Diana was planning to become a movie star

Remember the "big surprise" that Diana, Princess of Wales, was promising to spring on the world just before her untimely death in Paris in August? We have all since thought it was about Dodi. But perhaps it was about Kevin.

Yesterday brought us this extraordinary revelation. In the final weeks of her life, Diana was holding secret talks with the actor Kevin Costner, about starring with him in a sequel to his Hollywood hit, Bodyguard. Mr Costner should get some award for keeping his mouth shut for so long. He has, however, finally spilled the beans in an interview with Premiere magazine in its January issue which hits the stands next month.

What it affords us is a tantalising glimpse of what might have been for Diana in a post-Windsor life. It also suggests a kind of morbid reverse symmetry with the life of Grace Kelly. She went from actress to princess and, of course, was killed in a crash. Diana's crash intervened too soon.

The interview, seen yesterday by The Independent, shows that the project had got well beyond the stage of speculation. Indeed, Mr Costner received a second draft of a script for the film just three days before Diana's fatal accident. He put off reading it and then she died.

He told Premiere: "I picked it up and the first 30 pages were totally her. It was dignified, sexy, smart, funny. And I couldn't finish. I stopped. It broke my heart".

The secret of the first Bodyguard was providing its co-star, Whitney Houston, with a role so close to her real life that little acting talent was required. She played a famous singer who acquires a protector - Costner - and falls in love with him.

The Diana movie would have attempted the same magic. She was to have played a princess stranded in Hong Kong and driven to hire a bodyguard because of a conviction that her extraordinary fame - and the attentions of the paparazzi - was threatening her life. She too was to succumb to Costner. What title the film might have had, if not Bodyguard II, was not discussed. How about this, however: Hong Kong Holiday, after that old classic, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn, a princess who goes incognito in Rome and hitches herself to a dashing journalist played by Gregory Peck?

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