Why Dominic West Hesitated To Portray Prince Charles In The Crown

Dominic West is known for a lot of his past, high-profile work. From his long-standing role on "The Wire" as Detective Jimmy McNulty, to the star's turn as Noah Solloway on "The Affair," American TV audiences are well-acquainted with West (via IMDb). Meanwhile, viewers in the U.K. have watched the actor's work for decades.

It's partially West's familiarity to the public that gave him pause when it came to taking on the role of Prince Charles on season 5 of "The Crown." First, consider that the 52-year-old is not the first person to portray the heir to the throne in the wildly-popular Netflix series. Josh O'Connor played Prince Charles as a younger man, and admitted about the opportunity, "Prince Charles is a tricky one. I think you have to part ways with the real version of him in order to capture something unique or different. There's the sacrifice you sometimes have to make" (via Variety).

O'Connor must have done, well, everything right, because the actor took home an Emmy for his portrayal of the seemingly-tortured prince. Could the Southhampton, England native's success on "The Crown" have also been part of the intimidation factor for West when it came to saying "yes" to joining the cast?

Josh O'Connor has faith in Dominic West's ability to nail the role of Prince Charles

As the Daily Mail reports, when it was announced that Dominic West would play Prince Charles in season 5 of "The Crown," people immediately doubted whether the actor was a good fit for the part. Mic called him "too hot" and a report even claimed Queen Elizabeth herself was unhappy with the casting choice (via Express).

But no one could have been tougher on West than the actor himself, with the star telling the Daily Mail, "It's quite disconcerting as I didn't look anything like him when I looked in the mirror. I kept telling the producers that they had cast the wrong person."

Good thing the powers-that-be had faith in West being perfect to portray Prince Charles. As West said about producers for "The Crown," "But they explained that this was not a show of imitations. But that was difficult as this is a real person who is hugely famous and recognisable."

That the heir apparent to the throne is one of the most well-known people in the world is not the only hesitation West had. West knows he has big shoes to fill when it comes to stepping into the role for which Josh O'Connor won an Emmy — but the younger star seemingly has plenty of confidence in "The Affair" actor. "Dominic needs no tips from me. He's the greatest of the great," O'Connor told Entertainment Tonight in 2021.

Dominic West knows Prince Charles in real life

Clearly producers behind the show — as well as its former star — feel that Dominic West is right for the role of an older Prince Charles. So, can they get the star himself on board? Hopefully! As the Daily Mail reports, his performance is supposedly quite nuanced and thoughtful. Only time will tell if fans of "The Crown" agree.

One person who may be watching next season is Prince Charles himself, although, The New York Times reported in 2020 that the royal wants nothing to do with the show. That said, Vanity Fair claims his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, is a fan of the series — so perhaps she will report back to her husband on how West does.

It's worth noting that West has met Prince Charles multiple times and even lives right near him, no doubt adding to the pressure of getting the role just right (via Hello!).