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Naomi Watts worries about playing 'Diana': 'I might go into hiding'

Naomi Watts in
Naomi Watts inSplash News, Getty Images

Playing a real-life person is par for the course for actors, but Naomi Watts, who plays Princess Diana in the upcoming "Diana" feature film, has been telling the press she feels particularly anxious about filling those very famous royal heels.

"I might go into hiding," she told InStyle UK (link via E! Online) in a recent interview, noting that playing the iconic, beloved figure made her want to disappear. "I might have to leave the country."

Watts revealed that she resisted playing Diana, turning down the role twice. But she also realized that the movie would be made with or without her, and she didn't "like the idea of anyone else playing that role."

Watts said she has concerns about how she'll be perceived; two of the world's highest-profile individuals right now are Diana's sons, the princes William and Harry, and she said their opinion matters. 

"The biggest reason that made me pause was how the princes were going to feel about this," she told the UK's Sunday Times (link via Grazia Daily). "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."

"I do care deeply about how the princes feel, of course," she said. "I am a mum of two boys (Sasha, 6, and Samuel, 4, with Liev Schreiber)."But it was a story that was bound to be told at some point, and it's possibly fresher than people expected."

In the end, Watts says she was drawn to Diana's life and tragic death at just age 36; Aug. 31 is the 16th anniversary of her 1997 demise. "There was something very intriguing about this woman's life," said Watts. "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."

"Diana" is expected to be released in the U.S. on Nov. 1.