August 12, 2007 12:01 AM by Joe Blackmon
TLC presents the most ambitious docudrama in its history when it
premieres DIANA: LAST DAYS OF A PRINCESS on Sunday, August 12, at 8 PM
ET/PT. Filmed on location in London, the south of France and Paris, the
$4 million production is a first-of-its-kind re-creation of the last
weeks and days in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, before her
untimely death on August 31, 1997. Production wrapped on the two-hour
television event in early May.
Based on interviews with close associates of Diana and Dodi, and substantiated by the 832-page Paget Report issued December 14, 2006, by the U.K. Metropolitan Police Service, the film begins 12 weeks before the fatal car crash in a Paris tunnel that claimed Diana’s life at the age of 36. Viewers see Diana during the summer of 1997 as she worked to balance her public role with a burgeoning private life as a philanthropist, working mother and single woman looking for love.
The film presents insights into the private machinations behind Diana’s very public life: the security negotiations behind her every move, the intense scrutiny of Buckingham Palace and the media; her complex relationship with the paparazzi, her thoughts on her relationship and possible future with Dodi Al Fayed, her little-known unrequited love for a British surgeon, and more.
A fact-based docudrama, the film interweaves dramatic elements with revealing interviews from some of those profiled in the film. Two of the most noteworthy interviewees are Harrods owner and millionaire businessman Mohamed Al Fayed and bodyguard Kez Wingfield, who shared security detail for Diana and Dodi with Trevor Rees-Jones.
Actress Genevieve O’Reilly (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Matrix: Reloaded) portrays Diana, Princess of Wales, and actor Patrick Baladi (BBC’s The Office) portrays Dodi Al Fayed in the film, with additional actors portraying chauffeur Henri Paul, bodyguards Trevor Rees-Jones and Kez Wingfield, Mohamed Al Fayed and the young princes William and Harry, among others.
“No one captured the public imagination quite like Diana, Princess of Wales, and her tragic death remains etched in all of our memories as a shared experience; we all recall where we were when we first heard the news,” said Eileen O’Neill, interim general manager, TLC. “But behind the public ‘Queen of Hearts’ was a complex and private woman, a Diana the public has rarely seen. In this first-of-its-kind project, our hope is to shed new light on Diana, the woman, rather than Diana, the icon.”
“I wanted to give a real insight into Diana – how she felt, what she thought – and the only way of doing this was with drama. Supporting that with witness interviews gives the best of both worlds: the accuracy of a documentary with the emotional strength of a drama,” said Richard Dale, director of DIANA: LAST DAYS OF A PRINCESS for the U.K.’s Dangerous Films.
DIANA: LAST DAYS OF A PRINCESS is produced by Dangerous Films for TLC. For Dangerous Films, Richard Dale and Rebecca Hedderly are executive producers. For TLC, executive producer is Bill Howard.