Casting director Robert Sterne opened up about the casting process for the hit Netflix series, and how he and his co-workers cast the show over multiple decades and seasons.
“It’s not only that you’ve got to find actors who can successfully embody real-life, well-known people, but you’ve got to make sure there’s a continuity as it’s passed from the younger to the older version of the actor,” he shared with Elle magazine. “Who’s done it before, who’s doing it after, and who are the real people?”
He continued, “It’s nerve-wracking because people invest in the original people. You do X hours of screen time with them and fall in love with their interpretation, and then you go again [and re-cast] every two years.”
One of the biggest casting deals was Diana, which ultimately went to Emma.
However, Robert explained that Emma was brought in a season earlier to be a reader, opposite the actresses who were auditioning for Camilla.
The tense lunch between Camilla Parker-Bowles (who is played by Emerald Fennell) and Diana in the third episode of season 4 was used as the audition scene.
“I usually read in all these meetings, but we decided because it was this major scene that we would get somebody to come in [for Diana],” he says. “We asked Emma to come in, not thinking about casting Diana at this point. But as she was reading with these Camillas, all the directors and the showrunner were looking more at her and not at the people playing Camilla—who will remain nameless, of course. When we got to thinking about Diana a year later, there she was in my notes.”
Princess Diana will next be played by this actress in seasons five and six.