Netflix’s The Crown Team “On Edge” For Filming Of Princess Diana’s Death In Paris – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: There’s anxiety behind the scenes on Netflix drama The Crown with stars, creatives and producers “on edge” as preparations are made to recreate the fateful moments that led to the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris twenty-five years ago.

The majority of the scenes will be shot in two weeks with actress Elizabeth Debicki portraying Diana.

Peter Morgan, creator of The Crown, has made clear to this writer in past conversations that the crash itself will not be filmed. That fact was confirmed again to Deadline today by sources at Netflix.

On August 31, 1997, Diana and boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed were riding in the passenger seats of a Mercedes-Benz, driven by Henri Paul, a security officer at The Ritz. Seated beside him was Trevor Rees-Jones, who worked as a security consultant for businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi’s father. Rees-Jones was the only survivor. Dodi and Paul were killed instantly. Diana was alive when freed from the wreckage but died four hours later.

“We’ve been dreading getting to this point. The countdown is two weeks and while we’re calmly carrying on it’s fair to acknowledge that there’s a certain anxiety; a palpable sense of being slightly on edge. I mean, there’s bombshell sensitivity surrounding this one,” a source on the production told Deadline.

The source reiterated points made by others that the supposed collision between the Mercedes-Benz and a Fiat at the entrance to the Pont de l’Alma will not be filmed. Instead, the show will chart events before and after. ”It’s the run-up: the car leaving The Ritz after midnight with paparazzi in pursuit and then the aftermath with the British Ambassador to France swinging into action with the Foreign Office and then the subsequent constitutional aftermath,” we were told.

Deadline understands that the episode being prepped for season six of The Crown will include scenes showing the then Prince Charles, played by Dominc West, arriving on a royal flight to collect Diana’s body and accompanying it home to London. There will be contrasting scenes of Mohamad Al-Fayed, portrayed by Salim Daw, and the casual racism he endured from French authorities after he took possession of the casket containing his son.

Back in June, West told Deadline the forthcoming season would be ”as tumultuous as it gets.” Filming is expected to run until next May or June. An air date has yet to be revealed for the show but November 2023 is a potential landing based on previous launches.

Filming for season six is taking place on locations in Paris, London, and Spain. As with all Netflix productions there will be physical security for the safety of cast and crew. However, with Netflix’s keenness to approach the episode with great sensitivity, there’s a desire to ensure that the actual paparazzi are kept well away from the sets involved. Any shots of the Mercedes-Benz at the entrance to the tunnel, or its recreation, could create uproar in royal circles, especially given the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II. Filming was halted temporarily after the monarch’s passing.

Prince William is already reported to have expressed consternation because an episode of the fifth season of The Crown, which streams on Netflix from November 9, shows how BBC interviewer Martin Bashir engaged in subterfuge to gain the now infamous Panorama interview with Diana which damned Charles and his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, now Queen Consort.

Interestingly, the best season five episode is said to be one concerning Mohamad Al-Fayed and how he and Dodi (Khalid Abdulla) were introduced to Diana and Queen Elizabeth, portrayed by Imelda Staunton. There’s also said to be plenty of material that could have King Charles hurling his boiled eggs at the walls.

It’s worth noting finally that although The Crown is fictional — but generally inspired by real events — Peter Morgan’s screenplays are underpinned by War and Peace-length reams of research.

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