Matt Smith, ‘The Crown’s Original Prince Philip, Will Next Play Artist Robert Mapplethorpe

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Matt Smith is a long way from playing partner to the most powerful woman in Great Britain on the hit Netflix series The Crown for his next role as artist Robert Mapplethorpe in a new biopic this fall. Smith, who previously played Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, for the first two seasons of The Crown will now play the underground and sexually provocative artist, Mapplethorpe, in a movie by the same name.

Page Six reports that Mapplethorpe, starring Matt Smith, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, and now has a North American distribution deal, and will be in wider release in the fall. Smith is putting aside the cloak of the costume drama for the contemporary role of an artist who died in 1989 of AIDS, says Peter Goldwyn, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films.

“Robert Mapplethorpe pushed the boundaries of the art world. This film boldly follows Mapplethorpe as he explores and brings them to the mainstream — displaying a word that was shocking and beautiful.”

Ondi Timoner wrote the screenplay, which will have Smith as Mapplethorpe discovering himself “artistically and sexually” while living in the Chelsea Hotel and taking photos of the others who lived there.

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Ondi said that Mapplethorpe created exhibits for his photography that challenged what many thought of as art.

“I have been working to tell the story of Robert Mapplethorpe for 12 years in order to create an anthem for artists — to be visionary, to take on the impossible, to be uncompromising. He documented the gay sub-culture of the 1970s & ’80s and turned that which society deemed obscene into fine art while making photography a collectible art form and immortalizing a generation ravaged by AIDS with erotic portraiture.”

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Matt Smith isn’t the only alum of The Crown who is looking to shake things up and throw off the royal garb. Vanessa Kirby, who played Princess Margaret for the first two seasons of The Crown, left the Netflix project looking for some action. Kirby enjoyed her time playing the sister of Queen Elizabeth, but she is moving on to work on an action film with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, playing Jason Statham’s character’s sister in a spinoff of the Fast & Furious films.

The spinoff will be called Hobbs & Shaw, with The Rock reprising his role as Hobbs and Kirby playing Shaw for this film. Johnson posted on Twitter that he welcomes Kirby to the franchise, which will allow her to stretch her action film muscles.

“Welcome the very talented @VanessaKirby to our ‘HOBBS & SHAW’ Fast & Furious spin-off. We chopped it up and we had some GREAT chemistry together. She’s a sharp one—this is gonna be fun! #Kirby #HobbsAndShaw.”