Word has been relatively quiet on Diana, the new film in which Naomi Watts will portray the late Princess of Whales since the trailer dropped nearly a month ago. Until today – independent distributor Entertainment One, which is handling the North American release of the film have announced today that the film, an awards hopeful, will open in limited theatrical engagements on November 1st, with the intention to expand in subsequent weeks.
Diana focuses on the last two years of the life of the famous princess and sheds light on a secret romance shared between the royal subject and Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, to be portrayed by Naveen Andrews of Lost fame. Douglas Hodge (Robin Hood), Geraldine James (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), and Juliet Stevensn (Mona Lisa Smile) round out the ensemble cast; Dodi Fayed, who passed along with Diana on that fateful day in Paris, will be played by Cas Anvar (Argo, Source Code).
The film was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose Downfall was nominated for Best Foreign Language Feature at the 2004 Oscars. He previously worked with Kidman on The Invasion, an update of Invasion of the Body Snatchers that also featured Daniel Craig. Regarding bringing Diana’s story to the screen, Hirshbiegel said, ”She is the most complex character I’ve ever had to deal with.” Stephen Jeffreys wrote the screenplay – his previous big screen work was an adaptation of his play The Libertine (2005), which starred Johnny Depp.
Diana was one of the more sought after properties being shopped during the Cannes Film Festival this past May, along with Grace of Monaco, which stars Watts’ friend and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman in another royalty biography picture. The biggest awards push for Diana will clearly be aimed at Naomi Watts, who was nominated just this past year for playing another real life woman – a survivor of the 2004 tsunami in The Impossible – and hopes to catch on with the Academy in the same vein that Helen Mirren did a few years ago when she won for The Queen, which coincidentally also dealt with the death of Princess Diana. She was previously nominated for her performance in 21 Grams.