8 Things We Know About The Crown Season 2

Netflix
Netflix

Since making its premiere on November 4, 2016, The Crown—which won the 2017 Golden Globe for Best Drama—has become an indisputable hit for Netflix. The 10-part series, created by two-time Oscar nominee Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon), follows the ascension and early reign of Queen Elizabeth II (played by Claire Foy, who won a Golden Globe and SAG Award for her portrayal of the legendary royal) and the challenges it creates in her personal life, particularly in her marriage to Prince Philip (played by former Doctor Who star Matt Smith). Fans binge-watched the show as quickly as it was dropped, and have spent the better part of this year clamoring for details on the second season, which will return on December 8, 2017. Here’s what we know.

1. PRODUCTION ON SEASON TWO BEGAN BEFORE SEASON ONE EVEN PREMIERED.

In November 2016, while speaking on a panel for the nonprofit organization Visionary Women, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos confirmed that production on The Crown's second season was already underway. "We're in production now on the second season," Sarandos said. "This is going to take Queen Elizabeth from age 29 to, presumably, the current day. We'll see it lay out over decades. We've seen a lot of things about Queen Elizabeth, but we've already learned more about her than we ever had by watching the first 10 hours."

In an interview with Vanity Fair, published on November 18, 2016, Foy revealed that they were already a month into shooting. “We literally pick up where we left off—in 1956," she said. “I think Peter’s taking [us up to] '63 or '64. We get into the '60s, and it is a whole other world happening. It’s really exciting, especially because we’ve had such a positive response and everyone’s been really encouraging. It just makes everybody, especially the crew, work even harder. When we first started shooting, and it hadn’t come out. We were like, ‘Oh god, what if they hate it?’ And then we’ll [still have to film a second season] knowing that everyone hated it."

2. SEASON TWO WILL FOCUS ON THE SUEZ CRISIS.

Season two will focus largely on the Suez Crisis of 1956. “Initially, I thought this would only be three seasons,” Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter. “It would be one season of her as the Young Queen, one season of her as the Middle-Aged Queen, one season of her as an Old Queen. It's only in the writing of it that I said, ‘Oh, my God I need more time.’ The truth of the matter is, I could've written three or even four seasons of her as the Young Queen. I did get to the point where I thought, ‘Actually no, let's leave it on the knife's edge of Suez because Suez feels like a changing point for the country. Britain was never the same again after Suez.’ Therefore, I was going to deal with that at the beginning of season two. Which we do.”

3. PRINCES PHILIP AND CHARLES WILL HAVE BIGGER ROLES.

Though Elizabeth's family was a major part of The Crown's first season, season two will devote more screen time to both Prince Philip and a young Prince Charles.

"We start to focus on Charles as a young boy and his education, and on Philip and his back story,” Morgan told People in December. Earlier this month, while discussing the show at a Royal Television Society event in London, Morgan gave a few more details on season two: "Its soul is about Prince Philip's complexity. "I find him extraordinarily interesting—his childhood, again, you couldn't make it up. The soul of season two is about his complexity."

4. PRINCESS MARGARET IS GOING TO BE "NAUGHTY."

Though audiences got to see a bit about Princess Margaret's lust for life, and complicated romantic entanglements, in the first season, we'll get an even wilder version of her in season two. "She’s naughty," Foy told W Magazine. "Very minxy. She gets even naughtier even though she gets married. The naughtiness just continues." (Margaret's husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones—a.k.a. Lord Snowdon—will be played by Downton Abbey star Matthew Goode.)

In discussing Vanessa Kirby, the actress who plays Margaret, Morgan told Vanity Fair that, “Vanessa explodes this season. We always knew she was a great actress, but she explodes. It’s a very identifiable tragedy, to have someone in the family with more apparent charisma and yet no use for it ... I love writing her.”

5. NETFLIX WOULD LIKE TO SEE A TOTAL OF SIX SEASONS.

Though it’s the most expensive television series ever made, Sarandos seems rather pleased with the results of The Crown—and the audience's reaction to it. Even if season two does bring viewers up to the present day, the series won’t stop there. In fact, from the get-go, Netflix saw the series as a long-term investment. "The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show over eight to 10 years," Sarandos said.

6. FUTURE SEASONS COULD SEE SOME MAJOR CAST CHANGES.

Though Foy and Smith are both back for season two of The Crown, it will reportedly be their last. Because of the chronological nature of the narrative, seasons three and beyond would focus on the Queen in the later years of her reign, which would require an older actress. According to Digital Spy, if all six seasons of the series shake out as planned, the cast will change for season three then again in season five, for the final two seasons. Producer Andrew Eaton said that he and the rest of the team have had some “conversations” about who might play the royal couple next, but right now they are firmly focused on Foy.

