The Big Issue : Edition 441
18 THe big issue 13 – 26 sep 2013 THe big issue 13 – 26 sep 2013 19 Had you ever speculated what would be the first biopic in your career? [Diana] doesn’t feel like a true biopic because it was a really isolated and specific period of time. It was just the last two years of her life. We really were concentrating on this love story that no one knew much about. Was her attempt to free herself from her family one of the reasons you stepped into this role? Well, yeah, she basically does the interview with Martin Bashir for Panorama [BBC TV, 1995] and that, kind of, was a turning point in her life. She got a great deal of criticism for that, and positive results, too. I think, ultimately, she did it because she had to do it. She had to change her life by speaking out. That was her way of saying, ‘I want to have a free life. I want to be as normal as possible and I’m entitled to that,’ and she was entitled to that. I think she did a lot of good things in that two-year period before the end of her life. What were your feelings about her then? Well, I was born in England and I lived there until I was 14. I watched the wedding but I wasn’t reading newspapers at that point. When I moved to Australia [in 1982], there was a bit of a distancing from it. She was also very popular there, but not every single front cover every day with newspapers commenting on the choice of her skirt length or whatever. It was there, but it wasn’t as constant. Then I moved to America , and again the same thing: famous but we weren’t as saturated [in the US] as they were there. I think I followed it more intensely and I remember watching the Bashir interview, and I definitely remember when she died. I was horrified and shocked. I was very upset by that... These big moments you do remember, and this was one of those. Face to Face with Fame Sixteen yearS after her death, PrinceSS diana remainS an intriguing, enigmatic figure. in diana, a new movie, BritiSh- auStralian actor naom i wattS PortrayS ‘the PeoPle’S PrinceSS’. interviewed recently, She diScuSSeS taking on Such a challenging role. top Naomi Watts as diaNa face to face with Apparently this movie was not something you immediately wanted to do. What persuaded you? What [director Oliver Hirschbiegel] said in terms of why he wanted to do it, he was very much into the love story [between Diana and heart surgeon Hasnat Khan], and that was the guiding force for him. That separated it from being a biopic and for me, yes, that was part of it. But I think the things that terrified me also intrigued me. The fact that how absurd and ridiculous it is to take on the most famous women of all time makes me think, wow, what a great challenge. We’re fascinated with true stories at the moment and this story was going to be told at some point. The Panorama BBC interview was a critical element. How did you prepare for [the recreation of] those interviews? I must have listened to it and watched it, like, 10,000 times. I had it on my iPad, on my iPhone, anything ‘i’. When I went running, I would listen to it. If I was in the bath, I would place it up there. There were things I wanted to achieve, and not just the voice. It was good to listen to it with no image, and just hearing the voice because you hear it differently. When you’re watching the image, you’re watching for other things and both were equally important not just to learn about her life, but the tone of her voice and the way she moves her face – which is completely opposite from the way I move mine. I move my face on the right side and she moves hers on the left. That was difficult. I had to walk around with tape on my mouth to paralyse my right side for weeks. You must have done an enormous amount of research. Was there anything that you learned that surprised you? Her sense of humour. She was a mischievous, witty person who wasn’t afraid to tell a politically incorrect joke – something I was told by people who knew her. That would throw people off. That was great. Also, the rebellious streak in her. We always admire a rebellious streak in people.