Will and Kate’s royal ro­mance dra­ma­tized

The Daily Herald - TV Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAY BOB­BIN

Four months af­ter a royal wed­ding isn’t too late for a movie about the courtship, espe­cially if the cou­ple in ques­tion is Prince Wil­liam and the for­mer Kate Mid­dle­ton.

That’s how Hall­mark Chan­nel sees it, at least, and ev­i­dence sup­ports the new­ly­weds’ on­go­ing pop­u­lar­ity with the world­wide pub­lic ... the at­ten­tion to their re­cent trip to Canada and the United States be­ing a prime ex­am­ple. Life­time de­picted their re­la­tion­ship the week be­fore the wed­ding in the April drama “Wil­liam & Kate,” and Hall­mark offers its ver­sion when “Wil­liam & Cather­ine: A Royal Ro­mance” pre­mieres Satur­day.

New­com­ers Dan Am­boyer and Alice St. Clair have the ti­tle roles, but the tele­play co-writ­ten by ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and di­rec­tor Linda Yellen also spends much time on other par­ties to the re­la­tion­ship, giv­ing some vet­eran per­form­ers chunky roles.

Two-time Emmy win­ner Jane Alexan­der plays Queen El­iz­a­beth II, and Vic­tor Garber (“Alias”) and Jean Smart — fresh from what turned out to be a short stint as the gov­er­nor on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” — are cast as Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

De­but­ing actress St. Clair came to “Wil­liam & Cather­ine” with a bonus, though she didn’t let the pro­duc­ers know un­til she al­ready had landed her part: She’s a lady. Her fa­ther is an earl and also the se­cu­rity chief for the queen.

“I went through the whole process of au­di­tion­ing and ev­ery­thing,” St. Clair says, “then it was when I was al­ready cast and hav­ing tea with Linda in Lon­don that she said, ‘You know what I read yes­ter­day?’ She said it was so strange to see, hav­ing had no knowl­edge of that. And she also said, ‘This was even more meant to be.’ ”

Bri­tish-born but now a New York res­i­dent, St. Clair ad­mits play­ing some­one with such a glob­ally pub­lic pro­file was “quite a chal­lenge and rel­a­tively daunt­ing, but at the same time, it’s quite amaz­ing to play some­one so of-the-mo­ment. I felt very priv­i­leged.

“I kind of told my fam­ily I was au­di­tion­ing for it, though I didn’t want to get any­one too ex­cited,” St. Clair adds. “When I fi­nally got the part, I got my mom on Skype and said, ‘Mom?’ Then she got the whole fam­ily in, and there was scream­ing all through the house. And my lit­tle brother thought I was an ex­tra. It was only later that he said, ‘You’re play­ing Kate?’ ”

Alice St. Clair plays Kate Mid­dle­ton.

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