Controversy on the set of Netflix's original series The Crown broke out this week when Deadline reported that Claire Foy, who plays the show's leading role in Queen Elizabeth, gets paid significantly less than her co-star Matt Smith, playing Prince Phillip.
Foy finally addressed the story in an interview with Entertainment Weekly on Friday.
"I'm surprised because I'm at the center of it, and anything that I'm at the center of like that is very, very odd, and feels very, very out of ordinary," Foy said. "But I'm not [surprised about the interest in the story] in the sense that it was a female-led drama. I'm not surprised that people saw [the story] and went, 'Oh, that's a bit odd.' But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it's odd to find yourself at the center [of a story] that you didn't particularly ask for."
Left Bank Pictures, the production company behind the series, issued an apology regarding the wage gap an the INTV conference in Jerusalem after the story broke.
"We want to apologize to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own," the statement read. "Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on The Crown have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity."
"As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues," the statement added.
Executive producer Suzanne Mackie explained at the conference that Smith was paid more when the show originally began, given that he had been the lead actor for several years on the popular British series, Doctor Who.
Mackie said going forward the actress who plays Queen Elizabeth in the series will be the highest-paid performer on the show.
"It's really important for the Queen to be paid more," Mackie said.
As the show chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II, the showrunners have announced there will be a recast every two seasons with older actors to show the passage of time.
Netflix confirmed the show will have a third and fourth season back in January, with Olivia Colman set to play Elizabeth. Helena Bonham Carter will portray Elizabeth's sister Margaret (played in the first two seasons by Vanessa Kirby). British actor Paul Bettany was reportedly in talks to play Phillip in season three, but negotiations fell apart back in January.