Controversial Princess Diana Documentary 'Unlawful Killing' Is Shelved
Keith Allen's film was set to open in a number of foreign markets -- and possibly the U.S. -- on Aug. 31, the 15th anniversary of the princess' death.
Audiences won't see the controversial documentary about the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed after all.
Unlawful Killing, financed by Al-Fayed's billionaire father, Mohamed, has been shelved permanently after the producers couldn't secure the necessary insurance needed to indemnify them and distributors from any lawsuits involving the film's content.
The documentary -- alleging a cover-up following the 1997 deaths of Diana and Al-Fayed -- was set to be released in the U.S. and a number of foreign markets Aug. 31, the 15th anniversary of the Paris car crash accident that killed the pair and their driver. Those territories included Spain, Italy, Holland, Brazil, India and Russia.
Directed by British actor Keith Allen, Unlawful Killing was produced by Allied Stars, Mohamed Al-Fayed's London-based production company.
Alliedpresident Conor Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter that the U.S. distributor interested in releasing the film required global insurance coverage (Allied wouldn't reveal the identity of the distributor). However, no insurer would cover the U.K. or France, even though Unlawful Killing isn't being released in those countries. At that point, Allied decided to withdraw the film entirely.
"It became undoable. We are all disappointed," Nolan said. "We worked on Unlawful Killing for four years. We've written back to all of the distributors and are returning their minimum guarantees. We're doing the decent thing."
Unlawful Killing, critical of Britain's royal family, wasn't allowed to air in the U.K. unless 87 cuts were made to comply with the nation's libel laws.
At the heart of Killing is a 2007 inquest and subsequent ruling that Diana and Al-Fayed were killed because of the gross negligence of driver Henri Paul and the paparazzi who chased the couple. But Allen, who covertly observed the inquest proceedings, paints a radically different picture, demonstrating a conspiracy to hide key facts from a complicit British media.
Mohamed Al-Fayed, who has long blamed the royal family for the death of his son, decided to finance the project after Allen was turned down by British film companies and broadcasters.
Unlawful Killing was sold to a number of foreign distributors at the Cannes Film Market in 2011 and the American Film Market later that year.