"We saw a number of actresses in the beginning [to play the young Elizabeth] who were all brilliant, but Claire ... there was something about her," Eaton said.

"If you're going to take this character—and she's doing all of the first two seasons, so it's 20 hours with the same character—it's got to be someone that you can identify with and feels vulnerable and sympathetic and she has that quality as a person.”

7. JOHN AND JACKIE KENNEDY WILL PLAY A PART IN SEASON TWO.

As season two ventures into the 1960s, we do know that John and Jackie Kennedy will be a part of the narrative. On February 9, 2017, Variety confirmed that Michael C. Hall will play JFK, while Quarry's Jodi Balfour will play his wife, Jackie. 

"I absolutely fell in love with Jodi Balfour," Foy told Entertainment Weekly in July. "She’s just brilliant, and Michael C. Hall is just incredible. You really see how amazing it is to put Philip and Elizabeth—their marriage and their world—suddenly into the 1960s. You see how the royal family has to start changing and move with the times and realize that things and people are different, and you start to see the evolution of the modern monarchy."

8. A THIRD SEASON HAS YET TO BE CONFIRMED, BUT MORGAN'S ALREADY THINKING ABOUT IT.

If audience response to the first season told us anything, season two of The Crown is bound to be a hit. Still, Netflix has yet to confirm that a third season will be coming. "We're talking [to Netflix] all the the time but we just want to see how the second series goes," Morgan said in early August. "We're pretty swamped at the moment. I've started thinking about a third season—you have to be responsible, you can't say you'll do it and then suddenly go, 'Actually I found out it's really dull.' I have done some preparatory work, I'd be happy to do it, but at the moment I'm swamped."

The Crown is streaming now on Netflix.

Orson Welles's Former Hollywood Hills Estate Is Taking Vacation Reservations

Fred Mott, Getty Images
Fred Mott, Getty Images

Orson Welles's former Hollywood Hills estate is a perfect place to get away from society, grow a bushy beard, and brood over a bottle of whiskey.

Interested? The late Hollywood icon's 3000-square-foot home is available to rent for about $755 a night through HomeAway. The house, which sits on its own private 15,000-square-foot knoll, was home to Welles at the very beginning of his career and is where he wrote the screenplay for 1941's Citizen Kane. Bring along your typewriter and try to channel some of his greatness.

Quite a few other celebrities have inhabited the house as well, including Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and David Bowie. Features of the grand four-bedroom mansion—built in 1928—include a lagoon pool, Jacuzzi, deck, and both canyon and city views.

There's never been a better time to rent Welles's abode: his final film, The Other Side of the Wind, is set to premiere at this month's Venice Film Festival before arriving on Netflix. The unfinished flick, which was shot intermittently between 1970 and 1976, has been completed and restored for its much-anticipated release. (Of course the mansion has plenty of TVs for your viewing pleasure.)

The property has a three- to five-night stay minimum, depending on the season. For more pictures, see below or head to HomeAway. And since you're already in vacation-planning mode, another creative celebrity abode to consider is F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's Montgomery, Alabama home, which is available to rent via Airbnb.

Orson Welles' house
Courtesy of HomeAway

Orson Welles mansion
Courtesy of HomeAway

Orson Welles' former home
Courtesy of HomeAway

Orson Welles' former home
Courtesy of HomeAway

Orson Welles' former home
Courtesy of HomeAway

10 Things You Might Not Know About Robert De Niro

RALPH GATTI, AFP/Getty Images
RALPH GATTI, AFP/Getty Images

Robert De Niro is part of the pantheon of independent-minded filmmakers who cut through Hollywood noise in the 1970s with edgier fare to create what became known as “The New Hollywood.” Following stints with Brian De Palma and Roger Corman, De Niro teamed up with Martin Scorsese for the first time with 1973's Mean Streets, which launched a fruitful artistic collaboration that has produced some of the best movies of the past half-century.

Even after his shift into commercial comedies like Meet the Parents, “dedication” has remained De Niro’s watchword. The two-time Oscar winner has earned Hollywood legend status with panache and bone-deep portrayals. Here are 10 facts about the filmmaker on his 75th birthday. (Yes, we’re talkin’ to you.)

1. HIS FIRST ROLE WAS IN A STAGING OF THE WIZARD OF OZ—AT AGE 10.

Robert De Niro got bit by the acting bug early. He threatened to thrash a hippopotamus from top to bottom-us as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz at the tender age of 10. (This is the remake and casting the world needs right now.)

