Jonny Lee Miller, the actor most renowned for his role as the anarchic heroin addict Sick Boy in the film Trainspotting, will play Sir John Major in the next series of the Netflix drama The Crown.
The British actor, 48, who is celebrated for portraying colourful characters in dark 90s films, will take on the role of a politician nicknamed “the Grey Man” in the royal drama’s fifth series.
The critically acclaimed programme has charted the royal family’s personal and political intrigues from the 1950s, and is scheduled to end after its sixth series, which will be set in the early 2000s.
The fifth instalment will move on from focusing on Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister, a performance for which Gillian Anderson won a Golden Globe, to Major’s premiership between 1990 and 1997.
The period will include the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as the controversial Panorama interview in which she revealed the Prince of Wales’s infidelity, saying: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
Major’s role leading the government on “Black Wednesday”, when a collapse in the pound sterling forced Britain to withdraw from the European exchange rate mechanism, has also been speculated to feature.
Filming is due to begin next month with a new cast of mostly British stars to reflect the royal protagonists’ advancing years, including Dominic West as the Prince of Wales, taking over from Josh O’Connor, and the Tenet star Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, replacing Emma Corrin.
Imelda Staunton will replace Olivia Colman as the Queen, while Lesley Manville will take over the role of Princess Margaret from Helena Bonham Carter. Jonathan Pryce will replace Tobias Menzies as the Duke of Edinburgh.
But the biggest stir has been caused by the casting of the 90s heart-throb Lee Miller, who was briefly married to Angelina Jolie, as a politician usually characterised as dull .
Fans have been quick to point to Lee Miller’s acting pedigree as evidence he will be capable of taking on the challenge. Lee Miller won an Olivier award for best actor in 2011 for his role in a critically acclaimed National Theatre adaptation of Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle, with whom he worked on Trainspotting.