The biopic is simply titled Diana and it premiered Thursday to controversy that probably ought to have been expected. The star portraying the iconic princess of Wales is Naomi Watts, and Watts seems to be catching most of the lightening. Diana’s death is still very raw and her life, or rumors about it, beforehand drew paparazzi and controversy like few others.
The film about Diana, whose death in Paris in 1997 is being reinvestigated by British officials as of mid-August, is based on the book Diana: Her Last Love, by Kate Snell. The book and subsequent film suggest that Diana started dating Dodi Fayed—pursued by the press along with Diana when the car they were in slammed into a pillar in a Seine-side tunnel, killing both—in order to make Hasnat Khan jealous.
Who is Hasnat Khan you say? He is the London-based Pakistani surgeon who is rumored to be Diana’s true love and one she nicknamed, “Mr. Wonderful.” Khan says he does not intend to see the film and pans it as, “completely wrong.” He has remained silent on the topic of a relationship with the princess.
Watts, a British-Australian actress known for roles in King Kong, Mulholland Drive and recently The Impossible, admits that she was taking a risk by accepting the role. She hopes Diana’s sons with Prince Charles, William and Harry, “will feel that we have done it in a respectful and sensitive way… we try to honor the depiction of her character in the best possible way.”
During a BBC radio interview, with presenter Simon Mayo, Watts stormed out when a question offended her. Watts is getting extra scrutiny for her resemblance to the “People’s Princess,” or lack thereof according to critics, getting flack for wearing a prosthetic nose for the movie. You be the judge…
The royal family apparently gave some help in terms of film locations but otherwise has ignored the movie. Scenes were filmed in Kensington Gardens, a favorite jogging locale for Diana, but a family spokesman says the Gardens are not under their jurisdiction.
Watts confesses to channeling Diana during filming, saying she was regularly asking her permission to continue: “I felt like I was spending a lot of time with her. There was one particular moment when I felt her permission was granted.”
Here are a few reviews from the British critics off Rotten Tomatoes:
[Images from Official Diana Movie Facebook.]