By Paul Revoir
From The Mail Online
With immaculately coiffured blonde hair and a stylish colour coordinated outfit, she bears an uncanny likeness to the woman she is portraying.
New pictures have revealed how English actress Naomi Watts has captured the look of Princess Diana in a film about the last two years of the tragic royal’s life before her death in 1997.
Miss Watts, 43, who has previously starred in Hollywood films such as 21 Grams and King Kong, was spotted in the UK filming scenes for forthcoming production Caught In Flight, which is released next year.
Seeing Diana: Naomi Watts bears an uncanny resemblance to the late Princess Diana as she stepped out in character for her role in new film Caught In Flight
Magic of make-up Miss Watts insisted that she looked nothing like Diana, seen right in Angola in 1997- but the film’s make-up artists have certainly done their job
The film is thought to focus on her relationship with heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan and also looks at her time with Dodi Fayed, who she was with at the time she died. The movie will include her death, aged 36, in a car in a Paris tunnel in 1997 with Dodi.
Miss Watts, who at the start of her career starred in Australian daytime soap Home and Away, has admitted she is ‘absolutely terrified’ of playing the part of the princess.
The Oscar-nominated acress has said of her controversial new role: ‘’She is a part of our history, an incredible woman and fascinating but a tragic ending.
Sombre: Naomi was dressed in all black as she was seen leaving a building in character, and right, seen recently at Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara ball
‘The film-makers came to me and it’s a good script and it’s very scary and I kind of wanted to say ‘no’ but I couldn’t.’
Miss Watts moved to London’s Kensington to prepare for the role and was said to have visited Diana’s favourite places -such as The Harbour Club and Beauchamp Place – as part of the preparations to get into character.
Her co-star Naveen Andrews, who plays Dr Hasnat Khan in the film recently, suggested Miss Watts is the only actress able to play the princess.
Scary: Naomi was impressed with the script but admits she found the prospect ‘very scary’
The Lost actor said: ‘I don’t think anyone else could have done it – there’s no one else.’
He added: ‘Whenever you work, usually if something has a chance or the potential to be good it usually starts with a good script and I’m very happy with the script and Naomi is doing it and she’s wonderful… I’m very much looking forward to shooting.’
The film is being made by acclaimed German director Oliver Hirschbiegel, who is famous for his portrayal of the last days of Hitler in his bunker in Downfall.
He reportedly said that Miss Watts was ‘a truly exceptional actress’ who embodied ‘the warmth, humanity and empathy’ of the ‘global icon’ Princess Diana,
Miss Watts, who had previously been in a relationship with Heath Ledger, is currently with actor Liev Schreiber, with whom she has two sons.
Serious: Acclaimed German director Oliver Hirschbiegel, famous for his portrayal of the last days of Hitler in his bunker in Downfall, is taking the reins of the film
NAOMI Watts will seek the Royal seal of approval over her portrayal of the late Princess Diana. Naomi is set to play the princess who was tragically killed in road accident in 1997. And the actress is said to be more than aware of the significance of her role on Diana’s sons William and Harry. “Ideally, Naomi would love to have the imput of the Princes in telling their mother’s story but she understands that probably won’t happen,” reveals a movie insider. “She is concerned about how she and the film is perceived, especially in the UK, and she’s hoping she will at least get the blessing of William and Harry.”
Oliver Hirschbiegel’s biopic is being touted to buyers as the EFM in Berlin gets into its stride.
Naomi Watts has signed to play British icon Princess Diana in Oliver Hirschbiegel‘s big screen portrait Caught In Flight.
The movie is being touted to buyers in Berlin by producers Ecosse Films, the U.K. production and finance banner behind a host of movies including Charlotte Gray, Becoming Jane and Brideshead Revisited.
Tim Haslam, the former Hanway Films chief executive, is handling worldwide sales under his upstart company Embankment Films.
Hirschbiegel directs Watts based on the screenplay by Stephen Jeffreys, with production set to begin in the U.K. later this year.
Billed as a compelling portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales during the last two years of her life, the script charts her search for personal happiness as she turned into a major international campaigner and humanitarian.
Watts, who will next be seen starring in The Impossible opposite Ewan McGregor, described her casting as “an honour to be able to play this iconic role – Princess Diana was loved across the world, and I look forward to rising to the challenge of playing her on screen.”
Hirschbiegel said Watts has enough in her acting armoury to embody
Princess Diana’s life is about to be immortalized in film, with Charlize Theron playing the part of the late princess. This particular film will focus on Diana’s life before and during her divorce from Prince Charles. Charlize Theron seems like the perfect woman to fill the role of Diana. The blonde hair and simple beauty is a perfect match. Carey Mulligan is also being considered for the role.
Stephen Evans is hoping to score another box office hit with this yet-to-be-titled film. Evans is the man responsible for The Iron Lady. The film will be based on the stories told by two of Diana’s bodyguards. Ewan McGregor may be filling the role of Ken Wharfe, who was one of Diana’s closest and most trusted bodyguards. Prince William and Prince Harry reportedly called the man, Uncle Ken.
Wharfe’s accounting of Diana’s life following the birth of Prince Harry will contribute to about half of the film. There is still a great deal of interest about Diana and the life she led, especially when she was protected by the palace. Diana’s affairs will be included in the retelling. This film is sure to irritate the royal family, especially Diana’s sons. Nobody wants to see their dirty laundry aired in the movie theaters.
