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Wednesday, January 14, 1998 Published at 16:26 GMT



UK

Di and Dodi film makers give lawyers the flick
image: [ People's Princess - A Tribute will be,a love story says Mirror Television ]
People's Princess - A Tribute will be,a love story says Mirror Television

The makers of a television feature film portraying the relationship between Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed insisted their tribute would be a sensitive and romantic portrayal.

The statement follows threats of legal action from Mishcon de Reya, the law firm which acts for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The firm wrote to film-maker Mirror Television six weeks ago saying their plans were "entirely inappropriate and insensitive".

The letter referred to "numerous complex legal issues involved" in the commercial exploitation of Diana's name, image and likeness.

"Disgraceful" letter

However, Kelvin MacKenzie, the film's executive producer and former editor of The Sun newspaper, said permission was not needed to make a film about a famous person.


[ image: Dodi Fayed: to be played by 40-year-old look-a-like George Jackos]
Dodi Fayed: to be played by 40-year-old look-a-like George Jackos
"Diana was the single most famous person to walk on this planet and the idea that you cannot make a film about her is ludicrous."

Mr MacKenzie described the letter from Mishcon de Reya as "disgraceful".

"We have taken the most friendly view we could of the last year of Diana's life. I know film makers who are intending to make entirely different movies and if we were to make that sort of film it would be inappropriate at this time," he said.

Wait and see say lawyers

Mishcon de Reya, which also handled Diana's divorce, confirmed that no further correspondence had been sent to the makers of People's Princess - A Tribute. But a company spokesperson said: "If they do go ahead, the situation arises of selling and screening the film. If any action is taken, it will be at that point."

Associate Producer Bill Ridley described the lawyers' stance is extraordinary: "We shall go ahead, and look forward to hearing from Mishcon de Reya if they decide to do something. He also said that the film would include "nothing that could possibly tarnish the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. "


[ image: William and Harry to be played by two London lads]
William and Harry to be played by two London lads
To heighten controversy, the film will include portrayals of Diana's sons William and Harry. They will be played by two teenagers from London, as yet unnamed.

Diana look-a-like Amy Seccombe, 27, who will make her film debut portraying the Princess, said she was not worried about the lawyers' condemnation.

"This is a film about someone who was the world's most loved woman, so people will be moved by her whenever a film like this is made," said the Warwickshire actress. "That feeling will never go away. This has given me the chance to play someone who I greatly admired. Diana was an incredibly kind, beautiful and compassionate person."

Dodi, the son of Harrods millionaire Mohammed Al-Fayed, will be played by 40-year-old look-a-like George Jackos, who has appeared in the television series Heartbeat and Thief Takers.

Mr Jackos said: "It is a very positive script and a celebration of her life. Dodi was a charming man and very protective of Diana and her sons. He comes across well in this."

Executive producer Nigel Thomas said the film would not be an expose of the relationship between the Princess and Dodi, but would tell the story as it was already known.

"We are talking about a happy story. We are not trying to speculate about their love life. There are no sex scenes in the film," he said.

The film will end with a Mercedes car entering a Paris underpass, but will not re-enact the accident that killed the couple.

"Everyone knows about what happened in the tunnel and that is not what the story's about. It is a romance," said Mr Thomas.

Due for release in April, People's Princess - A Tribute will be shown in Britain on Live TV in mid April.
 





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