"The Crown" star Claire Foy isn't surprised fans of the Netflix show spoke out in droves after learning she made less money than her male co-star — but that doesn't mean the backlash wasn't a royal pain for the actress.
"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 the ordinary," Foy told Entertainment Weekly.
"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.'"
Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth II, and co-star Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip, were thrust into an unwanted spotlight earlier this month after the period drama's production company revealed Smith earned more money than Foy, as he was a bigger international draw thanks to his days as "Dr. Who."
Still, the actress says she and Smith have no bad blood over the pay gap — and that the drama certainly hasn't soured her plans to tune in once her role is recast with "Broadchurch" star Olivia Colman for Season 3.
"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," she said. "I'll be asking to see (Season 3) earlier than it's available. I can't wait to see it. I think Olivia Colman's amazing."
While Foy's response was poised and polite, co-star Jared Harris, who plays King George VI, had a more heated response.
"I think it's an embarrassment for Left Bank Pictures," he told Digital Spy. "It's got nothing to do with Matt Smith. It's probably nothing to do with Netflix either."
Left Bank, the production company behind the series, issued a statement to both Foy and Smith last week, apologizing for placing them in the middle of a media firestorm.
But Harris thinks the company can do better than "I'm sorry."
"I understand they made an apology but, you know, an apology and a check would be more welcome. She worked longer hours. Her performance is a huge reason why this thing is going to have a season three, four, five, and six…send her a pay check and, in retrospect, bring her pay up to parity," he said.
The controversy erupted earlier this month after three Left Bank producers revealed at a conference in Jerusalem that Foy made less than Smith.
The revelation sparked massive backlash, even as producer Suzanne Mackie vowed that the problem had been fixed, and the actress playing the Queen would always make the most money on set.