Gillian Anderson, who portrays Margaret Thatcher in The Crown‘s upcoming season four, has revealed how nervous she was before filming her scenes as the Prime Minister.
The 51-year-old actress told Deadline she initially accepted the role with “no hesitation at all”.
“There are a few things in life where, if they come your way, you just know you have to say yes, before the fear says no,” she said.
However, as her scenes began to sneak up, she began to feel the nerves. “Certainly, as we got closer to filming, I almost died. My heart has never beat so fast in all of my life.”
Anderson, who is best known for her roles in The X-Files and Sex Education, is starring opposite Olivia Coleman (Queen Elizabeth II) and Tobias Menzies (Prince Philip) in The Crown season four, which spans Thatcher’s premiership and the introduction of Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin).
The actress revealed that production on the series began with a scene in which Thatcher leads her cabinet of parliament members so she was feeling the pressure, but the crew had planned for her potential nerves.
“It was a scene they were shooting on a stage at the studio, and so they mapped it out that way in the knowledge that, if you suck, you can always come back and shoot it again if you need to. They had already built into the schedule that I would likely be able to fail, and that it wouldn’t be the end of the day. You really feel held. I knew I was going to be all right,” she said.
Filming on The Crown’s fourth season was forced to wrap three weeks early due to the coronavirus pandemic according to Menzies, and it due to land on Netflix later this year.