Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have found a leader for their production company Archewell in Ben Browning, president of film and television production at FilmNation Entertainment, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
A veteran in film financing and the international marketplace, Browning joined FilmNation in 2014. His producing credits include the current Emerald Fennell drama Promising Young Woman.
The royal couple signed a rich deal with Netflix in September 2020 that covers scripted and unscripted TV series, documentaries, feature films and kids’ programming. In December, Harry and Meghan inked an exclusive multiyear deal with Spotify with plans to host and produce podcasts that uplift and entertain audiences. The partnership kicked off with a holiday special hosted by the couple featuring inspirational stories. It remains unclear whether Browning will also head their audio efforts. A spokesperson for the couple declined to comment.
The low-key Browning, whose parents are British (he grew up all over the world), had a rapid rise in the international film financing world. He helped package and produce a number of high-profile indie titles, including Passengers and Room, before joining Glen Basner’s prolific foreign and sales company, FilmNation.
Harry and Meghan, who stepped away from royal duties in January 2020, said at the time that they “would work towards” being financially independent (though both Harry and his brother William inherited millions from their mother). In announcing their Netflix deal, the couple said, “Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope.” That deal is believed to be worth more than $100 million, while the subsequent Spotify deal was estimated to be worth about $25 million.
In a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired in the U.S. on March 7, Harry said the royal family had “literally cut me off financially.” The couple also discussed allegations of racism among the royal family, and Meghan revealed that at times, she had felt suicidal.
During the interview with Oprah, Harry also said that inking rich deals with Netflix and Spotify was “never part of the plan” but that a friend suggested he and Markle find work in streaming to help cover the cost of their new life in California, including paying “for security to keep my family safe.”