It was just over a year ago that it was revealed that two rival Princess Diana biopics were in the works. One, from producer Stephen Evans, was going to be based on the book “Diana: Closely Guarded Secret” by Diana’s lifelong bodyguard, Ken Wharfe. The film was budgeted at $30 million, with boasts of Charlize Theron and Ewan McGregor circling roles. Meanwhile, Pathé films was also developing a biopic with names like Keira Knightley and Dame Helen Mirren (as the Queen Mother) being tossed around. But it seems, a third project has now leapt into the pole position and it’s bringing along some surprising talent.
2011’s omnipresent Jessica Chastain will dye her hair and cut it short, taking the lead as Princess Diana in “Caught In Flight,” which is sure to be a highly controversial take on her life. Written by Steven Jeffreys (“The Libertine“), the film will focus on Diana’s affair with Dr. Hasnat Kahn that lasted from 1995 until a few months before her death in 1997. He was regarded by many to be the love of her life, and she was said to be devastated when the relationship was over, with some speculating that she dated Dodi Fayed in order to make him jealous. And indeed, the script “Caught In Flight” will apparently portray the Princess “as a damaged person who stalks the doctor after he ends the affair.”
No stranger to tough material, “Downfall” and “Das Experiment” director Oliver Hirschbiegel will direct the film which is already in pre-production. Lensing is gearing up to start in March, with shooting planned for Pakistan, Angola, the South of France and Paris for the film budgeted around $15 million.
It’s certainly a big gear change for Chastain, who will have to wear a British accent for the first time onscreen, in addition to undergoing a complete transformation into a public figure known and beloved by millions. With this picture, the sci-fi spectacle “Horizons” and the Guillermo Del Toro produced horror “Mama” on the way, Chastain refuses to be pigeonholed, with her upcoming roles among her most interesting yet. [Thompson On Hollywood]