Emma Corrin on the Golden Globes and Diana’s Demons

Photo by Greg Williams

It’s not uncommon for an actor to make a major hair change after a career-making role. (See: Kristen Stewart post-Twilight and Emma Watson post-Harry Potter.) But it wasn’t to distance herself from her breakout performance as Princess Diana that Emma Corrin chopped her previously chin-length hair to the shortest her career will currently allow in the months following The Crown season 4. “I feel like I don't identify as that feminine anymore, but increasingly more androgynous, more masculine,” the 25-year-old actor said on the phone from London, in the hours leading up to the Golden Globes. “It’s just how I feel most comfortable.”

Corrin could have moved on from her relationship with Miu Miu, which is known for its feminine, genteel aesthetic, and is, so far, the only label lucky enough to nab her for a campaign. Instead, knowing that Miu Miu is more “in touch” than most, Corrin conferred with Mrs. Prada and ultimately chose to extend their relationship. “They were like, ‘Obviously we need to do what you're comfortable with,’ which was really, really cool,” Corrin said. “It’s strange to have to do, though—to make something like that public, and suddenly it becomes a thing.”

These days, Corrin’s relationship with the label is stronger than ever. When she “attends” the virtual Golden Globes on Sunday night, Corrin will be wearing a black velvet Miu Miu gown with embroidered crystals and a white organza neck. The evening will still be somewhat of a moment, thanks to her flatmates. “They’ve shut me out of the living room,” Corrin said. “Decorations have been arriving all week.” (Yes, Corrin still lives with friends—much like a pre-Charles Princess Di.)

Photo by Greg Williams

It was in that living room where Corrin learned she and her costar Olivia Colman were up for the Best Actress in a TV Drama award. The news prompted a flurry of activity in the cast’s WhatsApp group, which has remained alive and well since season 4 wrapped. (Corrin and Colman are also up against one another at the upcoming Critics Choice Awards.) Others in the category include Jodie Comer, Sarah Paulson, and Laura Linney, the latter of whom is particularly exciting to Corrin: “Ozark has been, like, my lockdown addiction.”

The Crown had already returned to headlines earlier this week, after Prince Harry became the first core royal family member to confirm that he’s even watched the Netflix series. Somewhat surprisingly, he approves of it, which of course includes Corrin’s portrayal of his late mother. Stars of The Crown—Corrin among them—have always been careful to stress that the show is a work of fiction. But Harry’s approval meant something to her nonetheless—particularly because she pushed series creator Peter Morgan not to shy from Diana’s eating disorder, which Harry and his brother William have openly discussed. “I didn’t need it, and I wasn’t expecting it, and it wouldn’t have mattered what he thought,” Corrin said. “But I found it quite moving to see him talk about it. Hearing him acknowledge the series in that way was really lovely.”

Photo by Greg Williams

It was Diana’s own openness about her bulimia that convinced Corrin there was “no excuse” not to properly depict it. The existing script took care of Corrin’s initial concerns: that the show address it, and that it do so sensitively. But she ultimately met with Morgan and the writers to propose going beyond that. “I've had some of my own issues with mental health, and I know that when you're going through something like that, any kind of self harm, it is completely all-consuming,” she said. “It affects everything that you do. And I was like, I can't honestly and realistically portray anything else she's going through without depicting these moments because they're all interlinked.”

Corrin is proud of the final product, though she didn’t realize it would come at a cost. “I was so determined to portray it and portray it well, I hadn't considered how hard it might be to actually do, like on the days when I had to eat a lot of food from the fridge,” she said. “Obviously you end up doing so many takes, and it was very hard. Your body can only lie to itself so much. I had to be careful with myself.”

Photo by Greg Williams

Corrin’s IMDb page lay dormant for a full four months after The Crown premiered. But February brought news that Corrin will soon return to the spotlight—opposite none other than Harry Styles. She was already familiar with the script when director Michael Grandage approached her; Styles himself sent it to Corrin around a year ago, shortly after they met, to get her thoughts before signing on. The pair will play the married couple at the center of My Policeman, Amazon’s adaptation of Bethan Roberts’s 2012 novel of the same title. While set in the 1990s, it chiefly takes place four decades prior, when homosexuality was illegal in England. It was then that Styles’s character, Tom, had a relationship with a man named Patrick, whose surprise appearance in the present throws Tom and Marion (Corrin)’s relationship for a loop.

Production begins in April, and marks Corrin’s first project amid the pandemic. She’s anxious, though not because of the health risks. “I haven’t done anything since The Crown, so I’m going to be shaking the dust off,” she said with a laugh. “I've done some shoots but no acting. So will she remember how to do it?”

Other projects are in the works, but nothing that Corrin can confirm just yet. For now, she’s just getting used to awards season. Asked for her plans should she win the Globe, Corrin paused. “Honestly, it seems so strange to even consider. I have no idea,” she said, then laughed. “Probably just stare at a wall in shock for a bit. And then drink.”