Naomi Watts took a big risk in taking on the role of the late but still very beloved Princess Diana for the upcoming biopic Diana. In fact, the risk was so big that she actually turned the part down twice before finally agreeing to do it in February 2012. Speaking about the movie in an interview with the U.K.'s Sunday Times (via Grazia Daily), the 44-year-old Oscar-nominated actress confesses that she was worried about how people — specifically Diana's sons, Princes William and Harry — would react to the film.
"The biggest reason that made me pause was how the princes were going to be feel about this," Watts tells the paper. "There was actually quite an eerie moment in London when I did see Prince William in a restaurant, and I got very nervous, because if I caught his eye I didn't want to interpret a look and think he had a negative feeling about this idea, so I made sure not to look."
Watts notes that her fear led her to reject the role. "I turned it down twice," she says. But the thought of playing Princess Diana continued to haunt her.
"I was a little bit torn," she tells the Times of her initial response, "but once I'd said no, I wasn't completely at peace. Sometimes when you say no, you feel free, but it just wasn't the case."
"There was something very intriguing about this woman's life. It was extraordinary," Watts continues. "She always lived a privileged life, but there was nothing ordinary about the construct she moved into. I liked the idea that there was this fame — no one at that level can really survive it, I think. It's a very dark thing, but it's kind of true."
"I do care deeply about how the princes feel, of course," she adds. "I am a mum of two boys. But it was a story that was bound to be told at some point, and it's possibly fresher than people expected." (Watts and actor Liev Schreiber have two sons, Sasha, 6, and Samuel, 4.)
Fresh, maybe — but true? Princess Diana's ex-love Hasnat Khan doesn't think so. Khan, played by Naveen Andrews in the movie, told the U.K.'s Mail on Sunday recently that the biopic got their romance "completely wrong."
"I don't see this movie doing well at all," he said of the film, which centers around his two-year relationship with the late princess. "It is based on gossip and Diana's friends talking about a relationship that they didn't know much about, and some of my relatives who didn't know much about it either. It is all based on hypotheses and gossip."
Khan noted that he not seen the movie — nor does he plan to see it after its release in November. "A friend asked me the other day if I would sneak into a cinema to see the film. But there is no way I will watch it," Khan, nicknamed "Mr. Wonderful" by Princess Diana, told the Daily Mail. "There's no way I am going to go anywhere near it, not now or ever."
"Most of it is going to be based on gossip, and if I watched it I would be sitting there saying, 'That's wrong, that's wrong, that's not right' every second," he continued. "I couldn't put myself through that. It would be absolutely terrible."
According to a recent Vanity Fair cover story, Khan was the true love of Diana's life, even though she was linked to Dodi Fayed at the time of her death. Fayed was killed along with the princess in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.
Diana will be released in the United States through Entertainment One on Nov. 1, 2013.
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