Naveen Andrews is perhaps best known for his small screen roles on shows like “Lost” and now “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” but he’s also appearing on the big screen in November in “Diana,” as the Princess of Wales‘ (Naomi Watts) former lover Dr. Hasnat Khan. Andrews tells Zap2it that he wanted to do the project because the love story felt so pure.
“I always thought that it’s very rare to have a love story on film that works,” says Andrews. “You see Hollywood romances and those kinds of films all the time, but just in my opinion, it’s very hard to see a film that’s essentially a very simple love story that actually works.”
“In our film, one of the characters is obviously international known, but apart from that, it seemed very … pure and simple, and I guess that’s why I wanted to do it.”
The romance between Princess Diana and Dr. Khan is perhaps one of the least-known things about her life, since it was vastly overshadowed by her tumultuous relationship with Prince Charles and then her later romance with Dodi Fayed, the man who was killed in the car accident along with Diana.
In fact, the relationship with Dr. Khan came as a surprise even to Andrews.
“I thought, like everybody else, that the relationship was with Dodi. It came as a sudden surprise that she would even be involved with someone like Hasnat,” says Andrews.
“He was a very private person and by all accounts still is. There’s a certain amount of academic research you can do about that period in his life. And of course, physically I had to put on about 20 pounds. … but there was very little film footage of him,” he adds.
The film has not been getting great reviews by the British critics, which Andrews says they kind of expected, having tackled such a personal issue for many Britons.
“We expected a certain level of vitriol, absolutely, because the British and the British press, hypocritically, still feel a bit of ownership over Diana, both when she was alive and they still do now,” says Andrews.
It’s almost a testament to her power that she can still inspire, if you like, these sort of reactions. It almost felt like we were re-opening this wound in the national psyche and I think it’s to be expected.”
“Diana” opens nationwide on Friday, Nov. 1.