PARIS -- Grace of Monaco director Olivier Dahan has come out in defense of his film about Grace Kelly as an artistic work after Monaco's royal family condemned it as “pure fiction."
“I am not a journalist or historian. I am an artist,” Dahan told French newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche. “I have not made a biopic. I hate biopics in general. I have made a human portrait of a modern woman who wants to reconcile her family, her husband, her career, who gives up this career to invent another role.”
Dahan also admitted that some scenes in the film are indeed pure fiction, but he chalked that up to the filmmaking process. “Of course there are historical inaccuracies. Gen. [Charles] de Gaulle never set foot at the Red Cross Ball,” he said of the former French president’s attendance at Monte Carlo’s annual swanky society event in the film. “But I need this stage to tell my story.”
The film stars Oscar winner Nicole Kidman as American movie star Kelly, the Dial M for Murder actress who left Hollywood to become Princess Grace of Monaco.
“I think we have a misunderstanding,” Dahan also said following an article in weekly magazine Paris Match that seemed to imply the Monaco royal family was involved in the project. “We never asked them to endorse anything.”
Last week, Kelly's children Prince Albert, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie of Monaco, issued a joint statement saying they had “absolutely no association” with the production. The family added that the film contains major historical inaccuracies and that Dahan ignored their requests for changes.
“For us, this film does not constitute a biographical work but portrays only a part of her life and has been pointlessly glamorized and contains important historical inaccuracies, as well as scenes of pure fiction,” they said.
Dahan said he had met with the Monaco royals, worked with them on filming permits in Monaco and did address some of their script concerns at the time. He added that he has had a good relationship with the family since May, though it appears they have suddenly changed their minds.
“When I met with the [family], I had the feeling of being listened to,” he said, emphasizing that he felt they understood that he was not shooting a biopic.
Dahan said that the family wanted changes in the political tone of the film, which is only a background for his more personal story of the princess.
Kelly was internationally known for her collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock in Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. She married Monaco's Prince Rainier Grimaldi in 1956 after a whirlwind romance, effectively ending her Hollywood career.
The film is due out in 2014.