With ‘The Crown,’ a ‘Secret Weapon’ Could Become Not So Secret

Tobias Menzies has been a prolific but not exactly famous actor for years, but starring on “The Crown” might dramatically boost his profile. He’s trying not to think about it.

You have probably seen Tobias Menzies in a host of television shows (“Outlander,” “Rome,” “Catastrophe,” “Game of Thrones”). You may have seen him in a movie (“Casino Royale,” “Atonement”). And if you’re a theater buff who visits England, you might have caught him in a number of leading roles (“The History Boys,” “Hamlet,” “Uncle Vanya”). He is that ascetically-but-unobtrusively-handsome actor, with those deep grooves running down each side of his face; the one who disappears so thoroughly into his roles that you’ve never thought much about who he is.

That is probably all about to change. Menzies, 45, will be front and center of Netflix’s much-anticipated third season of “The Crown,” in which he takes over the role of Prince Philip from Matt Smith, who played the part for the show’s first two seasons. It isn’t Menzies’s first leading role in a popular series; he played the 20th-century academic Frank and Frank’s 17th-century alter ego, Black Jack Randall on “Outlander.” But the high-profile and worldwide distribution of “The Crown” is bound to be a game changer for Menzies, who has been lauded for his portrayal of Philip in early reviews.

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