Third Princess Diana biographical film gains lead
While there have been Princess Diana films talked about and a couple that have headed to DVD rather unceremoniously, it's never really been thought that the story of the most loved Princess of the British Royal Family would make it to screen, despite the fact that it would be an obvious audience grabber.
However there's now a production that seems to be getting there faster than any of the others, and without the pre-production fanfare. This one has a director, lead actress and writer, and the project is leaping forward.
In May 2007 we heard that the book Diana and the Paparazzi by Glenn Harvey and Mark Saunders (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com), which was yet to be released, was being bid for at Cannes and would be made into a film. Producer, who was talking about bidding for the title, mentioned that Keira Knightley would be sought for the role. Remember though, this was in the stages of bidding for the title and it's as early as productions can get.
Then in October 2011 we heard that Stephen Evans was producing a film about the Princess with a US $50 million budget with Philip Kerr writing a script. The production had already hired Ken Wharfe, Diana's former head of private security, and Commander Patrick Jephson, her former private secretary, to provide authenticity to the events and the character. The comments from the producer in the article were rather at odds with the idea of a film about Diana. Later we heard wild rumours of Charlize Theron and Ewan McGregor.
Well now there's a third production being talked about and this one has someone in mind for the lead, Jessica Chastain. It's also further ahead than any of the other projects with a writer and director assigned to the film entitled Caught in Flight.
Steven Jeffreys, who wrote The Libertine, is writing the film and the director they have lined up for the production is none other than Oliver Hirschbiegel - think Das Experiment and Downfall and you have an idea of the strength of the production we're talking about. This is not a straight to DVD film.
Thompson on Hollywood through The Playlist tells us will focus on Princess Diana's relationship with Dr. Hasnat Kahn which lasted from 1995 until a few months before her death in 1997. Apparently the film will portray her as a damaged person who seemingly stalks the Doctor after their relationship has ended and who has a brief relationship with Dodi Al-Fayed in order to make him jealous.
It doesn't sound too hopeful for a positive portrayal of the Princess, and I wonder if the film will portray her in a way that audiences will take to her. Has enough time passed since the madness of the time following her death when grieving strangers gathered to leave messages, flowers and attend the funeral of someone they never knew?
Undoubtedly the film will cause controversy, but will it portray the story of the Princess that people want to see? Certainly Chastain looks really good to play the role, but will the role be an attractive one for audiences?