Call it “Wills at 15”: ABC has greenlit production on a two-hour “Wonderful World of Disney” telepic that will explore the life of Britain’s Prince William since the death of his mother.
Scribes Max Enscoe and Anne De Young, who penned the Alphabet’s recent “Facts of Life” reunion pic, wrote the script for the tentatively titled “Prince William.” Pic will be helmed by Michael Watkins, former producer-director for “The X-Files” and “NYPD Blue.”
The film, to be shot in the U.K. this spring, will follow William from the night of the death of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was just 15, to the present. It will use news accounts and research to chronicle the prince’s struggle to come of age in a media bubble, as well as the royal family’s efforts to raise him properly.
“What I love about this movie is that these people are portrayed as real — real and flawed,” said Quinn Taylor, senior VP of movies and minis for ABC. “They’re just a family trying to struggle through (William’s teen years) with this tremendous spotlight on them.”
Taylor says he plans to lord over the project with “an iron fist” to ensure the pic doesn’t become a caricature, as past TV telepics about the royals have tended to do. He says the script and director choices go a long way toward ensuring the project won’t turn into a cartoon.
Watkins — who has just signed with Endeavor — is “known for edgy material. He brings a realism to it that we were really looking for,” Taylor said.
ABC hopes to get “Prince William” on the air by this fall. Bonnie Raskin (“Killing Mr. Griffin”) will serve as exec producer of the Fox Television Pictures pic.