Continuing our series in which stars are quizzed by readers, we want your posers for the actor best known as Prince Charles in the Netflix series
There are few young (or youngish – he turned 30 in lockdown) actors everyone would tip for extraordinary things. Josh O’Connor is one of them. He’s one of the most natural, chameleonic and plain likable talents around; already much acclaimed for his work, but also someone we’ll surely still be speaking of in 50 years’ time.
O’Connor’s breakthrough was as a gruff sheep farmer who falls in love with a Romanian immigrant in Francis Lee’s debut, God’s Own Country. It was an astonishing performance: physical, immersive (his commitment to research involved birthing 150 lambs) and deeply moving. He and Lee are shortly to reteam for a queer horror film focused on class “about a sad young man alone in an epic wilderness”; their love and admiration for each another is one of the most cheering things on Twitter today.
God’s Own Country was a smash at Sundance in 2017, but it was his role as Prince Charles in The Crown which brought O’Connor to international recognition. Opposite Emma Corrin’s Diana and Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth, O’Connor humanised a man mysterious, even buffoonish, to many – while also embracing his pricklier aspects.
Himself a republican (who campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn in 2019), O’Connor has said of playing Charles: “To take a character from being, in my eyes, entirely sympathetic, who’s seemingly unappreciated [but] is trying hard to fill these incredibly difficult and huge boots, to go to someone who’s in this total rut of a marriage it was the experience of a lifetime.”
Other key roles on TV included Larry Durrell in the ITV take on My Family and Other Animals, appearances in Lewis, Father Brown, Peaky Blinders and Marius Pontmercy in the BBC’s Les Misérables.
On the big screen, he was highly memorable as a man struggling with his girlfriend’s infertility in Only You, the conflicted son of separating couple Bill Nighy and Annette Bening in Hope Gap and, again alongside Nighy, a very funny Mr Elton in Emma.
Earlier this year, O’Connor played Romeo opposite Jessie Buckley’s Juliet in a captivating and highly charged production; the first film proper from the National Theatre. Previous stage credits include The Shoemaker’s Holiday and Oppenheimer.
O’Connor will next be seen in Mothering Sunday, an adaptation of the Graham Swift novel, which premiered at Cannes earlier this year (and again features Colman in a maternal role). Set in 1924, he plays the only survivor of a group of friends to have returned from fighting in France during the first world war. Burdened by survivor’s guilt, he also shoulders a crippling responsibility about the career path – and marital expectations – that lie ahead of him.
Post your questions for O’Connor in the comments section below before 10am BST on Thursday 14 October; his responses will be published in Film&Music on 12 November, which is when Mothering Sunday is released in the UK.