A month ahead of it’s United States debut, the new Princess Diana film starring Naomi Watts, once considered an awards contender for the twice Oscar-nominated actress of 21 Grams and The Impossible, appears in the midst of a public relations pickle. A promotional poster for Diana was placed outside a metro station in Paris just steps away from the entrance to the tunnel where the late Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed were killed in 1997. The poster has since been removed.
“It was requested that the poster be removed Monday afternoon, and we received confirmation that it had been removed Monday evening,” said a spokesman for Le Pacte, the French distributor of the film, also stating that the poster, materials of which were placed all around the city in planning for October 2nd French release date of the film, was an “unfortunate coincidence” over the placement on the south exit of the Alma-Marcaeu station. Directly across the station is the Flame of Liberty, which stands as the unofficial memorial for Princess Diana since her death sixteen years ago. Over the past weekend, the placement of the Diana poster received an uproar from local Parisians and received worldwide press coverage over what many conceived was an insensitive gesture in promotion to the upcoming film.
This bit of controversy comes after the British debut of the film, which was skewered by UK critics. The film currently holds a terrible 3% on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes and a 23 rating on Metacritic. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw said of the film, “Poor Princess Diana. I hesitate to use the term “car crash cinema”. But the awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, she has died another awful death,” while Cat Clarke of Time Out London called the film, “A right royal mess.”
Diana was directed by Oliver Hirschbigel, the German filmmaker of the Nazi drama Downfall as well as the Nicole Kidman science fiction film The Invasion and was written by Stephen Jeffreys (The Libertine), based on the book by Kate Snell. The film opens stateside on November 1st.