Nov. 8, 2011 at 11:38 AM ET
Is there any insight that a big-screen movie can bring to the life of the late Diana, Princess of Wales?
Indiewire reports that Jessica Chastain ("The Help," "Tree of Life") may play Diana in "Caught in Flight," a proposed film about her relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan. Diana's butler, Paul Burrell, said that the couple once planned to wed, but they had broken up just months before the princess was killed in a car crash in 1997. (Khan's Muslim family reportedly expected him to marry someone from their culture, not a divorced Christian princess.)
Indiewire reports that the script does not make the princess out to be an angel, saying "she is shown as a damaged person who stalks the doctor after he ends the affair." (Burrell says, however, that it was Diana, not Khan, who ended things.)
Much of the publicity has centered around whether Chastain is right for the part. But to me, the real question is whether Diana's life is a match for the big screen.
On the pro side: 2006's "The Queen," with Helen Mirren as Diana's former mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth, was stellar.
On the con side, Diana has never been understood or treated well by moviemakers, and neither has her poor daughter-in-law. The Lifetime movie called "William & Kate" that aired earlier this year is an absolute juicy guilty pleasure. (Don't miss the scene where Kate dives out of a boat fully clothed to swim to shore and talk to Wills.)
Diana's life was no doubt fascinating. Whatever you think of her, or the royals, there are juicy plots for a scriptwriter in her history, and many people find her life after Charles, including her landmine-awareness work and of course her romances, to be of interest.
Queen Elizabeth has gravitas and Mirren played her so well. My feeling is that Diana won't get that same treatment, that even an independent film would be tempted to focus on the lurid and tabloidy. "The Queen" made viewers feel they had a little bit deeper understanding of the women who wears the British crown. Learning that Diana was sadly, desperately in love with a man she couldn't have seems only like a cheesetastic recipe for disaster.
Would you see a Princess Diana movie in the theaters, or should she be allowed to rest in peace? Tell us in the comments.