According to Evans, “The emphasis on this really is authenticity and to discover what she went through.” It is no secret Diana suffered through a lot of turmoil during her marriage to Prince Charles, but most of it was kept very private. Evans serves up a great deal of back-handed compliments as he describes the film, “Once she made up her mind she was like a bulldozer. She could be a pain, she was lethal.”
Evans warns potential moviegoers that this film will not touch on the Dodi Fayed relationship or the crash that took Diana’s life. The director makes it clear the film will not paint Diana as the perfect woman. Instead, his film will tell the story from a neutral standpoint, and audiences can draw their own conclusion.
Princess Diana films are popping up all over. This is the third film in the works that will tell the story of Diana’s life. Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Chastain are reported to be stepping into the Princess’s shoes in the other films in progress.
The Tree of Life actor may star in biopic by Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel about Diana’s affair with Dr Hasnut Khan
guardian.co.uk, Monday 7 November 2011 06.50 EST
Royal connection … Princess Diana in 1989 and Jessica Chastain last year. Photograph: David Hartley/Rex Features/Startraks Photo
The Tree of Life’s Jessica Chastain could be set to play Princess Diana in a film about her relationship with the heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan, reports Anne Thompson on Hollywood.
The Princess of Wales was involved with Khan for two years around the time of her divorce from Prince Charles and is said to have considered converting to Islam in order to marry him. The affair ended in 1997.
German film-maker Oliver Hirschbiegel, who made a splash with Downfall, his tale of Hitler’s final days in his Berlin bunker, but followed it up with the poorly received Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake The Invasion, is set to direct. The film, titled Caught in Flight and described as a “love story between a princess locked in a tower and an ordinary man”, is being touted to potential investors at the annual American Film Market in California.
Khan left Britain in 2007 and has only spoken once – to the Sunday Telegraph in 2008 – about the relationship. In his director’s statement to potential investors, Hirschbiegel makes it clear he sees the surgeon as a compassionate and wise figure. Anne Thompson on Hollywood reports the film may reserve a different form of treatment for Diana, with those who have read the screenplay by The Libertine’s Stephen Jeffreys suggesting that it portrays her as a damaged person who stalks the doctor following their breakup.
After their split, Diana struck up a relationship with Dodi Fayed, the son of Harrods owner Mohamed. Caught in Flight aims to shoot next year in Paris, where the princess died in 1997, as well as in Pakistan, Angola and the south of France.
The film joins a pair of separate Diana projects that were announced last year and have not yet seen the light of day. One, based on the book Closely Guarded Secret by her bodyguard Ken Wharfe, was apparently close to signing Charlize Theron to play the lead. The other, Pathé’s broader look at Diana’s entire life, was keen to sign Keira Knightley for the same role.
She’s had a breakout year for the ages, and now Jessica Chastain is set to take on her biggest role yet.
Chastain, who has seemingly come out of nowhere to give critically acclaimed performances in films such as “The Tree of Life” and “Take Shelter,” will star as Princess Diana in ‘Caught In Flight,” Indiewire reports. The film will feature the story of the relationship between Diana and Dr. Hasnat Khan, a Pakistani-born surgeon with whom she had a relationship in the mid-90s, concluding in 1997.
The film, which Indiewire reports will be, a “love story between a princess locked in a tower and an ordinary man,” depicts the relationship that sprouted up after a meeting at a hospital in 1995 and ended in 1997. Khan maintained public silence about the relationship until 2008, when he gave an interview to the Telegraph newspaper.
In that article, it is pointed out that Khan spoke to the Lord Stevens’ Inquiry into Diana’s death, and told investigators that the two had been considering marriage, with Diana going so far as considering a move out of Britain.
“He knew that the Princess considered this an option for a while,” the report stated. “She even went to Pakistan to speak to Jemima Khan about life there. However, after a while she no longer talked about Pakistan and although she did not actually say so, Hasnat Khan got the impression that she no longer considered living there a possibility.”
Rosa Monckton, one of Diana’s close friends, said in a hearing, “She was very much in love with him. She hoped that they would be able to have a future together. She wanted to marry him.”
The film will be directed by German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel. It marks a bit of a potential risk, in that a beloved British figure will be played by an American; while Americans are routinely portrayed by Brits, it is more rare for the opposite to occur. This winter, Meryl Streep will play Margaret Thatcher, the nation’s former Prime Minister, in “The Iron Lady.”
Diana… whose particular brand of magic which, as her brother told us at her funeral, can “never be replaced”. Perhaps not, but it can be bottled apparently, with yet another filmmaker attempting to do justice to the memory of the ethereal princess.
Most recently, we’ve had actor Keith Allen causing controversy with his film Unlawful Killing – a documentary investigation into conspiracy surrounding her death in 1997.
Producer Stephen Evans is the first, however, to bring us a big-budget drama detailing arguably the most volatile period in Diana’s life – the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, and their tumultuous divorce in 1996.
Evans has aristocratic form, with previous work including The Madness of King George and The Wings of the Dove. And Diana’s former henchmen, security man Ken Wharfe and private secretary Patrick Jephson, are both on the payroll to ensure authenticity.
In today’s Guardian, Evans describes Diana as “a wagonload of monkeys but she was also an amazing, fascinating, ballsy woman”, and adds: “You don’t often get a movie like this where you know, that if you can make it work, it is bomb proof.”
No lead actress has yet been cast, but the script is on its way. The Diana myth-making machine continues to rumble.