Kiwi actress delights makers of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle movie with her Princess Diana likeness

The New Zealand actress who played Princess Diana in a TV movie about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's love story delighted the filmmakers with her likeness to the late Royal.

Bonnie Soper starred in Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance, which just screened in the US and UK.

Soper said the movie's casting team were excited by how closely she resembled the beloved late princess when she walked in to audition.

"They definitely were like 'oh wow, you're so much like Diana,'" she said.

"I made a point of being in character as I walked into the room and then afterwards they were just like 'wow, we thought it was going it be so hard to find someone like Diana.'"

"I definitely felt confident when I was in the room and they were so excited."

She was happy that her casting to portray Diana went under the radar until shooting had completed.

"To tell you the truth I didn't think anyone was even going to notice, I got the role and I thought 'oh my goodness' this is an amazing opportunity," she said.

"I didn't think of anything to much of that and it wasn't until after I'd filmed it that I started getting a lot of attention which I'm glad happened afterwards so I could just focus on doing my best."

The 34-year-old, who played Morgan Brathwaite on Shortland Street, said the romance and drama of the royal romance would surprise viewers.

"I think a lot of it is going to be surprising, you know, there are things when I was reading the script that I just didn’t know and I was so caught up in the romance of it and then the drama of it and I came to adore, at least in this portrayal, Harry and Meghan," she said.

Bonnie Soper told TVNZ1’s Breakfast says the drama of the soon to be wed pair’s relationship will surprise viewers. Source: Breakfast

MOST
POPULAR STORIES


One charge dismissed against Harvey Weinstein amid concerns detective coached witness to remain silent

Prosecutors in New York City abandoned part of their sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein today after evidence surfaced that a lead police detective coached a witness to keep quiet when she raised doubts about the veracity of one of the allegations.

Weinstein, 66, looked on as a judge agreed to dismiss the lone charge related to Lucia Evans, who helped spark the #MeToo movement a year ago when she told The New Yorker that the Hollywood mogul had forced her to perform oral sex in 2004 when she was a college student and fledgling actress.

Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, unsuccessfully urged Judge James Burke to deep-six the whole case, telling him: "The integrity of these proceedings has been compromised."

The bulk of the prosecution case remains intact, with Weinstein still facing five charges over allegations that he raped an unidentified woman in his Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. A conviction on the most serious charges could put him in prison for the rest of his life.

Weinstein denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

The turn of events, which had been simmering for weeks in closed-door meetings and sealed court documents, enraged Evans' lawyer, who took to the courthouse steps to blast Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. for walking away from her client. Evans told the truth and never misled investigators, lawyer Carrie Goldberg said.

"Let me be clear: the decision to throw away my client's sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein's guilt or innocence. Nor does it reflect on Lucia's consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein," Goldberg said outside the courthouse.

"It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA's office and its mishandling of my client's case."

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon insisted in court that the rest of the case is strong and said the district attorney's office was looking into the possibility of bringing additional charges.

"In short, your honor, we are moving full steam ahead," she said.

Detective Nicholas DiGaudio, who was one of two investigators who escorted Weinstein out of a police station and into court after his May arrest, is now embroiled in an internal police department investigation and has been thrown off the case. Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said today that the department takes seriously the allegations against him.

Prosecutors said in a letter unsealed after today's hearing that they learned weeks ago that a woman who was with Evans the night she first met Weinstein at a restaurant had given DiGaudio a contradictory account of what happened, but that the detective had urged her to keep quiet, telling her "less is more."

The woman, prosecutors said, told the detective in February that Weinstein had offered them money to flash their breasts during the restaurant encounter.

They initially declined, but the woman said that Evans later told her she had gone ahead and exposed herself to the film producer in a hallway. Goldberg disputed that.

The woman also told the detective that sometime after an office meeting where Evans alleged Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex, she suggested what happened was consensual, according to the letter. Weinstein had promised to get her an acting job if she agreed to perform oral sex, and she agreed, it said.

According to the witness, who was not named in the letter, Evans had been drinking and "appeared to be upset, embarrassed and shaking" when she recounted the story.

Prosecutors also disclosed that they had discovered a draft email that Evans had written three years ago to a man who is now her husband that "describes details of the sexual assault that differ from the account" she provided to investigators.

A message left on a phone DiGaudio used in the past wasn't returned. The union for New York City police detectives didn't return a message.

Brafman said he believed Evans had lied both to the grand jury and to The New Yorker about her encounter with Weinstein and suggested she be prosecuted for perjury.

"This is an attack on the fundamental integrity of the grand jury process," Brafman said. "If you have a person willing to commit perjury in the grand jury, that is as serious as the crime of sexual assault because it undermines the fairness of the process for all of us."

The developments in Weinstein's case today capped a tough six-day stretch for the #MeToo movement, bookended by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation amid decades-old allegations that he had committed sexual misconduct. But victim advocates didn't see it as a setback.

"This is so much larger than any singular case," Kristen Houser of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center said. "Weinstein may have been the snowball that started the avalanche, but the ability of any one perpetrator being held accountable or getting away with it doesn't alter the national outrage."

The New Yorker, in a statement, said it stands by its reporting and fact-checking process and that "any assertion by lawyers for Harvey Weinstein that The New Yorker had information that contradicted Lucia Evans's account is patently incorrect."

