The highly-anticipated third film in Lifetime’s Harry & Meghan trilogy was the most buzzworthy one of them all.
Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace aired on Labor Day, and viewers can’t stop talking about the film.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Prince Harry himself, star Jordan Dean, to discuss the humanity and consideration brought to this role, a multi-faceted Prince Harry, the royal appeal, and more.
Check it out below!
Congratulations on a successful premiere!
Thank you very much. Thanks, I appreciate it.
Jumping right into it, how did you get involved with this project, and what compelled you to take on this role?
When I got the audition for it, it was funny because I was moving at the time. It was during the pandemic, so I didn’t even know if I would be able to audition for it.
I lived by myself, so my mom actually had to read the lines, playing Meghan via Zoom. I looked off-camera and read lines that way, so it was a unique process of getting started. [laughs]
When I got the role, I think there’s a reservation in the sense that you have to handle the role with care, and the topics that the film explores are pretty serious. You can’t go into those as an actor and handle those lightly and without thought.
I knew, having read the script, that there would be a reaction to the film. But as an actor, that’s a great challenge. It’s something that I look for when taking a role.
That’s heading into my next question. What was the most challenging aspect of playing a real person — especially someone current who is alive and can see it?
Yeah, I think the biggest challenge is handling it with as much specificity as you possibly can with the time that you have.
They are essentially peers who are alive and living in California. You don’t go into it reverential in that way. You try to follow the text and trust the text as much as you can, but you do know that someone actually went through these things.
Harry had to handle this trauma. So when you’re portraying that, you go into it with attention and a certain level of care than you normally would because of how personal it is.
Obviously, the film drew a lot of parallels between Meghan and Princess Diana. However, there were also many parallels between Harry and Diana.
How did that connection inform how you played Harry? So much of how Harry carries himself is influenced by the love for his mother as well as the trauma of that loss. It comes through a lot.
Yeah, I don’t know how going through with something like that at such a young age couldn’t affect anyone.
And it was interesting because when we were shooting, Harry was just starting to speak openly and frankly about subjects he hadn’t before. Here I was as an actor portraying him and speaking to these moments and this trauma, and getting that insight was really helpful because you’re hearing it straight from him.
As a character, he’s bereaved. He’s making decisions that are not small by any means and have major consequences.
I don’t think they made that decision lightly, to leave the palace. I think his fear of something similar happening to Meghan and his family really dictated a lot of those choices in the film. He was standing up for his family no matter what the cost was.
Right. And that includes standing against family.
One of the surprising aspects of the film to me, and I don’t want to say it felt like it was less about Harry and Meghan, but I felt the stronger pull with it being this story between Harry and William and the different paths they were headed down.
The differences between them kept growing and almost felt insurmountable between them.
Hm. Yeah, yeah.
What was it like playing off of the other Jordan [Whalen] and trying to get that sibling dynamic down?
It was great. [laughs]. A great obstacle as an actor, trying to move something that is an immovable object — he’s a character that sort of lives by the rules and obviously has the weight of his own lineage, whereas Harry isn’t going to be king, so he doesn’t have that same pressure in essence.
I think that builds tension where one brother is in line, and the other isn’t. One brother is trying to break the mold, and the other person is trying to fit into that mold.
As an actor, the more obstacles your character has to face, the more tactics he has to use here. I hope that came across in the scenes, and there’s also love there. That’s true with many of these characters.
They are family; I think that hopefully, that will be relatable even if it isn’t royal family but that sense of trying to get through to a family member and connect with them and have them hear your side of the story and really understand where you’re coming from.
You and Sydney [Morton] have great chemistry.
I imagine it’s difficult enough playing Harry, but it also must be hard trying to capture that specific, distinctive love and devotion Harry has for Meghan. Did previously working with her make that easier for you?
Yeah! It’s funny because we sort of jump into it when we step on set, and we only had a very short amount of time to film this movie.
So the fact that we knew each other and had a rapport, and that we trusted each other and had a comfort with each other from day one allowed us to be vulnerable immediately when it came to shooting these scenes.
Harry has a vulnerable side, and that’s something that’s depicted well in this film. And you see it played opposite of Meghan in their discussions about his trauma, fears — his hopes, and the pain he’s feeling throughout the film. When you feel comfortable with the actress or the actor you’re working with from day one, that’s a gift.
Was there a scene that was your favorite or that you connected with most while filming?
Honestly, the scene after the Trooping of the Colour where Harry and Meghan are in their bedroom with Archie. That was our first day of shooting.
It sort of goes to your previous question because it was one of the first scenes we shot, and that’s when I knew that we had a great connection and rapport on set, and It felt like, okay, we’re both committed to trying to do these roles justice, and she’s such a great actress.
As a collective, we get so wrapped up in this royal drama. What do you think it is about the royal family that appeals to everyone so much?
Well, at least in this country, there’s nothing like that, so I think that it inherently draws interest. And then you enter Meghan into the equation — it brings up a whole other set of questions and devotion and debate.
I think it’s a matter of we don’t have a monarchy in this country and that there’s still one there, this institution that’s ripe for curiosity and for audiences to want to know what’s happening behind the scenes.
And with Harry and Meghan, they’re trying to use this platform to think beyond themselves and put the focus on other people and other work that can be done, similar to Diana. I think there’s a lot of love for them and appreciation around the world, and rightly so.
Was there anything about this experience playing Harry that changed your outlook on everything pertaining to Harry, Meghan, and the royal family?
I would say that going through the process to shoot the film just made me realize how brave a decision it was for the both of them, and how much thought and care they put into that decision, and how high the stakes were for them to make that decision.
You don’t do that unless you feel like you have to for your family. Going through this and portraying it allowed me to understand that bravery.
Do you have any upcoming projects we can look forward to seeing you in next?
Well, right now, I’m writing a script.
Oh wow. Really? Awesome!
Yes, it’s called Narrowsburg, which is about a murder that happened in Upstate New York. I’ve been working on that with my writing partner. We’ve been working on that and should be done with it in a month and a half.
Well, this is TV Fanatic, so I have to ask, what are your favorite television shows that you’re into now or are upcoming, or that you’ve binged during quarantine?
Oh, wow, Mare of Easttown is great. I had a friend in that, an actor, so it was great to see it. I really enjoyed watching that show. That’s actually a tougher question than you think! I know!
I’m watching The Sopranos and the first season of True Detective and older stuff. But Mare of Easttown is something that stood out for me. I wonder if they’re going to come out with another season?
I hope so. It was one of my favorites too!
You can catch Jordan Dean in Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace on Lifetime. Feel free to show Dean some love in the comments below!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.