Naomi Watts Leads Parade Of Princess Diana Actresses

PHOTO: Left, Diana, Princess of Wales in Brixton, South London on October 27, 1983. Right, Naomi Watts will play Diana in a film biopic directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel.
Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images

Stepping into Princess Diana's shoes on the 15th anniversary of her death can't be easy.

"It's very scary and I kind of wanted to say no but I couldn't," actress Naomi Watts told the Press Association this past February, after she accepted the role of the Princess in the first big-screen biopic of Diana's life.

Not only is the actress Diana's doppelganger, as pictures from the forthcoming movie show, but her co-star Naveen Andrews is convinced Watts was the only one who could play her.

Photos: Stars on Set

"I don't think anyone else could have done it," the former "Lost" star told the Press Association. "There's no one else."

In fact, there have been several other actresses who have played Diana before and after her death, including Catherine Oxenberg, a distant cousin of the British royal family. But all the previous portrayals have been for television.

"Diana," which was initially titled "Caught in Flight," will focus on Princess Diana's final two years, including her relationship with Dodi Fayed -- who was killed along with her in the Paris car crash Aug. 31, 1997 -- and her little-documented affair with Dr. Hasnat Khan, played by Andrews.

According to a press release from the film's producers Ecosse, the story will show how finding true personal happiness for the first time, Diana was able to evolve into an international humanitarian.

The role of the princess was initially earmarked for Jessica Chastain before Watts was cast.

Photos: Stars as Icons

Watts, who was born in Britian before moving to Australia at age 14, dived into the role.

"I'm doing all the research and there is so much to read, I just hope we make a good film and people can learn something new about her that's interesting. There are a lot of people that knew her and a lot of books to read and so much information and one story is different to the next, so it's hard to gauge what was the truth. It's going to be a tough one, it's a big beast to take on, I just try to do my best," she told the Press Association in February.

Click through to see other actresses who've taken on the challenge of playing Princess Diana.

PHOTO: Christopher Baines and Catherine Oxenberg in the 1982 film "The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana."
Chrysalis-Yellen Productions/The Kobal Collection
Catherine Oxenberg

Catherine Oxenberg is best known for her role as Amanda Carrington in the prime time soap "Dynasty," but she got her start as an actress playing Princess Diana in the 1982 made-for-television movie "The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana." Ten years later, after the royal couple's marriage broke down, Oxenberg reprised her role as the Princess of Wales in the TV film "Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After." Not only did Oxenberg favor the princess, but, as the daughter of Princess Elizabeth of the former Yugoslavia, she is a distant relative of the British royal family.

PHOTO: Caroline Bliss and David Robb in the 1982 film "Charles And Diana: A Royal Love Story."
Moviestore Collection/Rex
Caroline Bliss

English actress Caroline Bliss was overshadowed by Oxenberg in a second telepic about the royal nuptials, "Charles and Diana: A Royal Love Story," which came out at the same time as "The Royal Romance of Charlies and Diana." Bliss nearly faded into obscurity until she landed the role of M's secretary, Miss Moneypenny, in the two James Bond films starring Timothy Dalton. But she was soon replaced by Samantha Bond, who played opposite Pierce Brosnan's James Bond.

PHOTO: Julie Cox as Princess Diana, with Christopher Bowen as Charles in CBS TV's movie "Princess in Love."
Getty Images/CBS
Julie Cox

The 1996 television movie "Princess in Love," starring British actress Julie Cox as Princess Diana, told the story of the six-year secret affair that blossomed between Diana and Captain James Hewitt, a young calvary officer, after he became her riding instructor. It's based on Anna Pasternak's bestselling book with Hewitt. Cox is perhaps best known for her role as Princess Irulan in the Sci Fi Channel's 2000 "Dune miniseries" and its 2003 sequel "Children of Dune."

PHOTO: Serena Scott Thomas in the 1992 film "Diana: Her True Story."
The Kobal Collection
Serena Scott Thomas

The 1993 British television docu-drama "Diana: Her True Story," based on Andrew Morton's bestselling book, dished up all the details of the turbulent marriage between Charles and Diana. It starred English actress Serena Scott Thomas, the younger sister of actress Kristin Scott Thomas, who went on to appear in various television series and opposite Bruce Willis in "Hostage." Ironically, Thomas played Carole Middleton, Kate Middleton's mom, in last year's Lifetime movie "William and Kate" about the most recent royal wedding between Diana's son Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

PHOTO: Genevieve O'Reilly played Princess Diana in the 2007 film "Diana: Last Days of a Princess."
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Genevieve O'Reilly

The 2007 TLC drama "Diana: Last Days of a Princess," starring Irish actress Genevieve O'Reilly, was one of the last films to examine the days leading up to Diana's death. In addition to the scripted scenes, the film used actual news footage and interviews, including with Dodi Al-Fayed's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed. O'Reilly went on to snag minor roles in "The Matrix" sequels and "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith."

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