It won’t be long till we get to see Humayun Saeed channel his inner Dr. Hasnat Khan for the latest season of The Crown, and with the release date so close, the actor can finally talk about how the whole experience was for him. His role as Dr. Hasnat Khan is based on the British-Pakistani surgeon who had a two-year-long relationship with the late Princess Diana.
Saeed sat down with Dawn Images to dish out several details about his role, from how he prepared for it to how he landed the role. “Before filming began, I got to do a workshop with a real surgeon in the UK to understand how a surgeon would behave and react on the job. Of course, I knew about Dr. Hasnat Khan even before I got this role. After my casting was confirmed, the team shared research material with me on the doctor. It included a few interviews as well as some images,” he started off.
“Dr. Hasnat Khan is a very private person, which was why he and Princess Diana broke up — he couldn’t handle being in the limelight. Due to this, there is very limited material on him available in the public domain. So I had to study whatever was shared with me in detail,” he went on.
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His transformation into Dr. Hasnat also included some serious changes to not only his wardrobe, but his general demeanour as well. “I would sometimes try to push up my hair right before a scene,” he laughs, “but the stylists on set would immediately notice and they would put my hair back in place. When I saw myself on screen for the first time, I was completely taken aback! I didn’t look like Humayun Saeed at all, but like the doctor,” he shared.
“The hair, make-up and styling was done in such a way that my face looked different. My hair and moustache were changed. My hair was thinned and it was parted sideways so that it seemed that I was slightly balding,” he added.
Apart from workshops and makeovers, Saeed’s transformation included dietary requirements as well – or lack thereof. “I also stopped watching my diet for a while. Usually for roles, I have to watch what I eat in order to not gain weight but, in this case, I just ate whatever I felt like!” he shared.
Moreover, Saeed’s experience with the cast and crew was just as wholesome. Earlier, his costar Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Princess Diana, had nothing but praises for him. Similarly, Debicki played a huge role in helping Saeed settle just right in. “I told Elizabeth I was nervous before we started filming and she was very sweet. She told me that, until our rehearsal, even she had been nervous, but now she was confident that we would do a great job. This definitely helped!” he said.
With all that said, we absolutely cannot wait to see Saeed’s performance in The Crown. The show’s fifth season airs on Netflix on November 9.