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Why Princess Diana From The Crown Looks So Familiar

The upcoming fifth season of "The Crown" has a whole new cast of actors playing the British royal family, and the show will move to a new decade with the time jump to the 1990s. The episodes focus in part on the final breakdown of Prince Charles' (Dominic West) and Princess Diana's marriage, as well as the aftermath of the princess' sudden and tragic death. 

Previously in Season 4, Emma Corrin played the young Diana Spencer as she marries Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) despite the prince's love for Camilla Parker-Bowles (Emerald Fennell). Corrin and O'Connor are not the only actor recast with the lineup of main characters changing every couple of seasons. Series creator Peter Morgan told Tudum that these recastings keep the show vital and fresh: "Within the confinement of a long-running show like this, it stops the 'Groundhog Day' feeling, and that's really valuable."

Luckily, after Corrin, "The Crown" has cast a performer with credits in blockbusters, crime thrillers, and a John le Carré miniseries. Here's why the new actress playing Princess Diana on "The Crown" may look familiar.

Elizabeth Debicki is a golfer socialite in The Great Gatsby

Elizabeth Debicki's first official credit was a small role in the Australian film "A Few Best Men." However, when director Baz Lurhmann was looking for an actress to play Jordan Baker, a charismatic golfer socialite, in his 2013 film "The Great Gatsby," he was inspired by her reel (via The Guardian).

Taking the part wasn't a hard choice. According to Vanity Fair, Debicki was already a fan of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and the film was shot in her native Australia. As well, at the time, she desperately needed the money — she told Vanity Fair later that "I couldn't pay my rent."

Looking back, Debicki was young and overwhelmed by what a massive production she was making. She told The Guardian, "I just kind of jumped on that Baz machine." However, she also "basically had the best time possible" because she didn't have any inhibitions on set. "Ignorance is bliss," she explained.

She was a Nazi villain in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

After "The Great Gatsby," Elizabeth Debicki appeared in three films in 2015. She had a small role as the ill-fated Lady MacDuff in the 2015 adaptation of "Macbeth." She also was the camp physician, Dr. Caroline Mackenzie, in the survival film "Everest."

And most prominently, Debicki was cast as one of the main villains of Guy Ritchie's film "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." Originally a classic 1965 spy television series, the adaptation featured an American agent, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill), as he clashes with Russian spy Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) over their mission. Debicki plays Victoria Vinciguerra, a wealthy Nazi sympathizer, along with her husband, Alexander (Luca Calvani).

The film didn't do as well as hoped, ultimately losing the studio money (via The Hollywood Reporter). Still, per Atom Tickets, "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." has gained more of a cult following in recent years, finding a second life on streaming and home video like many movies.

She was a trapped wife and mother on The Night Manager

Elizabeth Debicki's first significant television role was on the 2016 BBC miniseries "The Night Manager," based on a John le Carré novel. The show features Tom Hiddleston as a British soldier turned hotel manager, Jonathan Pine, who turns to espionage when someone close to him is killed, thanks to arms dealer Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). Pine then steadily infiltrates Roper's inner circle, which includes Roper's younger wife, Jemima "Jed" Marshall, played by Debicki.

Jed has wealth and a young son Danny (Noah Jupe) but struggles with depression and a growing drug addiction. le Carré himself complimented the actress for giving the character more depth. Debicki explained to The Guardian, "He said to me after we'd finished making the show, 'Oh, you made her so much more interesting than I did.'"

"The Night Manager" was critically acclaimed (via Rotten Tomatoes) and received attention from awards that year, including several Emmys (via IMDb). Debicki only received one nomination from the Critics Choice Awards, per IMDb. But her next role would be in one of the most high-profile movies of 2017.

Debicki is the Soverign leader, Ayesha, in the Guardians franchise

Moving from playing an arms dealer's partner to the proud leader of an alien race must have seemed like a tall order for Elizabeth Debicki. But the actress' casting as Ayesha, the imperious high priestess of the Sovereigns in "Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2," makes perfect sense. Debicki's stature and charisma work well with the character and make Ayesha's haughtiness funnier. 

After the darker material within "The Night Manager," Debicki liked the tonal pivot the "Guardians of the Galaxy" sequel represented for her as a performer. She told Collider, "I've never done anything like 'Guardians' ... quite comical world."

Ayesha clashes with the Guardians when Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) steals essential batteries from her. The Sovereigns pursue the team throughout the film to no avail, but in the post-credits scene, an exhausted Ayesha creates a new being, Adam Warlock, to destroy them. According to Deadline, Debicki is returning for the "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" film, but she'd have wanted to come back with or without a contract. She cheerfully told Collider in 2017, "if they ask me back, I wouldn't even think about it."

Debicki was a grieving spouse turned thief in Widows

Of the four co-stars of 2018's "Widows," Elizabeth Debicki was the only actress who auditioned for her part (via The Hollywood Reporter). But Debicki described the role of Alice, the newly widowed spouse of a bank robber, as "a ******* golden ticket in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory" (via GQ). 

Alice has suffered abuse from her husband Florek (Jon Bernthal), but when Florek is killed during a robbery, she finds surprising strength and autonomy in planning a robbery with the other widows of his criminal partners, including Veronica (Viola Davis). Debicki explained to GQ, "I waited a long time in my career to play somebody who felt as real and authentic and multidimensional as Alice."

The film didn't clean up at the box office (via Box Office Mojo) but still earned a 91% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics praising Debicki's performance. The Seattle Times perfectly characterized the actress as giving a "fierce portrayal, in equal measures poignant and funny, of a woman slowly waking up."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

She appeared in Nolan's latest, Tenet

In the 2020 Christopher Nolan film "Tenet" (which has some confusing moments), Kat (Elizabeth Debicki) is the separated wife of Alexei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) and mother of his son, Max (Laurie Shepherd). As an art dealer, Kat has been blackmailed by Sator over a forged Goya painting. The protagonist (John David Washington), a mysterious government agent, then tries to help Kat with the picture before he outright has to stop Sator from destroying the entire world.

Debicki tackled a similar character in "The Night Manager," but "Tenet" is an espionage film wrapped in a science fiction premise. Sator doesn't just deal arms but also inverted, time-traveling bullets. Eventually the villain has to be thwarted in the past.

The film's byzantine plot and time travel mechanics drew criticism, but Debicki seems attracted to challenging projects like "Widows" and "Tenet" regardless. As she told The Guardian, "I'm not really interested in being too comfortable."