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Director Beatrice Borromeo Casiraghi on The King Who Never Was – The Hollywood Reporter



The King Who By no means Was, a three-episode docuseries on Netflix, focuses on a tragic occasion in August 1978 that shocked Europe and stays a thriller to at the present time. It occurred whereas Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, the final inheritor to the Italian throne, was vacationing at his summer time residence on the island of Cavallo, France, on the southern coast of Corsica, only a quick distance from Italy. In his rage at a gaggle of “intruding” Italian celebration goers spending the night time on their boats on the shores of Cavallo, Victor Emmanuel produced a rifle and shot a younger German vacationer, Dirk Hamer, sleeping on the deck of one of many boats.  

The docuseries, directed by Beatrice Borromeo Casiraghi — who’s married to Pierre Casiraghi, the final of the three youngsters of Caroline of Monaco — reconstructs what occurred that scorching August night time by way of interviews with eyewitnesses who recount how the exiled prince turned very indignant as a result of a gaggle of “noisy boys” borrowed the dinghy from his yacht to dock on the mainland. The prince doesn’t deny capturing his rifle, however he claims it was a second gun that shot 19-year-old Dirk Hamer, who finally died from his accidents months later.

Victor Emmanuel was acquitted of homicide prices in November 1991 by the Paris Courtroom of Assizes and sentenced solely to 6 months in jail for illegally carrying his firearm, used exterior his house. His authorized protection claimed it couldn’t be confirmed certainly that it was Victor Emmanuel’s rifle that fired the lethal shot. It was a prolonged courtroom battle tirelessly led to by Dirk’s sister, Birgit Hamer, who was additionally within the boat with him that tragic night time and was devastated by the decision.

Casiraghi’s subsequent bold undertaking is to make The Crown about her new household: The Grimaldis of the Principality of Monaco, the longest-living royal household in Europe. “My company Astrea Films is producing the film about the seizure of the fortress of Monaco by the Grimaldi family in the Middle Ages,” Borromeo reveals.

THR Roma spoke with Casiraghi about why she selected to revisit the occasions of 1978 with The King Who By no means Was, Birgit Hamer’s years-long effort to uncover the reality and her private connection to the story.

Returning to the current, how lengthy did it take to make The King Who By no means Was?

About two and a half years. I informed myself that my story can be an previous story that ought to be set proper. A narrative that also has an amazing influence on the current. The truth that Birgit’s daughters had been nonetheless trapped in it. These are waves of a distant historical past that proceed to interrupt over us in the present day. I questioned why? The reply in my view is that when the reality doesn’t come out, the harm continues. Till issues are put proper.

You mentioned you now hope to have closed a painful chapter in your life. Why?

This story was a part of my childhood as a result of my mom, Paola Marzotto, was one among Birgit’s closest associates. It was part of my household for so long as I can bear in mind. It was an affair that was talked about at house, even with a sure feeling of helplessness concerning the information, about what had occurred, concerning the impunity that hovered round Vittorio Emanuele. I feel it was one of many tales that made me select to turn into a journalist.

By filming the collection did you uncover one thing you didn’t know?

So many issues. There was a whole lot of confusion round this story. Placing the items collectively was new, even in my home. Birgit herself came upon a whole lot of issues she didn’t know. I imagine that creating confusion and procrastination was the protection technique of the Prince’s attorneys. The entire phantom shooter principle, the reconstruction of the boats, the ballistic examinations that confirmed that it couldn’t be ascertained one hundred pc that the bullet got here from the Prince’s rifle. They by no means proved that it was not him, which was additionally reiterated to me by his lawyer’s son, who has since died, by sending me the protection papers.

A protection put forth by the Marina Doria (Victor Emmanuel’s spouse)?

She is the nice protagonist, though the documentary is about Vittorio Emanuele. The collection has two nice feminine protagonists: Birgit Hamer and Marina Doria. Ladies who employed the identical tenacity and willpower to attain two reverse ends.They’re the driving forces behind every little thing that has occurred, for higher or for worse….

Why didn’t Marina Doria ever present herself on digicam?

