Movies bring princesses to life on silver screen

By Claire Lee

‘Diana’ and ‘Grace of Monaco’explore private lives of royals

  • Published : Feb 4, 2014 - 19:33
  • Updated : Feb 4, 2014 - 19:33
Naomi Watts stars as Diana, Princess of Wales, in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s film “Diana.” She is shown here in a dress by one of Diana’s favorite designers, Jacques Azagury. (MCT)

The world’s most beloved princesses are coming back to life on the silver screen, played by two Australian actresses who are in fact best friends in real-life: Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts.

Nicole Kidman plays the legendary Grace Kelly (1929-1982) ― the glamorous American movie star who later became Princess of Monaco as the wife of Prince Rainier III ― while Naomi Watts stars as the iconic British princess Diana (1961-1997) who died in a tragic car crash in Paris. Both films, “Grace of Monaco” and “Diana,” are set to be released in local theaters here during the first half of this year.

“Diana” premiered in London in September, but did not receive favorable reviews from the British press. It deals with the last two years of the princess’ life after she finally divorced Prince Charles in 1995, putting an end to her unhappy marriage. The biopic follows her relationships with British Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Ahmad Khan and Egyptian Dodi Fayed, who died with her in the car crash in 1997.

Throughout the film, Naomi Watts dons dresses similar to those of the late princess, who was one of the most popular celebrities of the 20th century, often dubbed “the world’s most photographed woman.” Jacques Azagury, who was Princess Diana’s favorite designer for red carpet events primarily in the last five years of her life, helped create garments for Watts to wear for the film. One of the pieces Watts wears is a slightly altered version of the famous ice blue dress by Azagury, which Diana wore to see the ballet “Swan Lake” in 1997.

Princess Diana is also a well-known figure in Korea, noted for her style and compassion as well as her highly publicized marriage with Prince Charles and their divorce. The couple together visited Seoul in 1992. 

Nicole Kidman stars as Grace Kelly in Olivier Dahan’s upcoming biopic “Grace of Monaco.”
(Daisy Entertainment)

Meanwhile, “Grace of Monaco” deals with Grace Kelly in the 1960s amid a political dispute between her husband ― Monaco’s Prince Rainier III ― and Charles De Gaulle of France.

The former Hollywood star, best known as one of the most famous “Hitchcock Blondes,” met Prince Rainier III in Monaco in 1955 when she was asked to participate in a photo shoot at the Palace of Monaco while attending the Cannes Film Festival. Kelly married the prince in 1956, becoming Princess Grace of Monaco. Soon after their wedding, her husband banned the screening of her films in Monaco.

In the film directed by Olivier Dahan, Kelly deals with crises in her marriage and identity. The children of the late Kelly ― Princess Caroline, Princess Stephanie and Prince Albert II ― reportedly have filed a number of requests to make changes to Dahan’s final script of the film, as they think it is historically inaccurate and, at times, purely fictional. They also claimed that all of their requests were “ignored.” The film has been selected as the opening movie of the upcoming Cannes International Film Festival scheduled for May. The film will be screened out of competition.

Kelly died in a car crash in 1982, following a stroke while driving her vehicle. She was 52.

“Diana” opens in theaters on March 6, while the release date of “Grace of Monaco” has not yet been set.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)