A Christchurch-born director is behind the making of one of the world’s most watched and controversial television dramas portraying the British Royal family.
Emmy nominee Jessica Hobbs worked on season three returned to direct three episodes of the gripping fourth installment of The Crown – a series on streaming platform Netflix which chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times.
“When they first asked to meet with me, I thought 'really,'” she said.
“They (writers) had directors from different countries, they really love the outside point of view, they think you bring a sensibility and a freshness of perspective.”
In the latest season, the series introduces Lady Diana Spencer and the Iron Lady, British Prime Minister of the time Margaret Thatcher.
“I come from a deliberate feminine sensibility, I am looking at what moves me and what moves me is emotional journeys of characters and what they experience and I just think the real gift of directing is allowing an audience to hopefully have a transcendent experience in someone else’s shoes,” she said.
Hobbs’ interest in directing started at 14 when she was shown Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet at school and she thought someone gets to make that world.
From making short films, she worked her way through the ranks in New Zealand and Australia, with duties including McLeod’s Daughters and The Slap, before moving to London in 2014 where she worked on crime drama Broadchurch.
The Crown has drawn criticism from royal commentators who argue the royal drama should carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode to make it clear the series is a fictional drama.
“I can understand the concern with things that are conflated or perhaps a viewpoint has been taken when another viewpoint should be taken you just have to be open to that, that’s the reality’
Hobbs will return when casting and filming for season five begins next summer.
The proud Kiwi offers some directing advice to New Zealanders hoping to make it big in the industry.
“You can do this. If you want to go out in the world, people are so open to what New Zealand culture brings, so interested and engaged with the way we present and see the world, they see us as a very holistic beautiful country. I'd say get out there now,” she said.