Vance has already been fiercely criticised for declining to prosecute Weinstein when an Italian model accused him of grabbing her breasts in 2015. At the time, Vance cited a lack of supporting evidence, despite the existence of a clandestinely made recording of Weinstein discussing the episode with the woman.

In the months after The New York Times and The New Yorker began publishing stories about Weinstein's interactions with women, activists pressured Vance to bring charges as dozens of people came forward with claims of sexual misconduct against him.

DiGaudio and other police officials poured on the pressure, saying publicly that they believed they had gathered ample evidence to make an arrest.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly, as Evans has done.
Weinstein is free on $1.5 million bail and is due back in court December 20.

FILE - In this July 9, 2018 file photo, Harvey Weinstein is escorted in handcuffs to a courtroom in New York. The #MeToo movement has sent dozens of once-powerful men in Hollywood into exile, but it has yet to put many of them in handcuffs or courtrooms. Weinstein has been charged with sexual assault in New York and Bill Cosby has been sent to prison in Pennsylvania in the year since stories on Weinstein in The New York Times and The New Yorker set off waves of revelations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood. But those two central figures have been exceptions. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Harvey Weinstein is escorted in handcuffs to a courtroom in New York. Source: Associated Press

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Princess Eugenie's wedding set to be less of a global spectacle than Prince Harry's, more of a family affair

It's time for another royal wedding at Windsor Castle — but this time it's less of a global TV spectacle and more of a family affair.

Despite large signs at the castle's ticket booth welcoming people to the wedding, many visitors seem unaware that Princess Eugenie, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, will marry tequila company executive James Brooksbank at 11pm tonight NZT.

Princess Eugenie is the 28-year-old daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and ninth in line for the throne. She has lived most of her life outside the media spotlight, and keeps a low profile compared to cousins Prince William and Prince Harry and their glamorous wives.

1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Joy Reid has the latest ahead of the big day in Windsor, England. Source: Breakfast

That's reflected in the souvenir shops that line the streets leading to the imposing castle. Royal wedding merchandise fill the windows — but they feature Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who also married at Windsor Castle in May in a spectacular, globally televised ceremony.

Snippets of the wedding will be shown on British TV, but only one channel, ITV, is planning to provide live coverage of the proceedings.

Princess Eugenie and Mr Brooksbank are following a precedent set by Prince Harry and Meghan by inviting 1,200 members of the public to the castle grounds for a better view of the festivities.

Mr Brooksbank and Princess Eugenie have dated for many years. The couple says he got down on one knee and proposed in January during a trip to Nicaragua while the couple was visiting a spectacular lake next to a volcano.

FILE - In this Saturday, May 20, 2017 file photo, Britain's Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank arrive for the wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews at St Mark's Church in Englefield, England. Buckingham Palace said Sunday Oct. 7, 2018 there will be military fanfare and red velvet cake when Princess Eugenie marries drinks-company executive Jack Brooksbank on Friday in Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
Princess Eugenie marries drinks-company executive Jack Brooksbank on Friday in Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel. Source: Associated Press

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Australian singer Shannon Noll pleads guilty to drug charge

Singer Shannon Noll has pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in Sydney.

The 43-year-old's lawyer, Bryan Wrench, entered the plea at Sutherland Local Court today, while Noll sat outside the courtroom.

Mr Wrench asked that the charge of possessing a prohibited drug immediately proceed to sentence.

Police caught Noll with 0.53 grams of cocaine in a clear, resealable bag, according to the amended facts.

The Australian Idol 2003 runner-up arrived at court, in the rain, wearing a blue suit and tie.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 22:  Shannon Noll performs on stage at The Ettamogah Hotel on July 22, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)
Shannon Noll performs on stage at The Ettamogah Hotel. Source: Getty


The Chase viewers left ‘fuming’ after host Bradley Walsh rejects Road Runner answer

Viewers of The Chase in the UK are fuming after host Bradley Walsh rejected a contestant's answer that cartoon character Wile E Coyote chased Road Runner.

Contestant Sue was asked by Walsh during the cash building round, "Who does Wile E Coyote try to catch in the cartoon Operation Rabbit?"

Sue immediately replied: "Road Runner".

"Bugs Bunny," Walsh said, correcting her.

He continued with the next question as Sue appeared to take the mistake in her stride, but another contestant looked bemused.

The host was right that Coyote tried to catch Bugs Bunny because the question was about a specific movie in which that happened.

However outraged viewers took to Twitter, believing Road Runner was the right answer, using hashtags like "BeepBeep" and "fuming".

"I'd be fuming if I'd answered Road Runner to the question 'who does Wylie Cyote chase' and Bradley said wrong it's Bugs Bunny!!! #BeepBeep #TheChase," Laura tweeted.

Brogan Lucey wrote: "Errrrr Wile e Coyote chases the roadrunner... not bugs bunny? #thechase #fuming #beepbeep."

While Roz Thomas chimed in with: "#TheChase giving out wrong answers yet again is making me rage! I'm fuming! #BradleyWalsh @ITV"

But Simon Alcock said the consternation was largely from people who didn't actually listen to the question.

And Rik's Livetweets set the record straight, posting: "I just checked the Wile Coyote question - the question specifies a movie called "Operation Rabbit" so Bugs Bunny is the correct answer....Listen to the question #thechase."