As soon as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in November 2017, executives at cable TV network Lifetime swung into gear.
In two weeks, the first scripts were written for Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance, a dramatisation of their courtship that airs in Malaysia (on Lifetime, Astro Ch 709), May 16 at 8.30pm, ahead of the May 19 royal wedding.
Starring Scottish actor Murray Fraser as Harry and American actress Parisa Fitz-Henley as Markle, the film is based on known events in the couple’s almost two-year romance including their appearances together, Markle’s public speeches, and entries from her former lifestyle blog The Tig.
It weaves in imagined scenes including their first blind date, an argument, Harry’s proposal, and events with members of the royal family including his mother the late Princess Diana; his father Prince Charles; Harry’s older brother Prince William; William’s wife, Kate Middleton; and his grandmother Queen Elizabeth.
“There is so much drama in the real story we didn’t have to make a lot up,” said co-writer Terrence Coli.
Shot mostly in Toronto, Canada, where Markle was based while shooting the TV series Suits, the makers say the film is motivated by warmth and admiration for the couple.
It follows a Lifetime biopic made for the 2011 wedding of William and Kate.
“One of the reasons that we love them so much is because they are a unifying force in a very divisive time,” said co-writer Scarlett Lacey.
Fraser, who had to drop his broad Scottish accent to play Harry, said he did not want to do a mere copycat of the tall, ginger-haired prince.
“I really wanted to see him as a human being who just happens to be a prince,” Fraser said.
Fitz-Henley said she saw Markle as “a really great example of confidence”.
Markle and Harry were not consulted in the making of the film, but the producers say the couple are aware of it and the producers hope they will see it.
“We admire them as a couple, so we hope they watch it and they think it is funny and sweet,” said Michele Weiss, one of the executive producers. – Reuters