2. HE DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL TO PURSUE ACTING.

Robert De Niro arrives at the UK premiere of epic war drama film 'The Deer Hunter', UK, 28th February 1979
John Minihan, Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

De Niro’s mother, Virginia Admiral, was a painter whose work was part of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and his father, Robert De Niro, Sr., was a celebrated abstract expressionist painter. So the apple falling into drama school instead of the art studio still isn’t that far from the tree. Having already gotten a youthful dose of stage life, De Niro quit his private high school to try to become an actor. He first went to the nonprofit HB Studio before studying under Stella Adler and, later, The Actors Studio.

3. HE’S A DUAL CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY.

De Niro is American, Italian-American, and, as of 2004, Italian. The country bestowed honorary citizenship upon De Niro as an honor in recognition of his career, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing to the passport office. A group called the Order of the Sons of Italy in America strongly protested the Italian government’s plan due to De Niro’s frequent portrayal of negative Italian-American stereotypes.

4. HE GAINED 60 POUNDS FOR RAGING BULL.

Preparing to play the misfortune-laden boxing champ Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull required two major things from De Niro: training and gaining. For the latter, De Niro ate his way through Europe during a four-month binge of ice cream and pasta. His 60-pound-gain was dramatic enough that it concerned Martin Scorsese. It was one way to show dedication to a role, but the training element was even more impressive. De Niro got so good at boxing that when LaMotta set up several professional-level sparring bouts for the actor, De Niro won two of them.

5. HE AND MARLON BRANDO ARE THE ONLY ACTORS TO WIN OSCARS FOR PLAYING THE SAME CHARACTER.

De Niro won his first Oscar in 1975 for The Godfather: Part II, for portraying the younger version of Vito Corleone—the wizened capo played by Marlon Brando, who also won an Oscar for the role (Brando’s came in 1973, for The Godfather). No other pair of actors has managed the feat, although Jeff Bridges came close in 2010 when he was nominated for playing Rooster Cogburn in Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit (a role originated by John Wayne in Henry Hathaway’s 1969 movie of the same name). Oddly enough, Bridges was in contention for the role of Travis Bickle, the role that earned De Niro his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

6. HE DROVE A CAB TO PREPARE FOR TAXI DRIVER.

If you’re looking for commitment to a role, ask Hack #265216. De Niro got a taxicab driver’s license to study up to play Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver and spent several weekends cruising around New York City picking up fares. It’s possible that having his teeth filed down for Cape Fear is the most intense transformation he’s undergone for a role, but picking up a part-time job to live the lonely life of Bickle is more humane.

7. ONE OF HIS FILMS POSTPONED ONE OF HIS OSCAR WINS.

The 53rd Academy Awards—where De Niro won for playing Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull—were originally scheduled for March 30, 1981 but were postponed until the following day because of an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., claimed the attack was intended to impress Jodie Foster, who Hinckley grew obsessed with after watching Taxi Driver.

8. HE LAUNCHED THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL IN THE WAKE OF 9/11.

Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal speak onstage at the 'Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives' Premiere during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City
Theo Wargo, Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Producer Jane Rosenthal, philanthropist Craig M. Hatkoff, and De Niro founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001 as a showcase for independent films that would hopefully “spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan” after the devastation of the 9/11 terror attacks. With its empire state of mind, the inaugural festival in 2002 featured a “Best of New York Series” handpicked by Martin Scorsese and drew an astonishing 150,000 attendees.

9. HE WAS ONCE INTERROGATED BY FRENCH POLICE CONCERNING A PROSTITUTION RING.

One of the most bizarre chapters in De Niro’s life came when he was publicly named in the investigation of a prostitution ring in Paris. The 1998 incident included a lengthy interrogation session (De Niro filed an official complaint) and a pile of paparazzi waiting for him when he left the prosecutor’s office. De Niro railed against the entire country, vowing to return his Legion of Honour and telling Le Monde newspaper that, "I will never return to France. I will advise my friends against going to France.” (He had cooled off enough by 2011 to act as the Cannes Film Festival’s jury president.)

10. HE LOVED THE CAT(S) IN MEET THE PARENTS.

Meet the Parents’s Mr. Jinx (Jinxy!) was played by two Himalayans named Bailey and Misha, and De Niro fell in love with them. He played with them between scenes, kept kibble in his pocket for them, and asked director Jay Roach to have Mr. Jinx in as many scenes as possible.

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