April 17, 2011

Lifetime film has royal appeal

Posted in Between Us column, Entertainment, Movies, Relationships, Television, Women at 7:54 pm by dinaheng

When it comes to movies that appeal to women, Lifetime films focus on what matters most to their audience — stories that engage the heart about topics that viewers relate to.

The stories may be based on fictional escapades or real life dramas, but are told from a woman’s point of view, or center around women as the protagonists. Thankfully, the disease-of-the-week and victim-of-the-week stories are no longer standard fare.

This week, viewers who love romantic tales about princes and princesses will enjoy “William & Kate,” the story of how Prince William (Nico Evers-Swindell), second in line to the British throne, fell in love with his future princess, Kate Middleton (Camilla Luddington), the daughter of upper middle-class commoners.

The Lifetime Television Original Movie, which airs Monday, April 18 at  9 p.m. Eastern, will please romantics everywhere who are fascinated with the couple’s real life romance and who are sure to devour every detail of the royal wedding scheduled for April 29 in Westminster Abbey.

“Those of us who watched Princess Diana’s wedding will watch this movie,” says Tanya Lopez, Lifetime’s senior vice president of original movies. “ ‘William & Kate’ represents that for so much of America. It will be interesting to see if the next generation cares.”

Lopez says the decision to make a movie about the royal couple was made shortly after their engagement was announced last November. Frank Konigsberg, executive producer of the film, approached Lifetime with the project, which was quickly greenlit.

“We felt the romantic courting story would be dramatic in film,” Lopez says. “Women are interested in romance, and our fascination with princes and princesses is about that imaginary, dreamlike, wish fulfillment of having everything you want land at your feet. From ‘Cinderella’ to ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ we love the idea of ‘When will my prince come?’ “

Following “William & Kate” will be the first of six, one-hour episodes of the documentary series “Royal Wedding of a Lifetime,” which will examine the history of the couple’s romance, comparisons of Kate to Princess Diana, wedding fashion and cuisine, a preview of the event, and a look at the couple’s future together.

“I think women just love a good story,” Lopez says. “They love a romance as much as a true crime or escapist Nora Roberts fare. They want to be entertained, emotionally engaged, and told a good tale. We recently did a movie called ‘Craigslist Killer’ that’s a cautionary tale, and it was our most watched film in the last five years.”

Lopez, formerly a TV-packaging agent for ICM, says she grew up on television movies when mini-series events like “Roots” were popular.

“Lifetime is one of the few networks that believes TV movies are still a format that women love,” she notes. “Women don’t have a lot of time in their lives, which makes their viewing time precious. Everyone has different tastes, so that’s why we offer a variety, from true story form to the romantic.”

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