Hard to play someone the whole globe recognises: Olivia Colman on 'The Crown'

London: Olivia Colman became a "bigger fan" of Queen Elizabeth II while preparing for "The Crown" but she was nervous about playing the role as she believes it is difficult to portray someone who is alive and globally recognised like the British monarch.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Oscar-winning actor, and Colman said she tried her best to do justice to the part, previously played by Claire Foy on the Netflix series.

"I have always been a fan of the Queen. I think as a human being she is marvellous and amazing. She is like a book and my job is to do justice to the part. The more I researched for this part, the more I started respecting her. She has gone through so much. It is really amazing.

"I have become more of a fan... But it's harder to play the character if they are still around. It's hard to play a person the whole globe recognises," Colman said in an interview with a select media, of which PTI was a part.

"The Crown" returns to Netflix with Colman on November 17. The upcoming season will span 12 years (1964 to 1977) and will see Tobias Menzies replace Matt Smith as Prince Philip and Helena Bonham Carter step in for Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.

Like the previous seasons, the third will also feature 10 episodes directed by Benjamin Caron, Christian Schwochow, Jessica Hobbs and Samuel Donovan.

Colman, whose acting credentials were first noticed outside the UK with the popularity of "Broadchurch" has emerged as one of the most liked artistes in recent years with her critically-lauded turns in TV shows "The Night Manager", "Fleabag" and movies such as "The Lobster", "The Murder on the Orient Express" and her Oscar-winning turn as another British royal, Queen Anne in "The Favourite".

The actor, who had already played Queen Elizabeth II's mother in "Hyde Park on Hudson", is proud of "a couple queen jobs" that she has done but that did not deter her from playing a royal again as she found the Netflix series binge worthy.

"I binge watched the first season and then I was offered the job before I watched the second season," she said, adding her immediate response was, "Yes, please".

The producers of the series provided Colman with Foy's contact and she had only good things to say about the team.

"I spoke to Claire and she said 'you would love it and everyone is lovely and you should do it'," she recalled.

Asked whether Foy's portrayal will have an impact on how she carries forward the role, Colman said though she is a fan of her predecessor's work, it did not influence her version.

"I had to do my own with this character. What Claire did was beautiful and I told her I was completely hooked. My husband keeps saying 'she is amazing'. She told me everyone is there to help me. So I'm happy to play it the way I should have."

She said, while the research team helped her a lot in understanding the thought process of her character, getting the physical movement and protocols right was the toughest part for her.

"I'm really bad with my physical knowledge. I used to have movement sessions where I used to watch how the Queen moves. And the little things like that. There was a position for hands when she is walking. So I had to be really strict on myself for that."

"The Crown" season three also features Erin Doherty and Josh O'Connor as Elizabeth's children, Princess Anne and Prince Charles, respectively and, Ben Daniels as Princess Margaret's husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones.

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