The Crown’s Biggest Diva Was Olivia Colman’s Eyes

Fun fact: Queen Elizabeth has blue eyes. Second fun fact: Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth for two seasons on The Crownalso has that same shade of sky. Last fun fact: Olivia Colman, who’s now playing Queen Elizabeth on the show, is not a member of the Blue Eyes Club, in favor of having a deep-brown hue all over her irises. Such a small detail, while perhaps unnoticeable to an average viewer when the third season premieres in November, provided a major headache for the show’s creative team when Colman began filming a year ago — and according to a new profile in The Guardianthe drastic measures taken to turn her eyes blue were met with astounding failures.

First, Colman was fitted with blue contact lenses for the first four episodes, but it made her seem like “she was acting behind a mask,” director Ben Caron explained. “It was as if we had taken all of her acting ability,” he added, “and put it in a safe and locked it away.” Next, they tested turning her eyes blue in post-production with the help of visual effects. “But it didn’t feel like her,” Caron said. “CGI-ing her eyes seemed to diminish what she was doing.” With all feasible options exercised, the creative team realized they would be able to accept a small continuity error to accompany Colman’s exemplary performance. “We always thought it should be Olivia, right from the beginning,” the show’s casting director, Nina Gold, admitted. Well, she is British royalty, even if we’re only talking about her acting work.