How Elizabeth Debicki and Emma Corrin Prepped for Princess Diana Roles

Elizabeth Debicki and Emma Corrin both took on the daunting task of playing the late Princess Diana (at two different stages of her life) in The Crown. Now, the stars are revealing the one thing they did to prepare for their roles.

Debicki, 33, and Corrin, 28, sat down to discuss their respective performances on the Netflix drama for Variety‘s Actors on Actors interview, published on Friday, June 7. Corrin portrayed a younger Diana on season 4 of the royals-based series, while Debicki stepped into the role for the show’s fifth and sixth seasons, which dramatized the final days of the beloved royal’s life.

“I read that you did a similar thing, which is to ask for all the research,” Debicki told Corrin, adding, “You’ve got all the binders. I love it.”

Corrin replied, “It just landed in this big box outside my flat. The one thing that struck me about The Crown was the machinery to help you prepare was so extensive and available. Should you wish to click on any of these boxes, these things were just there for you.”

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Noting that it was something they’d “never seen before” with other acting jobs, Corrin continued, “It was a double-edged sword. Because I love to just dive straight in. If I do something that’s historic, I’ll find any reason to do immense amounts of research. But this was particularly overwhelming.”

The Crown's Elizabeth Debicki, Emma Corrin on the 1 Thing They Did to Prep for Princess Diana Roles
Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in ‘The Crown.’ Des Willie/Netflix

Part of the stars’ heavy research into Diana included mastering her mannerisms and voice – the latter of which Debicki said “really” gave her anxiety.

“I felt a huge responsibility to get as close to it as I could. I’ve lived in London a long time, so my Australian accent is kind of transmorphed anyway,” Debicki shared. “But of all the accents I’ve ever learned to do…For Diana, it felt like a music. And that music and that rhythm was so far from how I sense myself as a person. So I worked extremely hard. People ask, ‘Was there a little hook? Was there any footage you watched?’”

The Crown's Elizabeth Debicki, Emma Corrin on the 1 Thing They Did to Prep for Princess Diana Roles
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in ‘The Crown.’ Keith Bernstein/Netflix

For Corrin, tapping into their own experiences as a public figure helped them nail Princess Diana’s mannerisms.

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“The most quintessential bit, for me, was the post-engagement interview. The mannerisms that she had, they appear in the moment where she’s under such intense emotional stress,” she explained of the awkward moment. (King Charles III infamously replied, “Whatever ‘in love’ means,” when the interviewer stated, “And I suppose, in love.”)

The Crown's Elizabeth Debicki, Emma Corrin on the 1 Thing They Did to Prep for Princess Diana Roles
Mary Ellen Matthews for Variety

Corrin added, “They almost become tics. In scenes where Diana’s being chased by paparazzi, I’ve had that a little bit. It’s so invasive, and I’ve experienced it personally, and it’s the worst thing in the world.”

The Crown, which follows the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to 2005, premiered on Netflix in 2016. The sixth and final season of the series was released in two volumes: the first four episodes hit the streaming service in November 2023, while the final six episodes were released the following month.