I’m still not really seeing it. Are you? These are new photos from the new English set of Diana (formally Caught In Flight), the sketchy bio-pic of Princess Diana’s last year. Naomi Watts was cast as Diana, and while I think Naomi is a fine actress, and I think they could have cast this part with many sketchier choices, I still have concerns. Mainly, my concerns are about how low-budget this whole affair looks. If you go back and look at photos of Diana, she often looked very “dated” – very 1980s and almost dowdy (to our modern eyes). But Diana never looked CHEAP. And this production looks cheap. It looks budget and tacky and like everything is being done at the last minute. It looks like no one thought to spring for a really good Diana wig, or to get a hair stylist who was familiar with Diana’s signature styles. Naomi has gone from looking like she had a dilapidated, synthetic rug attached to her head, to this… I can’t even tell if this is a wiglet or if someone just did Naomi’s hair into an abbreviated “Farrah” style.
But, according to Naomi, Diana has given her permission for the role and for the film. Because Diana came to Naomi in a dream! Oh, Naomi. Bad move.
NAOMI Watts’ portrayal of Princess Diana has won the ultimate endorsement, the late royal bestowing her approval upon the Aussie actor in a dream.
“This is a first, but I find myself dreaming about her,” Watts told News Ltd on location outside of London. “I felt like I was spending time with her. One particular time, I felt that permission was granted.”
Watts’ upcoming film, simply called Diana, focuses on the former Princess of Wales life after her divorce from Charles, in particular her romance with Dr Hasnat Khan (played by Lost star Naveen Andrews). Watts, 43, was initially extremely hesitant to take on the role of “one of the most famous, if not the most famous, women of my time”.
“An awful lot of pressure comes with that, so you want to get it right,” she said. “I was dreading people saying `she looks nothing like Diana’, and `why her and not somebody else?’ But I couldn’t not do it.”
Watts’ transformation into the peoples’ princess has involved six weeks’ training with a dialogue coach, repeated viewings of Diana’s infamous interview with Martin Bashir, as well as four wigs and a prosthetic nose piece courtesy of the same make-up artist who years ago turned Meryl Streep into Lindy Chamberlain.
Watts also wears several Jacques Azagury dresses that belonged to Diana, while Versace custom-made a replica of the famous one-shouldered, blue silk dress that Diana wore to a benefit for Dr Victor Chang’s Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney in 1996.
Watts said she felt Dianas presence especially keenly when wearing her original gowns.
“Theres one particular Azagury dress that was completely unaltered. I was surprised how short she wore it, quite risque! There’s been a few eerie moments and that was one of them. There’s been moments of a presence felt.”
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel believes his leading lady has more than captured Diana’s essence.
“Its scary. Sometimes it’s as if you’re watching the ghost of Diana,” he said.
Diana’s children with Prince Charles, William and Harry, do not play a big part in the film, but Watts admits to worrying about how the princes will react.
“Were not trying to destroy any memory. We’re trying to show her in the best possible light as a human being, though, full of different layers. It’s a story that should be told. A piece of history. But its tricky because they are here, the boys. I think about that a lot.”
The royal family’s approval of the production has been implied, however, with permission granted to film outside the gates of Kensington Palace and in Kensington Gardens.
Though Watts is widely considered an Australian, the team behind Diana seem pained to assert they have an Englishwoman playing this most iconic of English women, as though having a colonial in the role would be bad for business. Watts diplomatically offered that her time spent out of the UK (she moved to Australia when she was 14) gives her a good perspective on the Diana story.
“I never wasn’t English. I was born here, I still have a British passport, but I’ve lived in Australia and I have Australian blood in me. Maybe being a little removed is a good thing.”
Diana will continue shooting in London until late August, then wrap with a week in Mozambique in late September. A release date is yet to be confirmed.
Wait, what? They actually use some of Diana’s real clothes? And Naomi has a prosthetic nose? And the confirmation of the wigs. I cannot detect the prosthetic nose at all in these or any photos, which shows that the prosthetic is good, but it still doesn’t make her look anything like Diana. GAH, WIGLET. Maybe it’s just about the wigs.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.