Lifetime’s version of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are opening up about what it was like to portray the royal couple for the upcoming TV movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance -- and the grief they endured while transforming for the roles!
“Dying my hair ginger, which was kind of a shock,” admitted Murray Fraser, who plays the 33-year-old prince and had to switch up his brunette locks for the role. “Especially with my friends and family seeing that and just completely ripping me to shreds!”
Fraser and his leading lady, Parisa Fitz-Henley, who portrays Markle, got candid about playing the couple during an exclusive interview with ET’s Keltie Knight.
And, while Fraser hadn’t been following the global superstars before nabbing the role, Fitz-Henley revealed she was so hooked on the idea of playing Markle on film that she called her agent to tell her so just weeks before the opportunity came up.
“I saw their engagement interview and thought it was so sweet and ended up making a call to my manager saying, ‘If they ever make a movie about this, I'd love to audition,’” the 41-year-old Jamaican-American actress shared. “A few weeks later I got the audition and thought, ‘How did they do this so fast?’ I happened to be playing in the woods with my parents, living like a woodswoman, and got on a plane, flew home, straightened my hair and went into the audition. It rolled very quickly from there.”
Fraser, who previously starred in The Loch, meanwhile, sent in an audition tape with his friend, Sean, playing opposite him as Markle. “Hopefully no one will ever see them in the light of day,” he joked.
While they nailed their auditions, the pair were both slightly anxious about playing the most famous couple in the world.
Fitz-Henley worried about portraying Markle “in a way that feels authentic,” while Fraser talked to friends and family to quell “serious doubts” about taking on a role which would attract such global attention. He also weighed the pros and cons of doing the film, and quickly realized there were a lot more advantages than downsides.
“Then chatting to the director made my decision a lot clearer because I was going to talk to them about how I don’t want to mimic him [and] be an impersonation of the guy,” Fraser explained. “I want to get his essence and energy and bring that to the screen rather than being a copycat. The director was very cool with that and seeing the same image that I was.”
For Fitz-Henley, who became obsessed with The Crown while preparing for the shoot, there were several parallels with Markle which also helped her with the role. Both women have experienced divorce and dealt with issues of race.
“There were a lot of similarities and that was really heartwarming,” he actress said. “She’s way classier than me. She’s actually a lady [and] super cool and I’m a dork, but there are a lot of similarities too in our experiences, in particular dealing with race. I completely related to a lot of [her] feelings about the world, about women and our place in the world.”
As for what the pair want the royals to know if they watch the film, Fraser joked, “Forgive me!” then added that he’ll be the “number one fanboy,” outside the gates alongside other royal watchers when the two tie the knot in England on May 19.
“I’m going to keep [my hair] ginger again and see how far I can get [in], he quipped.
The film airs on Lifetime on May 13 and also stars House of Cards’ Steve Coulter as Prince Charles, and New Zealand actress Bonnie Soper as Princess Diana.
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