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Films are always going to stretch the truth. We can’t even completely trust documentaries to tell us the complete truth. But there’s a strange sub-genre of films in the last few years whose intentions are to toe the line between non-fiction and alternate history. Politics is a frequent choice, with examples such as the party-polarizing Death of a President and 2016: Obama’s America. Well if the cinema deities don’t hurry and step in, British royalty will also fall victim to this slightly conspiratorial form of storytelling.
Inquest, a thriller spec script centered around the death of Princess Diana, has been pre-emptively acquired by Wayfare Entertainment, the company producing the upcoming Europa Report and, in part, Ron Howard’s adaptation of The Graveyard Book. So with somewhat respectable films like that on their slate, will Inquest be just another copycat of Oliver Hischbiegel’s upcoming biopic Diana? Not in the least.
The premise, which is of course "based on true events," takes on the well-traveled theory that Princess Di’s death was premeditated. A London investigator is hired to look into Di’s death to see whether the tragedy was accidental or something else entirely, and when he gets too close to the truth, his own safety is at risk. Considering there’s already a film about Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassination somewhere on the horizon, perhaps Oliver Stone would like to get on this one in order to balance the scales of ridiculousness.
Speaking of absurd things, the script’s writer is “Sam Cohen,” though Deadline’s sources say it’s actually “Josh Simon, a former studio exec who worked in the strategic planning group and as a development exec at Disney and later the DreamWorks-based Color Force.” When the script was being shipped around, it reportedly included “copies of confession letters culled from Princess Diana’s private diary that she was in fear of her life.” They probably meant “for her life,” unless she was afraid of herself for being the real killer. Maybe it was a suicide! Considering some of the things we just found out about her, I suppose anything is possible.
Except, of course, anything this film pretends is real.