Deadline reported over the weekend that Bettany was in active negotiations for the role as a replacement for Matt Smith, who played the character in the first two seasons.
It’s not entirely clear why Bettany withdrew from the talks, but the deal did not make.
As previously reported, Olivia Colman is confirmed to take over the role of Elizabeth from Claire Foy, and Helena Bonham Carter will play Princess Margaret, replacing Vanessa Kirby. The third and fourth seasons have not yet been ordered, but the series is expected to continue.
Show creator Peter Morgan has long stated that the casting changes were planned and designed to show the characters as they aged.
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This was not the first time Bettany had pulled out of a role. The British actor was to play 1960s human sexuality pioneer William Masters in Showtime’s Masters of Sex drama pilot in 2012 but withdrew from the project. The role eventually went to Michael Sheen in the series that ended its four-season run in 2016.
The Masters of Sex role was going to be Bettany’s American series debut and was considered a coup for Showtime and series producer Sony Pictures TV, especially given The Beautiful Mind co-star’s known difficulty to commit to projects. He had previously passed on several big roles, including the lead in The King’s Speech, which earned Colin Firth an Oscar.
Bettany most recently starred as Ted Kaczynski in Discovery’s Manhunt: Unabomber miniseries.
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