LONDON – Almost 25 years after her death, Diana, Princess of Wales, remains a staple in British culture and on screens on both sides of the pond.
Her life is often remembered as tragic: an unhappy marriage to Prince Charles, a complicated private life stalked by paparazzi, a shocking death in a car accident at the age of 36. princess of the people ”for her charitable work and her frankness.
This complexity inspired countless television and film adaptations of his life. The latest, in theaters Friday, is “Spencer.” Starring Kristen Stewart as Diana and directed by Pablo Larraín, the film takes place over the Christmas holidays with the Royal Family, as Diana’s marriage (and possibly her sanity) crumbles.
Every production of Diana – made in every decade since she became a public figure – takes a different take on the princess. Here is a list of six varied examples, all available to watch online.
‘Diana: Her True Story’ (1993)
In the early 1990s, American television stations scrambled to make small-screen films depicting Charles and Diana’s much-publicized unhappy marriage..
Andrew Morton’s explosive biography “Diana: Her True Story” was published in 1992, and a year later, NBC aired a film adaptation of the book, starring Serena Scott Thomas as Diana and David Threlfall in the role of Charles.
This is a soapy rendition of Diana’s wedding, but the plot generally sticks to the story that “The Crown” later explored with more nuance, and the differences between the couple are evident from the start. start. Charles is explicit that he does not view love as a prerequisite for marriage, seeing it as a “partnership”. Scott Thomas’ Diana, on the other hand, believes that her role is to support her husband and that in time, she can be loved by Charles.
Scott Thomas doesn’t quite embody Diana’s looks or mannerisms, but she does capture the human nature that made her so popular. Her portrayal of the princess is likable and she frequently reacts to the mistreatment of Charles, yelling at him after finding a photo of Camilla on her honeymoon and throwing herself down the stairs while pregnant with her first child. Stick to the revelations of the book of Morton, Diana’s struggle with an eating disorder is also depicted. (broadcast via Amazon Prime Video; rent or buy on Amazon.)
“Diana: The Musical” (2021)
“Diana: The Musical,” written by Bon Jovi’s Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, saw its Broadway broadcast quickly shut down due to the pandemic. Earlier this year, a filmed version landed on Netflix.
Beginning with her initial courtship with Prince Charles, the two-hour musical soars over notable events in Diana’s life at breakneck pace. There are numbers on his paparazzi intrusion (with lyrics like “Ain’t nothing like the chase, Ain’t nothing like the thrill. Find the right bird, so go ahead and kill it”) and contrasting key Diana’s common with the audience with the smothering of the royal family (“Alright, I’m not an intellect,” she sings while watching a cello performance with Charles. “But maybe there is has a disco, where the prince could hear a prince and we would all be funkadelic. ”)
This version of Diana (played by Jeanna de Waal) is particularly one-dimensional. There isn’t much of an opportunity to dwell on his emotions or give insight into his mental state, and the filmed musical was not well received. “It’s a Rocky Horror Picture Show of ignorance and misjudged Judy Garlandification,” Peter Bradshaw wrote in The Guardian. (Stream on Netflix.)
“King Charles III” (2017)
Based on the play of the same name by Mike Bartlett, “King Charles III” is set after the death of Queen Elizabeth II and sees Charles (Tim Pigott-Smith) grappling with his mother’s death and his transition to king.
In the vein of a Shakespearean tragedy, the ghost of Diana (Katie Brayben) appears several times in the TV movie. Always distant from the other characters and dressed in white, she reassures a stubborn Charles (“You think I didn’t love you. That’s not true”) and a pained William, upset by his rebellious father (“You are now the man I never lived to see ”).
Diana’s ghost sparked a storm of British tabloids, especially when it was due to air shortly after Prince Harry spoke about the impact of losing his mother on his mental health. Bartlett defended his inclusion: “It’s a real inquiry into what it’s like to be this family and what role in the country,” he told Radio Times television magazine. “Diana is one of them.” (Rent or buy on Amazon and itunes.)
“The Crown” (2020)
The posters for the fourth season of “The Crown” marked the arrival of the series in the 1980s by sandwiching the face of the Queen (now played by Olivia Colman) between two new characters: Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Diana (newcomer Emma Corrin).
We meet Diana as a teenager, and while Corrin perfectly captures the look and subtle manners of the future princess, the show also emphasizes the down-to-earth quality that has made Diana so popular with audiences in through scenes of her roller skating through the palace and going dancing with friends.
We see her struggling with an eating disorder and feeling isolated from Charles and the rest of her family, as well as complicated social rules surrounding interacting with royalty.
Corrin received a Golden Globe for her performance, and as is often the case in “The Crown”, the role of Diana will be taken over by a new actress, Elizabeth Debicki, for the fifth season of the series.
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“I feel so happy to have made the arc of a lifetime that I did, but for me it’s like a very closed chapter. I went for it knowing I wasn’t going to continue, ”Corrin told The New York Times. (Stream on Netflix.)
Starring Naomi Watts as Diana, this film by Oscar-winning director Oliver Hirschbiegel takes place over the last two years of Diana’s life, when she was “the most famous woman in the world”. This period includes his divorce from Charles and his subsequent relationship with cardiac surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) and filmmaker Dodi Fayed (Cas Anvar).
The film focuses on Diana’s charitable work and her desire to live a “normal” life, but she is portrayed as increasingly isolated, upset that Khan doesn’t want to make their relationship public. “I have never been accepted by a family. Not mine, not the one I married, ”she told him.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Khan said he was unhappy with his portrayal and that of Diana, saying the film was the result of “Diana’s friends talking about a relationship they didn’t. didn’t know much, and some of my relatives who didn’t know much either. Everything is based on assumptions and gossip.
The critics were not enthusiastic about “Diana”. “This movie is not particularly good,” Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times, describing it as “part heated gossip, part moon romance.” (Rent or buy on itunes and Seen.)
‘Diana: The Plot of Roses’ (2005)
In the years since Diana’s death, the British tabloid press has speculated extensively on the official account of the traffic accident that killed her, fueling conspiracy theories. This culture is captured in a short film by contemporary Uruguayan artist Martin Sastre, in which Diana (Denise Watson) did not die in Paris, but lives undercover in a neighborhood in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The short, which was shown at the Venice Biennale, shows Diana being embraced by the local community after helping to improve their living conditions and teaching them yoga. She is also shown, finally, as leading a “normal” life, shopping without resorting to a disguise and openly expressing her love with a local resident. Most of all, she is described as being happy and at peace.
After the media find out her whereabouts, a resident is asked about life before Diana arrived in the neighborhood: “No one, no cops, no ambulances. They let us die. But after its appearance, everything changed.
(To watch Martin Sastre’s website.)