Movie attempts to reveal the real Prince William

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Oh, to be young, blond, handsome and royal. Britain's Prince William is all that. The actor portraying him in a new made-for-TV movie has the first three traits down and is the son of British pop royalty.

Jordan Frieda gets his big acting break in "Prince William," airing at 6 p.m. today on ABC.

He's the offspring of 1960s singing star Lulu and her ex-husband, hairstylist John Frieda.

"Having a mother in the performing arts made me think I wanted to do something else," the 25-year-old said by telephone from London. "You know how hard it is."

Although Frieda's credits were limited to a small part in the HBO World War II miniseries "Band of Brothers" and some British stage roles, he found himself caught in an uproar when the royal family and Britain's tabloid media found out about the movie.

"It was received in a funny way," he said. "The fact is no one really knows what it's about because it's not being marketed in Britain."

The movie begins with Princess Diana's death in a 1997 car crash in Paris and ends with William heading off to St. Andrews University last year.

The project upset Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, who called it "insensitive" and asked for it to be shelved. Prince Charles expressed "deep concern."

"She never called and asked for a script to read it," executive producer Bonnie Raskin said. "I certainly would have been happy to send it. I heard the palace did have a copy."

Raskin remembered one headline from a British tabloid that screamed: "Prince Charles trying to sue to shut movie down."

"I had people trying to sneak on the set and take pictures," she said. "It was never sold as a behind-the-scenes, ripped-from-the-headlines story, which God knows could easily be done. We chose not to do that."

It's not all prim and proper, though. William is seen drinking and cavorting with pals Tom and Laura Parker-Bowles, the children of Charles' longtime love, Camilla. In one nightclub scene, party pal Tara Palmer-Tomkinson exposes her breasts to a surprised William.

"There are some great opportunities about being in his position," Frieda said.

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