Netflix's The Crown could be adding another A-list name as Paul Bettany is in talks to play Philip Mountbatten.
While season 1 and 2 of the biographical drama have followed the early days of Queen Elizabeth II's reign in the United Kingdom, the next two chapters will be a soft reboot of sorts involving a time jump. The current pairing of Elizabeth and Philip are Claire Foy and Matt Smith, but it now looks like Olivia Colman and Bettany will be taking over.
According to THR, the Iron Man and Avengers actor could play the Duke of Edinburgh during the middle-aged years of his life and cover events like Princess Margaret's affair with Roddy Llewellyn. It is thought that Bettany is close to closing the deal, but both Netflix and Sony Pictures Television Studios have declined to pass comment. With Colman already confirmed to replace Foy as Elizabeth and Helena Bonham Carter rumored for Margaret, the inclusion of Bettany proves that Peter Morgan's show isn't skimping on the casting wage.
UPDATE: THR is now reporting that Bettany has had to pass on The Crown, due to a scheduling conflict.
Season 2 of The Crown hit the streaming service in November last year, and while season 3 and 4 are yet to be greenlit by the studio, Morgan is apparently planning a six-season run. Another recasting is presumed to follow for the Queen's more recent years and will cover events like Princess Diana, but fans should still expect two full seasons of Bettany if he nabs the role.
Starting in the likes of 1997's Bent, Bettany has gone on to have roles in A Knight's Tale and Wimbledon. However, most know him best as Tony Stark's J.A.R.V.I.S., who later evolved into the red-skinned Vision in the MCU. Bettany may be more used to playing your generic "good guy" characters, but casting him as Philip would be an interesting choice. Love him or hate him, the Duke of Edinburgh is an integral part of the British monarchy and the first two season's of The Crown showed a softer side to Philip.
So far, Colman is the only new cast member locked in, but we do know that the conclusion of season 2 and dramas like the Suez Canal crisis is also the end of the rode for the current actors in the show. Bettany has reportedly been asked to attend rehearsals in June and check for filming availability from July until the start of next year. Given that filming has just wrapped on Bettany's part as Vision in 2019's Avengers 4, his schedule looks pretty clear to play the Queen's other half for the foreseeable future.