It was announced today (25 June) that Miller will join the cast of Netflix’s hit drama in its forthcoming fifth series.
He will portray Major, prime minister of the UK and leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. His tenure – which began when he was 47 years old – coincided with the last few years of Princess Diana’s life before her death in 1997.
Miller – best known for his role as Sherlock Holmes in the series Elementary opposite Lucy Liu’s Watson – first came to prominence after his role as Sick Boy in Danny Boyle’s cult classic Trainspotting (1996).
Fans of the series, however, have been left baffled by the casting choice, with many taking to social media to remark on the stark difference between Majors real-life appearance and Miller.
“Have you people… like… seen a picture of John Major?” asked one confused user.
Another person wrote: “There’s people out there getting annoyed at black actors in period dramas cos ‘it’s not historically accurate’ and here’s Jonny Lee Miller cast as John Major.”
“At this rate we’re going to get Margot Robbie as Theresa May,” added someone else.
A fourth user said: “Big fan of the way The Crown keeps casting the hottest people as sad British historical figures.”
“I can only assume this decision was made today, to make us all feel less nauseous about the idea of politicians having affairs,” quipped comedian David Baddiel, in reference to the images of Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo that were leaked today (25 June).
Many users joked that the role of Edwina Currie – with whom Major was revealed to be having a four-year affair spanning 1984 to 1998 – would be played by the likes of Lily James or Miller’s ex-partner Angelina Jolie.
“Can’t wait to see Angelina Jolie as Edwina Currie,” wrote one user, with someone else jokingly suggested Jennifer’s Body star Megan Fox for the role.
Another added: “Assume Edwina Currie will be played by Lily James.”
Production on season five of The Crown was due to begin this month, more than a year since filming concluded on season four.
Unexpectedly, The Crown was always intended to pick up filming this summer, despite speculation that the Covid-19 pandemic had delayed production.
This means that viewers will likely have to wait until 2022 for the next series.