Al Fayed heads for Cannes to promote Diana documentary
Brad Pitt, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Robert De Niro will walk down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, which opens this week. But the latest addition to that glittering roll-call of talent is less celebrated.
The former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed will travel to Cannes on Friday to launch Unlawful Killing, a controversial documentary directed and produced by the comedian Keith Allen. The movie is due to be screened to an exclusive audience of distributors and journalists and focuses on the circumstances surrounding the death in 1997 of Diana, Princess of Wales.
"Keith met Mohamed in 2004 to discuss a project and they got talking," said a spokesperson for the film, who said that Mr Al Fayed had also contributed funds to the project. "He is interviewed for the film. But it's not his project. It's Keith's project."
The movie tells of the inquest into Diana's death, which opened in 2007. Mr Al Fayed claimed in 1998 that he believed Diana and his son Dodi were murdered by British establishment figures, including former prime minister Tony Blair. The ultimate verdict of the inquest was "unlawful killing through negligent driving", from which the film takes its title.
The Egyptian businessman is expected to field questions from journalists on the controversial project, though it is unclear whether his participation will extend to any publicity stunts for which the festival has become renowned.
Hollywood gossip website TMZ reported last week that Unlawful Killing claimed to have a recording of Diana speaking on the telephone, a year before her death. "If you're a strong woman in my environment, you're a problem," Diana is reported to have said. "No time for hobbies, keeping alive is one of them." TMZ also reported that the film accuses a doctor, who attended the crash, of waiting too long to remove Diana from the wreckage. It claimed the film had been banned in Britain.
The film was finished in March after three years of work. Allen researched the movie by "covertly" attending the inquest alongside journalists reporting on it for the mainstream media.
The film's spokesperson said the movie showed a "cover up" after Diana's death. "It shows how vital evidence was hidden from public scrutiny, how the Royal Family were exempted from giving evidence and how journalists, particularly those working for the British media, systematically misreported what was happening."
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
How to read Will Self: Unlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in September 2014
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain