Experts believe that the Duchess of Sussex could make a comeback in Hollywood — but the roles she would take on would be drastically different now.Meghan Markle is best known for her role as Rachel Zane in “Suits,” and fans have speculated whether she could return to the world of TV and film after resigning from the royal family and moving to LA.Jen Rudin, a casting director who worked with the Duchess of York, believes Markle could find success in voice-over work after the success of the “Elephant” documentary she narrated earlier this year.However, royal experts believe she will only seek out roles and projects that coincide with the brand values of her new charitable foundation, Archewell. “I picture her securing an overall deal with Netflix, like the Obamas, or perhaps a first look agreement with Apple TV Plus, as Prince Harry already has a series in the works there with Oprah,” Carly Ledbetter, a royal commentator and senior reporter at HuffPost, told Insider.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Suits” fans have been rooting for Meghan Markle to reprise her role as Rachel Zane in a spin-off show ever since she resigned from the royal family earlier this year.Although the duchess has made no comment on whether she would return to acting full-time, Markle did make a comeback with a starring voice-over role in Disney Plus’ “Elephant” in April. Now that the Sussexes are living in Los Angeles and are financially independent, Markle has the freedom to pursue more acting roles if she so desires.Insider spoke to experts who say Markle would be welcomed back to the industry — but she’ll likely take on completely different projects than she did before she was a royal.
Markle would thrive as a voice-over actress, according to the casting director who worked with the Duchess of YorkJen Rudin, an award-winning casting director and former head of Disney’s animation casting, says Markle would be the ideal candidate for voice-over roles. “Voice acting is a very different market, and right now during the pandemic it’s very lucrative because we can do it from home with our microphones,” Rudin, author of “Confessions of a Casting Director,” told Insider.”It allows so much flexibility. You don’t have to go to the movie set for six weeks, you don’t have to be on set all day waiting for them to get ready to film your scene.”However, Rudin said that if Markle doesn’t want to take on a starring role, she could consider cameos, guest roles, or one-day recording sessions.
Markle wouldn’t be the first former royal to do so. The Duchess of York famously made a cameo in the season four finale of “Friends,” and also lent her voice to the animated short film “The Cat That Looked Like The King,” which was originally released as part of the “Mary Poppins” DVD in 2004.
The Duchess of York taking a photo with Joey on “Friends.”
“It was very thrilling. We recorded her for the 50th anniversary of Mary Poppins and were making a short film, many years ago,” Rudin said.”I was in the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank at 7 a.m. and she was in a recording booth in London. That’s the beauty of animation, because it can be done remotely, it doesn’t matter where the actor is as long as they have access to a recording facility,” she added.Markle and Harry said they plan to split their time between North America and the UK, and they are reportedly paying rent on their Frogmore Cottage home in Windsor. Therefore, voice acting could be a good fit if the couple end up spending extended periods of time with the royal family in the UK.
“Who knows where Meghan was when she did the ‘Elephant’ documentary. With voice acting, you just have to find four hours for a recording session in a busy day, so it gives you more freedom,” she said.Markle could secure a deal with Netflix or Apple TV Plus and use it to promote her charitable projectsIt’s worth noting that Markle signed on to narrate the Disney documentary when she was still a full-time working royal. In exchange for the duchess’ work on the film, Disney Nature and Disney Conversation Fund donated to the charity Elephants Without Borders, according to Vanity Fair and The Guardian.The charity, which works to protect elephants in Botswana, is one that has been championed by Markle both before and during her royal career.
Markle’s part in the film wasn’t a triumphant return to Hollywood — but rather, a way of using her platform and talents to raise awareness.
The Duchess of Sussex narrated “Elephant” before leaving the royal family.
Now, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex work towards launching their new charitable foundation, Archewell, it’s likely the projects she takes on would have to line up with the brand values of the foundation.”I don’t see Meghan jumping back into the same acting roles she had before joining the royal family,” Carly Ledbetter, a royal commentator and senior reporter at HuffPost, told Insider.”I picture her securing an overall deal with Netflix, like the Obamas, or perhaps a first look agreement with Apple TV Plus, as Prince Harry already has a series in the works there with Oprah.”
Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” documentary on Netflix was based on her book tour of the same name.
