Director Oliver Hirschbiegel has been left devastated after his royal biopic Diana flopped at the U.K. box office. The film, starring Naomi Watts as Diana, Princess of Wales, details the last years of the tragic royal's life before she died in a car crash in Paris, France in 1997.
It met with a lukewarm reception from critics, and when it opened in Britain last month (Sep13) the movie took just $934,500 (£623,051) in its opening week and barely scraped into the top five at the box office.
Within a week, it had slipped to number nine, and Hirschbiegel admits he finds it "devastating" that the film did not endear itself to movie fans.
He tells the BBC, "(The reviews were) devastating, but when you make a film you don't think about the reactions... In all the other places where it's opened - in Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Slovakia - it's been very strong... I think for the British, Diana is still a trauma they haven't come to terms with."
Naomi Watts' new royal biopic Diana has come under fire from movie critics in Britain, who have labelled the film "horrendous", "cheerless" and "cheap". The British-born actress takes on the title role of Diana, Princess of Wales in the new picture, which premiered in the U.K. on Thursday night (05Sep13) and shows the late royal in the last years of her life before her death in a car crash in Paris, France in 1997.
However, the film has received a slew of scathing reviews from Britain's critics in the aftermath of the premiere, with many questioning the movie's historical accuracy and even slamming the story as a "soap opera" re-imagining of the princess' life.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave Diana just one star out of a possible five and heavily criticised the film, writing, "Poor Princess Diana. I hesitate to use the term 'car crash cinema'. But the awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, she has died another awful death... The movie isn't so much Mills & Boon as a horrendous Fifty Shades of Grey with the S&M sex taken out - and replaced with paparazzi intrusion and misunderstood charity work... The moment anyone, anyone at all, opens their mouth we are in TV-movie-land, soap-land."
The Daily Telegraph's David Gritten concurs, singling out the movie's references to the Paris car crash as a "redundant piece of lurid sensationalism", adding of the film, "What's the point of Diana? It's hardly fascinating. It doesn't offer new facts about the Princess's life. And it certainly doesn't explain her complexity or contradictions. That would take a different, better film altogether."
David Edwards of the Daily Mirror adds, "Diana can only be described as a fabulously awful film. The Queen of Hearts has been recast as a sad-sack singleton that even Bridget Jones would cross the street to avoid... The film's a cheap and cheerless effort... Director Oliver Hirschbiegel... should know better... Despite a peroxide hair-job, (Watts) looks, sounds and acts nothing like the Princess of Wales. Wesley Snipes in a blonde wig would be more convincing."
Christopher Tookey of the Daily Mail also gave the film just one star out of five, branding it "tedious", "slow" and "terribly, terribly dull".
The film has also been criticised by the princess' former lover Dr. Hasnat Khan, who is played by Lost star Naveen Andrews onscreen.
He insists the story is based on "hypotheses and gossip" and is "completely wrong".
Actress Naomi Watts was so determined to channel the spirit of Diana, Princess Of Wales while shooting a new biopic, she was convinced she felt the tragic royal's presence on set. The actress plays the late British icon in Oliver Hirschbiegel's upcoming movie Diana, which details the final years of the princess' life prior to her death in a car crash in Paris, France in 1997.
Watts has already wowed critics with her haunting resemblance to Diana in the film, and now she has revealed she was so convinced the royal was watching over her, she would consult her over each scene.
The actress tells British magazine Event, "There were definitely moments when I felt Diana's presence - I dreamed about her a lot, too, and that's a first. I kept wondering to myself: 'Would she have liked it?'
"So I found myself constantly asking for her permission to carry on. I had saturated myself with Diana and her life and I felt this enormous responsibility of playing this iconic woman. It felt like I was spending a lot of time with her. There was one particular moment when I felt her permission was granted. That won't sound right in print, I know."
In the new international trailer for the bittersweet biopic Diana, Naomi Watts stuns in her embodiment of the beloved Princess of Wales. The Oliver Hirschbiegel directed film, which focuses on the last two years of the Di's life, claims to zoom in on the untold perspective of the beloved Princess, who suffered as her life was scrutinized in the public eye.
Through the haze of camera lights flashing, Princess Diana's gracious attitude shines through her campaign versus land mines. Although Diana is first accused of placing too much emphasis on giving love rather than receiving, she soon finds a love of her own, Dr. Hasnat Khan. However, as a relationship buds between the princess and Dr. Khan, a Pakistani heart surgeon, drama unfolds, with the paparazzi leading to her downfall.
There is no set release for the Princess Diana biopic, but it is presumed that it will be released later this year.
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Naomi Watts' upcoming movie about tragic British royal Diana, Princess Of Wales has been edited to remove scenes featuring her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry. The actress plays the title role in new film Diana, which focuses on the last few years of the princess' life before her death in a car crash in Paris, France in 1997.
The movie is due to hit cinemas in September (13), and it has now emerged director Oliver Hirschbiegel has made some major changes prior to its release, including cutting scenes featuring the two young princes.
