Netflix spent millions on Harry & Meghan’s Hollywood domination

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By Dan Sears

Meghan Markle has big plans for Hollywood domination — but doesn’t want to direct or act anymore, sources told Page Six.

The Duchess of Sussex will team up with husband Prince Harry to produce Carley Fortune’s “Meet Me at the Lake” for Netflix, as part of their multi-million dollar deal with the streamer, Page Six can confirm.

The deal was signed in the past few weeks — and despite initial reports, the Sussexes didn’t buy the rights to the book, believed to be worth around $3 million. Instead, Netflix purchased it for them to produce under under their Archewell Productions arm, we’re told.

The book is “right up their alley,” said an insider.

The novel tells the story of a couple who meet in their thirties, just as the Harry and Meghan did, and has several echoes of the Sussexes’ real life — including themes of childhood trauma and losing a parent in a car crash (similar to Harry’s mother Princess Diana), mental health challenges and post-natal depression, which Meghan has spoken about publicly.

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Meghan Markle, Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will produce Carley Fortune’s best-selling book “Meet Met at the Lake” for Netflix.

Plus, said the insider, “They love love stories and rom-coms.” Indeed, the Sussexes famously wanted to tell their own “love story” in their 2022 Netflix documentary “Harry & Meghan.”

Page Six has reached out to Netflix.

The couple have been restructuring their team amid the departure of top producer Ben Browning, who was the head of internal content at Archewell Productions and oversaw the documentary. Page Six can also reveal they have parted ways with their talented senior vice-president of scripted television, Nishika Kumble. She lasted less than two years in the role.

The Montecito, California-based pair have been slammed after losing their Spotify deal, with many gossiping they’re on the verge of losing their Netflix deal too.

Carley Fortune with her book "Meet Me at the Lake"
Fortune’s book is right up Harry and Markle’s alley, according to sources, as it deals with grief, mental health and love.

Asked whether Markle — whose show “Suits” is currently topping the charts on Netflix — has missed Hollywood, a friend said: “I’m not sure you can miss Hollywood when you’re one of the most famous women in the world!”

Another Hollywood insider told us, “If you make money in Hollywood, you’re taken seriously.”

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With Markle having signed with Ari Emanuel’s powerhouse talent agency WME in May, a source said also told Page Six that she and Harry “have a lot of logs in the fire. Production is one piece of the pie.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle in their kitchen
Markle and Harry last appeared on Netflix in their docu-series “Harry & Meghan,” and have been busy restructuring their production arm of Archewell.

“It’s not all entirely shaped by Ari — they’ve had the deal with Netflix for a while. Everyone has criticized them, but they now have the right team and vision in place and execution is happening,” continued the source.

“Meghan’s not doing a Reese [Witherspoon] or making acquisitions for herself,” the source added, referring to the latter’s Hello Sunshine production company, which has turned several books into film or TV projects.”She doesn’t want to direct or act.”

Someone who knows the couple told Page Six that Markle wants to be like a combination of famous women: “A bit of Reese, a bit of Gwyneth [Paltrow, founder of Goop] a bit of Princess Kate, a bit of Gloria Steinem.”

As Page Six revealed, Harry will travel to Africa for his own solo documentary for Netflix, while the couple will be seen later this month in the Netflix documentary “Heart of Invictus,” about Harry’s charity tournament for wounded warriors.

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Ari Emmaneul, Sarah Staudinger on the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscars party
Markle signed with uber Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel and his talent agency WME earlier this year, and is close friends with Emmanuel’s fashion designer wife, Sarah Staudinger (above with Emanuel).

The couple will travel to Dusseldorf, Germany, in September for the next Invictus Games, although First Lady Jill Biden has turned down an invitation to join them, we’re told.

A political source told Page Six: “Harry and Meghan reached out, but Jill politely turned them down.”

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