For The Crown hair and makeup designers, excellence lies in accuracy. The award-winning team spoke to ET about Elizabeth Debicki‘s transformation to become the beloved Princess Diana, most notably for scenes that recreated now-infamous paparazzi photos.
“When you’re trying to do real-life transformations, you really rely on somebody’s very recognizable silhouette,” Cate Hall, The Crown‘s hair and makeup designer, told ET. “So even if it’s Elizabeth Debicki’s face, you put the wig on and it’s the right shape and it says ‘I am Diana.’ And that in combination with her performance and voice and costume does the job.”
First look images for The Crown season 6 tease a recreation of infamous paparazzi photos of the late Princess of Wales in a blue bathing suit at the end of a diving board, which, per Vogue, sold to tabloids for £500,000 just a week before the devastating car crash that took her life.
Hall and her team spent long hours perfecting Debicki’s wig for shots like these. “We probably had at least four, four-hour fittings before we were even close to going, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to do,'” Hall said. She added that Debicki also dyed her eyebrows for the look, and stuck to a strict schedule of spray tans, nail routines and daily hair and makeup changes.
She continued, “In terms of fittings, I would say she’s probably spent upwards of 30 hours in the hair and makeup chair while we do stuff.”
Debicki took over the iconic Diana role in The Crown‘s fifth season, after Emma Corrin played the princess’ early years in season 4. In the first part of this week’s season 6, Debicki will portray Diana’s final days, including the devastating car crash that took her life.
“An immense, immense responsibility,” Debicki told ET last week on how the cast and crew approached the princess’ death. “It’s difficult to describe, it was something that we thought about, that we carried with us, that woke us up in the night.”
Debicki continued, “We tried our very best to do [the story] properly.”
Dominic West will return as Prince Charles in season 6, with Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker-Bowles. Khalid Abdalla is back at Dodi Fayed, and Salim Daw will return to play his father, Mohamed Al Fayed. Imelda Staunton plays the queen, Lesley Manville plays Princess Margaret and Jonathan Pryce plays Prince Philip.
Season 6 of The Crown: Part 1 is now streaming on Netflix. Part 2 will release Dec. 14.