The brothers, played by actors Laurence Belcher (William) and Harry Holland (Harry), will now only feature in one small scene, saying goodbye to their mother for the last time before her doomed trip to Paris, according to Britain's Daily Mail.
Hirschbiegel reveals the other scenes featuring the princes were dropped because "it never felt right to have them in the film".
He adds, "Everyone knew she was a brilliant mother and loved her boys to death."
Princess Diana: now there's a crowd pleaser. The late Princess of Wales is one of a very small community of human beings who have managed to avoid negative criticism almost entirely — Christopher Hitchens is, as always, the asterisk. Considering her near-sacred levels of reverence, Princess Di will likely a prove a risky endeavor for actress Naomi Watts, who is portraying the deceased in an upcoming biopic by German director Oliver Hirschbiegel. Watts is pictured below in the first official image, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly from the developing film (which has been referred to as Diana and Caught in Flight), capturing the look of her subject to a pretty impressive degree. This comes after an equally optimistic set photo released on Monday. But how far will the aesthetic likeness take her?
Watts is an interesting choice for Princess Di. Landing somewhere between the ubiquity of Meryl Streep (who portrayed Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady) and the on-the-rise sentiment embracing starlet Michelle Williams (who embodied Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn), Watts doesn't have either the clout for sure-fire optimism in regards to the role, nor the inspiration of excitement to see what an up-and-coming actress can do. She's been around for a while, has done fine with the roles she's taken, but hasn't ever truly wowed. So, either Princess Di will be the role that marks a huge turning point for Watts, or the film will prove an underwhelming attempt at something that has the makings of something really big. But hey, at least she's off to a good start:
Naomi Watts to Embody Princess Diana in 'Caught in Flight'
Naomi Watts as Princess Diana
Naomi Watts is setting up home in the posh London borough where Princess Diana lived in preparation to play the tragic royal on the big screen.
The British-born actress, who grew up in Australia, has been cast in Oliver Hirschbiegel's upcoming drama Caught In Flight, which will tell the story of the last two years of the princess' life before she died in a car crash in Paris, France in 1997.
The star recently admitted that she is "terrified" of playing such a high-profile role, but is taking her research seriously by moving to Kensington in the U.K. capital, the same area where Princess Diana lived in royal residence Kensington Palace.
She will also frequent some of her favourite hang-outs, including The Harbour Club and Beauchamp Place, according to Britain's The Sun newspaper.
A source tells the publication, "Naomi wants to get into character before shooting starts."
The British-born actress, who grew up in Australia, has been cast in Oliver Hirschbiegel's upcoming drama Caught In Flight, which will tell the story of the last two years of the late royal's life before she died in a car crash in Paris, France in 1997.
However, Watts admits she had reservations about taking on such a high-profile part and nearly refused the offer because of her fears.
The King Kong star tells the Press Association, "She is a part of our history, an incredible woman and fascinating but (suffered) a tragic ending. The filmmakers 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...
"I saw the wedding (Diana's 1981 wedding to Charles, Prince of Wales) and everything and she is a very inspiring woman and it's kind of impressive how she sort of changed the whole gearing of the tradition of the royal family and opened it up and brought warmth to it."
Watts is now throwing herself into researching the role for the film, which is due to begin shooting in the U.K. later this year.
She adds, "I'm doing all the research and there is so much to read, I just hope we make a good film and people can learn something new about her that's interesting. There are a lot of people that knew her and a lot of books to read and so much information and one story is different to the next so it's hard to gauge what was the truth. It's going to be a tough one, it's a big beast to take on, I just try to do my best."
Watts will be transformed into Diana, Princess of Wales in filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel's upcoming drama Caught In Flight.
The film will tell the story of the late royal's personal search for happiness during the last two years of her life before she died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Watts, who was born in Kent, England but moved to Australia when she was 14, admits she feels honoured to play the British icon.
She says, "(It's) 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."
Production is set to begin in the U.K. later this year (12).
On August 31st, 1997, a tragic automobile accident took the life of Princess Diana of Wales. On September 6, 1997 everyone on the entire planet tuned in to watch her funeral and pay silent tribute to the British humanitarian.
A Princess Diana biopic wasn't a matter of if, but when, and now it seems the time is right for the final years of the iconic royal figure to be brought to screen. Academy award-nominated Australian actress Naomi Watts (21 Grams, J. Edgar) will team with director Oliver Hirschbiegel (The Invasion, Academy Award-nominated Downfall) for Caught in Fight, which chronicles the last two years of Diana's life as an international campaigner. The role was originally eyed by Jessica Chastain, but the producers have locked Watts
Can a movie version of Diana's story pay proper tribute to the larger-than-life figure? Watts is a bold actress capable of great work, Hirschbiegel equally has striking with the right material—if anyone's going to tackle the story, it would be hard to find a better duo. No word on when Caught in Flight is scheduled to shoot, but with the stars aligning, we could get this one as soon as 2013.