Taking on the role of the world’s most famous royal Princess Diana was never going to be easy – or without controversy. But as Naomi Watts prepares for the release of her big-screen biopic, Diana, there’s one person she’s especially worried about offending – Diana’s son, William. So much so, she almost turned down the role.
‘The biggest reason that made me pause was how the princes were going to be feel about this,’ Naomi told The Sunday Times. ‘There was actually quite an eerie moment in London when I did see Prince William in a restaurant, and I got very nervous, because if I caught his eye I didn’t want to interpret a look and think he had a negative feeling about this idea, so I made sure not to look.’
Princess Diana and Naomi Watt's comparison (Getty)
Such is the legend that is Princess Diana and the emotion that still surrounds her death, perhaps it’s not surprising that Naomi was conflicted about whether being the first Hollywood actress to play her was career-suicide or guaranteed-Oscar.
‘I turned it down twice,’ she says of being offered the role two years ago. ‘I was a little bit torn, but once I’d said no, I wasn’t completely at peace. Sometimes when you say no, you feel free, but it just wasn’t the case. There was something very intriguing about this woman’s life. It was extraordinary. She always lived a privileged life, but there was noting ordinary about the construct she moved into. I liked the idea that there was this fame – no one at that level can really survive it, I think. It’s a very dark thing, but it’s kind of true.’
Princess Diana and a young Prince William (Getty)
Since then, perhaps inevitably, paps have plagued the film sets as Watts got into character and acted out the last months of Diana’s life, when she was in love with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. Pictures of her wearing ball-gowns and Chopard jewels and looking remarkably similar to the late Princess are spooky – so it’s not surprising Watts has been worried about how those closest to Diana will be feeling about the film’s 20 September release.
‘I do care deeply about how the princes feel, of course. I am a mum of two boys. But it was a story that was bound to be told at some point, and it’s possibly fresher than people expected.’ Take a look at the new trailer which sees Watts speaking as Princess Diana for the first time and let us know your thoughts below.