel on Sunset and was 20 years old, had never been to America and I had landed at night,” Debicki explained. “I remember I opened my windows and there were just billboards. I thought, ‘What is this strange Lego Land?’. It was so weird. Imagine if you opened your windows in Sydney and there were billboards everywhere. You’d probably think ‘What happened?’”
Since this time, you would have spotted Debicki in The Great Gatsby, The Burnt Orange Heresy, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and Steve McQueen’s Widows – the latter part deemed her breakout role. You will also see her star in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet with Robert Pattison and John David Washington, out this month.
Debicki says she’s – so far – never had a “I made it” moment. “I’m waiting for the penny drop, I hope it never comes actually. That would be dangerous wouldn’t it, if you started to believe it in a funny way,” she says.
Perhaps the penny will drop soon given the popularity of The Crown. No doubt the size of the billboards will be sky-high.