Prince Harry unwitting star of French comedy

Prince Harry unwitting star of French comedy
Photo: Screengrab from the trailer "Connasse: Princesse des coeurs"
A French actress climbed the gates of Kensington Palace in high heels, interrupted the changing of the guard and spent two nights in a British jail as she secretly filmed a comedy about a Parisian desperate to marry Britain's Prince Harry.

The movie 'Connasse: Princesse des coeurs' ('The Parisian bitch') has seen long queues outside French cinemas as over 500,000 rushed to see the comedy –  filmed entirely by hidden camera – in its first week, according to film distributor Gaumont.

The story revolves around an insufferable Parisian woman, played by Camille Cottin, who has just turned 30 and decided she is sick of using public transport, paying taxes or any of the daily grind faced by mere mortals.

Shamelessly speaking her mind at every turn she heads for London to marry – what the film's blurb describes as "the last bachelor prince who is not deformed (even if he is a redhead) and who is the right age: Prince Harry."

Faced with cars driving the wrong way, the curious English tradition of chit-chatting about the weather and a complete incomprehension of basic manners, the would-be royal has her task cut out for her as she hunts down the real-life prince and fifth in line to the throne.

To get the sketches she needed for the film, Cottin was prepared to go to any lengths, such as climbing the gate of Kensington Palace.

She expected this to be the hardest part, but it proved much easier than she thought.

"I was afraid of being arrested before even putting a toe on the gate and it would go belly up because visually that isn't very funny," she told cinema website Allocine.

"But I stayed there for 10 minutes yelling 'Harry, Harry' – the police didn't hear anything."

When they did arrive, demanding she get down, she asks them: "Can you open the door? I need to fetch Harry."

And, as she and the directors had hoped, she was eventually dragged off to the police station.

The actress spent a second night in prison after striding into the middle of the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace as her character tries to prove she could work as their choreographer in a bid to win Harry's heart.

"Who is the choreographer who told you to do this crap," she yells while striding between the horses in what her directors described as one of the most difficult scenes to set up.


Banned from changing of the guard

Fearful of being stopped from filming any more scenes, she told the police she was acting out a dare for a bachelorette party.

"But I am now banned from the Horse Guards in London," she told news website Metronews.

Her character hires a real etiquette coach — who she tests to the limits by demanding a straw to drink her tea — and even steals a panicked dogwalker's corgi in an effort to win over her future mother-in-law.

Cottin is well-known in her home country for her "Bitch" mini-series starring the same obnoxious character doing hidden camera sketches around Paris.

Her film, the first of its kind in France, has received mixed reviews with some raving about a "breath of fresh air" in French cinema while others say her bid to transfer her sketch format to the big screen falls flat.

The movie is currently out in Switzerland and Belgium where it has received "very good results" and it will be presented to foreign buyers at the Cannes film festival next week, Cecile Gaget, head of Gaumont, told AFP.

Cottin said she was obliged to show the movie to British lawyers who "loved it".

But it is unclear whether the prince is even aware he is starring in the movie.

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