American Actress Jessica Chastain Will Play Princess Diana

American actress Jessica Chastain will play Princess Diana |

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Matt Sayles / AP

Hollywood sure loves its biopics (major films on the lives of Marilyn Monroe, J. Edgar Hoover and Margaret Thatcher will all be released by year’s end) so it’s kind of surprising that moviemakers have left the late Princess Diana alone for so long.

Oh, she’s been depicted here and there — in a 2007 television movie called Diana: Last Days of a Princess and occasionally on South Park — but for the most part, the people’s princess has been tastefully ignored on screen. The Queen, a film that focuses on Buckingham Palace’s reactions to her 1997 death, avoided showing her as much as possible. Even Unlawful Killing, the political-conspiracy documentary that aired during (but not at) the Cannes Film Festival this year, neglected to include the rumored death photo that everyone thought it would flaunt) But apparently the time for the inevitable Diana biopic has finally arrived. Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Caught In Flight is reportedly scheduled to start production in March 2012. It will focus on Diana’s two-year affair with London heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan and she will be played by Jessica Chastain.

(PHOTOS: 50 Rare Photos of Princess Diana)

Chastain is still a relatively new face in Hollywood, although her recent roles in this summer’s The Tree of Life and The Help have given her reputation a considerable boost. (In the past several months, she’s also appeared in Take Shelter, The Debt and Texas Killing Fields.) Caught In Flight will be her first starring role. It’ll be interesting to see how she portrays the princess — Diana was one of the most photographed and gossiped-about celebrities of the late 20th century, but she was also a famously guarded and reserved person. In other words, we’re all familiar with how she smiled and waved, but we’ve rarely saw much else from her — publicly, at least. Still, there was something charming about Diana, something that made her internationally beloved. Chastain will attempt to capture that. Given how she’s shined in every role so far, we’re optimistic.

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