Naomi Watts Starring as Princess Diana in 'Caught in Flight'

Thu Feb 9, 2012 2:15pm EST

Naomi Watts will star as Princess Diana in "Caught in Flight," Ecosse Films said on Thursday. 

The announcement is a surprise as early reports had "The Help" actress Jessica Chastain playing "Shy Di" in the biopic. 

Watts spent her teenage years in Australia and got her career started there, but was born in England, meaning that one of the United Kingdom's greatest icon's will be played by an actress with roots in the country. Chastain, talented though she may be, hails from Northern California. 

Also read: Royals Caused Princess Diana's Death, 'Killing' Doc Says

Coming on the heels of American born Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," that might have been an affront too far to the British acting community, who should probably get first crack at some of their historical figures. 

"Caught in Flight" will be directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, who is best known for "Downfall," his Oscar-nominated depiction of Hitler's last days. 

Stephen Jeffreys ("The Libertine") wrote the screenplay for the film, which will begin production in the United Kingdom later this year.

"Caught in Flight" will focus on the last two years of the princess of Wales' life, charting her discovery of self-worth in the wake of her failed marriage through her work as a humanitarian. 

That rather reverential plot description is a far cry from earlier reports about the project. When Chastain was rumored to be involved, the film was reported to center on a covert affair between Diana and a heart surgeon, Dr. Hasnat Kahn.

Watts is best known for her work in "King Kong" and her Oscar-nominated turn in "21 Grams." She will next be seen starring in "The Impossible" opposite Ewan McGregor. 

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