Frank Franklin II/AP
The type of work Archewell will focus on hasn’t yet been announced. However, the couple have signed on to Harry Walker speaking agency, the same one that represents the Obamas. According to the Los Angeles Times, they plan to give speeches on social issues such as racial injustice, gender equality, environmental concerns, and mental health.
Since Prince Harry’s documentary series will focus on mental health, it’s likely it could cross over with some of the work he is already doing for Archewell.Kubi Springer, a brand expert who has worked with Nike, L’Oreal, and Rio Ferdinand, agreed with Ledbetter. She said Markle could follow in the footsteps of other celebrities who are producing content to “carve out groundbreaking messages.””She can follow a long line of celebrities such a Beyoncé and Rihanna who have used their art to produce and direct movies and TV content that propels their brand messages,” Springer told Insider.”Rihanna focusing on female body stereotypes with her ‘Savage X Fenty Show’ filmed for Amazon Prime and Beyonce in her upcoming ‘Black Is King’ Disney movie addressing black culture and identity.
“If Meghan did this, she would take hold of the creative narrative and carve out groundbreaking messages that reinforce her brand to new heights,” she added.
Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex.
George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty Images
Meanwhile, Melanie Bromley, the E! News chief correspondent who has reported on the royal family for almost 20 years, said Markle probably won’t play a fictional character unless there’s an “educational element” to it.”She has a breadth of experience both from her life before she met Harry and in her life since she married into the British royal family,” Bromley told Insider.”She is incredibly knowledgeable on a ton of different topics that really matter and people want to hear from her. Her opinion matters and it carries a lot of weight.
“However, as far as pursuing work in the regular movie making world or as a fictional character on TV, unless there is an educational element to it, I cannot see that happening in the near future at all,” she said.Ledbetter added: “Though a lot of ‘Suits’ fans would certainly be excited to see Meghan back on TV or in the movies, I envision her creating and reconnecting with audiences in a new way.”Perhaps through something like a speaking tour, a mental wellness podcast or a televised event with various activists. All done in partnership, of course, with the couple’s new non-profit when it launches.”‘There is nobody in Hollywood that wouldn’t want Meghan’s name associated with them’With seven seasons as a television actress under her belt, Markle also starred in two Hallmark movies, and had smaller roles in the Blockbuster films “Horrible Bosses” and “Remember Me.”
She’s undoubtedly a bigger star now than she was before, and that means she would be in the running for bigger and better projects.But the question remains — would she be welcomed back to the industry?The negative press that surrounded the duchess both before and after she resigned from the royal family wouldn’t put a damper on any potential opportunities, according to the experts.
The duchess opened up about her struggles with the press before leaving the royal family.
ITV News Royals/Instagram
“At this point there is nobody in Hollywood that wouldn’t want Meghan’s name associated with them,” Bromley said.
“She would be welcomed back with open arms to the entertainment industry. Whether it be acting, voice over work, writing, or even producing.”There is a credibility factor that will forever be associated with her name from this point on. She is the only person that perfectly straddles both fields of royalty and entertainment,” she added.Springer, meanwhile, believes Markle “will be in demand now more than ever.””It’s a passion and talent that she has, so returning reinforces to women everywhere that despite motherhood, marriage and life challenges, you can still embrace and utilize your gifts,” Springer told Insider.
“That as a woman, you do not need to stop, but instead you can juggle your love, work and home as a global citizen seeking change in the world.”What’s more, as a woman of mixed heritage, and in light of current global issues, she will be in demand more now than ever,” she said.The general consensus is that Markle wouldn’t return to acting unless for educational or charitable purposes.It certainly seems Hollywood would be an exceptional tool for the duchess to promote her new ventures as she navigates an independent life from the royal family.
It’s been established that the former actress could easily return to the big screen. The only question that remains to be answered is if she would. Read more:People think Meghan Markle’s first movie role after ‘Megxit’ is defiant, but it’s actually a tribute to her royal rootsMeghan Markle and Prince Harry have signed with the speaking agency that represents the Obamas
Prince Harry and Oprah are teaming up to make a mental health documentary for Apple, sharing ‘stories of unparalleled human spirit’How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s brand will change now that they can’t use the word ‘royal’