What a long, strange trip it’s been for Grace Of Monaco. The Nicole Kidman starrer was crowned Cannes’ opening-night film amid much French fanfare in 2014 and then quickly fizzled on the Croisette, beset as it was by harsh reviews. It didn’t help that it also was the subject of a battle over cuts between U.S. distributor The Weinstein Co and director Olivier Dahan as well as protests from the royal family of Monaco over the depiction of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. Ultimately, TWC decided not to go with a theatrical release in the U.S. and in it was announced April this year that the film would premiere on Lifetime. Today, it landed an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Television Movie. But the version that screened on Lifetime was not the one Cannes audiences saw.
When the Grace Kelly biopic was shown on the Riviera, Deadline’s Pete Hammond wrote that critics seemed to be gunning for it from the get-go. But he cited a “terrific and credible” turn from Nicole Kidman as a movie star-turned-princess caught up in a lifestyle change for which she was ill-prepared.
There were ultimately three versions of the film: the director’s cut that screened in Cannes and was released theatrically in France by Gaumont; a never-finished U.S theatrical cut that removed some of the sweeping flourishes and made it “more biopic and less melodrama,” according to screenwriter Arash Amel; and a Weinstein Co. cut that Lifetime ran that’s about 10 minutes shorter than the director’s version.
Amel called the nominations today (it’s also up for Hairstyling) “a pleasant surprise. … It’s been a wonderfully unique journey. I don’t think there has been another like it in the history of cinema.” It’s been, he says, “a rather culturally significant movie that has refused to die. There have been attempts to kill it in every single shape or form, but it’s resilient and having some kind of impact with people.”
Earlier this year, Harvey Weinstein told Deadline’s Mike Fleming, “The script we signed on for was like The King’s Speech, with the big moment where Princess Grace steps up. That is what attracted Nicole. … I’d seen rushes that were great. The director is French, and he turned it more into a Hitchcock movie like a paean to Vertigo, which ironically Grace wasn’t in. The writer, Arash Amel, called me and said, ‘What happened to my script?’ It’s like, ‘Welcome to Hollywood.’ Writers don’t have any say, but we decided to pair him up with a team of people and see what he could do about restoring the movie to the way it looked when he wrote it. He did a wonderful job.”
But, Weinstein continued, “The director refused and criticized me profusely. In the old days, I would have fought for it. Here, I said, the better part of valor was just to tell Nicole, ‘You should get this done and if you can’t then I’m not going to,’ because I’m tired of this. I don’t want these fights. That movie would have been helped greatly by the writer’s cut of the film, and it’s something that people should see someday. It wasn’t a transformative movie, but it was a damn entertaining one.”
Amel credits Weinstein with championing the film “from beginning to end. He was marvelous. Whatever happened, happened across the water. He was great.”
Amel also is “really thrilled for a lot of the people that deserve the credit on the movie. There was a huge cast and crew that really worked hard and this is for them. Lifetime also deserves great thanks.” He’s also “happy that Nicole’s work gets recognition. No one worked harder than she did.”
The Emmy noms were among 12 the Weinstein Company received today.