Josh O’Connor says he felt ‘spiritually lost’ after The Crown

Josh O’Connor has spoken about feeling “spiritually lost” after starring in Netflix’s hit royal drama, The Crown.

O’Connor, 33, played a young King Charles III in seasons three and four of the series, which aired in 2019 and 2020, with Dominic West since taking over the role.

The series catapulted O’Connor to global fame – previously, he had been critically lauded for roles in indie projects like God’s Own Country (2017).

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly to promote his latest indie feature, Italian film La Chimera, O’Connor spoke about feeling kindred to his character who is “an outsider and he doesn't know where he belongs”.

“I felt spiritually lost, but it was a combination [of things]. At the time I was living in New York – I’m a country bumpkin who likes gardening, and that wasn’t really the best match,” he explained.

“But we’d just come out of the pandemic, and The Crown had come out, and there’d been this big hoo-ha around The Crown, but I hadn’t really been outdoors to see what that was like and what the impact of that was. And suddenly, there I was walking down the street, and people were stopping me, and I hadn’t experienced that before to that level, that degree. So there was a kind of real shape-shifting going on and a real element of trying to understand where I sat in the world.”

Josh O’Connor in ‘La Chimera’ (Neon via AP)
Josh O’Connor in ‘La Chimera’ (Neon via AP)

La Chimera, directed by Alice Rohrwacher, stars O’Connor as English archaeological scholar Arthur who “has the uncanny ability of intuiting where to find hidden artifacts”.

“Recently released from an Italian prison, he returns to a small Tuscan village; there, he reunites with a ragtag band of misfits who search for and unearth Etruscan relics buried with the dead,” the film’s official logline reads.

“When the group encounter a treasure of immeasurable value, their attempts to traffic the objects bring their actions into sharp focus, and they must question their role in the plundering of history.”

O’Connor has previously spoken about struggling to deal with the The Crown fame, despite winning an Emmy for his performance as a young Prince Charles.

“It was a f***ed-up time. I found it so impactful, people stopping me,” he told GQ last year. “You want to be in stuff that’s successful and seen, but I think sometimes we underestimate how powerful even a slight loss of anonymity can be.”

“What I was doing in my career before The Crown – I just wanted to carry on doing that,” he added, alluding to smaller-budget projects.

This year, O’Connor also stars alongside Zendaya in Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino’s erotic drama, Challengers. The crux of the film involves a love triangle between Zendaya’s character and two tennis stars, played by O’Connor and West Side Story’s Mike Faist.

La Chimera is out in US cinemas on 29 March and in the UK on 10 May.