I used to be solely capable of interview her on audio as a result of she was acutely aware of her age and didn’t wish to have her face filmed. We got here shut a number of instances, however I couldn’t persuade her. In the long run, nevertheless, she determined to take part.

Did her son, Emanuele Filiberto, assist her?

He was instrumental. He helped me a lot in approaching his dad and mom, in creating the context by which it was potential to speak, to pay attention to one another and to inform every little thing. Along with his mom, since she was not nicely, he was the one, technically, who interviewed her with my questions. He additionally helped with the retrieval of personal supplies: house motion pictures of household associates who spent the summer time using horses, shot on the time in Tremendous 8. She was very cooperative. I’m satisfied that he did this in order that by coping with this matter himself, the “case” may very well be closed and resolved. And perhaps not fall again on his daughters, who won’t should endure every little thing that has occurred to him prior to now 50 years.

What was his response when he noticed the completed product?

I despatched him the collection two days earlier than it aired, insisting on this to Netflix. It was necessary to me that he had time to attract his personal conclusions earlier than the media hype. I attempted to work exhausting, to not be biased, I wished to get his opinion. He informed me that clearly there have been many components he didn’t like, however that he discovered it a balanced documentary.

Are you continue to on good phrases?

When he noticed the documentary, he wrote to me, “We are still friends…” With plenty of ellipses.

Did the eyewitnesses to the unhappy affair do every little thing they may to assist Birgit?

Now they did. They actually made themselves accessible. They offered the reminiscences, the supplies of their possession and expressed their reality. Although it was the primary time in over 40 years.

If it had been one of many “peers” who was killed, as an alternative of Dirk Hamer, would issues have turned out in a different way?

I feel that in any context the place the state is absent, and there’s a main failure of the system, the distinction is made by the means and skills of individuals to proceed their very own battle for justice. Clearly, within the group that night time, Birgit and Dirk had been the weakest. By way of social safety and means. Actually not in temperament, as a result of Birgit went on her complete life … she by no means gave up. I don’t know what number of different individuals would have been capable of by no means let go.

Among the many witnesses is your mom. What was it wish to interview her?

I requested Marco Ponti to interview her; I couldn’t do it myself. Since this can be a story we talked about a lot, I knew it will be not possible for her to inform it to me as if it had been the primary time. With out taking issues without any consideration, with out flights of fancy, with out utilizing the identical phrases as at all times. When tales turn into so intimate and acquainted, you virtually at all times inform them in the identical phrases. I sat subsequent to Marco, who requested her his personal questions and mine. It turned out to be an excellent interview, I feel. Which additionally truthfully reveals my mom’s attachment to this story.

What did your mom say to you concerning the documentary when she noticed it?

She was glad, she preferred it.

The place did you interview the Victor Emanuele?

In Gstaad, Switzerland. The identical chalet the place he went on the eve of Dirk Hamer’s dying, after managing to go away Corsica.

Are you able to inform us the behind-the-scenes story of the interview? What and who was in that room?

There was Emanuele Filiberto on a close-by couch, coming and going. His spouse greeted us all, like an amazing hostess, after which left. She reappeared on the finish of the interview. It was a chalet that informed of a dynasty, fairly than a household. Vittorio Emanuele sat underneath the saber of … I can’t bear in mind if it was Vittorio Emanuele II or his father. He took us to see the bell that he had gone to inaugurate on the day of his arrest, after they took him proper from the church. They took him to Potenza within the Panda. That extraordinary story induced me hours of laughter within the modifying. He informed all of it.

The well-known journey whereas underneath arrest throughout which he needed to pay for gasoline and every little thing else.

He needed to pay for the meals and the beers, however the level was how he informed the story. Vittorio Emanuele remodeled earlier than our eyes into many various characters. And he did it in a really bodily means, along with his physique language. When he talked about his father he cowered, within the place a baby takes when he’s scolded or grounded. Or when he recounted being left alone throughout holidays at boarding faculty. This half I didn’t edit. I wished to convey out his unaffectionate childhood, however with out hurting him. I additionally didn’t wish to victimize him.

Interview edited for size and readability.

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