HOLLYWOOD HOPES: Meghan in a Halloween costume, aged seven
The deal struck by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Netflix is designed to deliver Meghan’s ultimate dream – an Oscar.
The couple, who live in an £ 11million mansion near Los Angeles, last week announced their plans to conquer Hollywood by producing ‘inspirational’ programmes in a multi-year contact with the US streaming company.
As well as securing millions of pounds to fund their lavish lifestyle, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that former Suits actress Meghan hopes the deal will land her an Academy Award, her childhood dream.
‘An Oscar is all Meg has ever wanted,’ said one long-time friend. ‘She used to practise her acceptance speech in the mirror with a hairbrush when she was a kid of seven. She would also practise her signature in preparation for all the autographs she would give.
‘Her absolute dream was to achieve the EGOT – the grand slam of showbusiness – which is winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.
‘Her acceptance speech has been ready for 30 years. Perhaps now she will get to use it.’ The Mail on Sunday can also reveal:
- The deal involves a yearly retainer of £2 million to £4 million plus a ‘fees for films’
- Harry and Meghan will not be able to use their royal titles on production credits
- They are determined not to be ‘rent-a-royals’ and will vet any Netflix publicity
- A company vice-president has been assigned to the couple to run their projects
The couple are following a strategy pursued by Barack and Michelle Obama, who signed a Netflix deal two years ago and won an Oscar earlier this year for the documentary American Factory.
Describing Harry and Meghan’s plans, their American spokeswoman gushed: ‘The focus will be on creating a wide-range of programmes about stories and issues that resonate with them personally – including highlighting issues that their non-profit [company] Archewell is focused on.
‘Enabling a more compassionate and equitable world isn’t just something they do through their non-profit, it’s a belief they hold and model themselves which will carry through in this venture.’
Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending Disney’s The Lion King European Premiere held in Leicester Square, London
Their production company, thought to be called MWX Trading after their Mountbatten-Windsor surname, has yet to be officially announced, but is already developing nature documentaries and an animated series on inspirational women.
A source said it would be ‘impossible’ for them to use their royal titles for any production credits ‘otherwise they will be accused of, and indeed actually be, cashing in on their royal status which they pledged not to do’.
Meghan’s Hollywood team, including agent Nick Collins, lawyer Rick Genow and business manager Andrew Meyer, negotiated the ‘megabucks’ deal after quietly touting the Sussexes around Disney, Apple and HBO.
Pictured: Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane in ‘Suits’ Season 1, during her career as an actress
Netflix agreed the annual retainer for at least two years and to contribute sponsorship and support to Archewell, named after their son Archie, now 15 months old.
The couple have demanded control over any publicity around their work. ‘Harry and Meghan won’t be rent-a-royals for the red carpet,’ said a source. ‘They will go and network with power players, but they want to retain complete control. They won’t be forced to do anything they don’t want to.
‘It’s a win-win as Netflix have the biggest pockets but they also have a problem in being taking seriously. Harry and Meghan bring prestige – in return they get lots of cash.’
Buckingham Palace – which will review the Sussexes’ break from the family next year – will be keeping a close eye to ensure that the couple keep to their pledge that ‘everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty’.