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Prince Harry joins video call with co-stars of new Netflix documentary about the Paralympics

Prince Harry has said he hopes his new Netflix documentary about the Paralympics is ‘aspirational’ for people ‘no matter how hard life is’ in a new video call with his co-stars. 

The Duke of Sussex, 35, who is currently living in a $14 million mansion in Santa Barbara, has a starring role in a new Netflix documentary Rising Phoenix, which was released on Wednesday, and shares the history and stories behind the Paralympic Games. 

He joined a video call with athletes who appear in the documentary earlier this week and, in a clip which aired by the Today programme yesterday, said: ‘Your stories, the strength you guys show, is incredible. And I think that needs to be seen more, that needs to be shown more to get rid of stereotypes and preconceptions.

‘The hope is that people will watch this film and think “No matter how hard my live is, how hard a day or week can be, this is what I aspire to”.’  

The new documentary on Netflix called Rising Phoenix has already received so much coverage. Harry has been involved with the documentary from the very beginning and feature in it. The American morning show, Today shared an exclusive video of Harry talking to some individuals who also feature in the documentary ✨🎥. Even the French President, Emmanuel Macron is talking about it on twitter! ‘Rising Phoenix’ shares the history and stories behind the Paralympic Games. This is perfect considering his role with the Invictus Games! Very proud🧡. He is the founder of the @weareinvictusgames. Harry featured in the trailer, saying: “There isn’t anything else in the world that can bring you back from the darkest places than sport. Yes, lives are being changed on the track,” he adds later. “But lives are also being changed on the stands.” This month should have seen the ending of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, as well as the beginning of the Paralympics. On August 26, the Paralympics would have started if not for the pandemic. #meghanmarkle #duchessofsussex #royalfamily #britishroyals #royals #princeharry

A post shared by Meghan (fan page) (@_duchess_of_sussex) on Aug 28, 2020 at 1:20am PDT

In the film, the Duke of Sussex exalts the success of the London Paralympics, claiming that many people thought the event would be ‘a failure.’

He said: ‘A lot of people, based on what they’d been told, thought it was going to be a failure and that they weren’t going to be able to sell tickets.’

He added: ‘The stadiums were packed. The sport was incredible. And what they saw was undoubtedly better than the Olympics themselves.’

Meanwhile he continued: ‘For me and for so many people out there especially young kids to see individuals like that go on and achieve what they have achieved…

‘No amount of books that you read or teaching or class that you can have is going to give you the same inspiration as being able to watch something that you have been told is impossible.’

The Duke later hailed the significance of sport in changing lives, saying of the stadiums: ‘There’s thousands of seats there that could change those people’s lives because don’t forget, yes lives are being changed on the track but lives are also being changed in the stands as well.’

Meanwhile the royal also added some final comments to the film’s finale, and spoke of his admiration for Sir Ludwig Guttmann, who established the Paralympic Games in England.

He said:  ‘Sir Ludwig’s vision has not really been completed because still those that are referred to as being disabled are not being encouraged or not being accepted back into the society at large.

‘What Sir Ludwig was trying to do back then is needed more now than it’s ever been.’    

Appearing in the film, the Duke can be seen wearing a relaxed green shirt and a pair of simple grey jeans and reclines on a green sofa as he speaks from within a studio space. 

The sporting subject of the documentary is a passion of Prince Harry’s, with the royal setting up the Invictus Games in 2014. 

Co-director Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui said the Duke had been passionate about the subject matter, with the producers ‘keen’ to get the royal involved.

Peter told The Mirror that they had been wary about including celebrity commentators in the film who were not involved directly with the issues in the documentary.

He said: ‘Obviously we can’t say no to the Duke of Sussex and we were worried that it would be someone commentating on the games but his passion and his intelligence about this subject was so vivid and immediate that there was no danger of him being just like a celeb commentator.’ 

Meanwhile he added that the Duke has a ‘deep fellow feeling for people who have come through a trauma’ and who have ‘shown resilience and humanity.’ 

Ian added that Prince Harry’s comments were among the most powerful in the film, and said he became ‘quite angry’ when discussing how Paralympic Games creator Sir Ludwig Guttmann had not yet achieved his dream. 

Ian said: ‘He has some of his people telling him that he has to do it a certain way but you can really see the fire and that’s why we used that because it really was the way we wanted to finish the film.’

The Duke follows in the footsteps of Meghan Markle, 39,  with the move to documentary work coming after the Duchess offered a voiceover for a Disney film earlier this year. 

Production company HTYT Films confirmed the Duke did not receive a fee for his appearance in Rising Phoenix. 

Rumors of Harry and Meghan seeking to gain a foothold in Hollywood have run rampant ever since the couple announced their plans to quit as senior royals, seek financial independence and move to North America in January. 

Meghan’s first post-Megxit job in showbiz was as a narrator of the Disney Plus docuseries Elephants, which came out in April. 

The 39-year-old Los Angeles native nabbed the job after Harry bragged about her voice-over skills to Disney chairman Bob Iger at the London premiere of The Lion King live-action remake last summer. 

Her fee for the project went entirely to the Elephants Without Borders charity – an organization dedicated to conserving wildlife and helps protect the animals from poaching.   

The film’s release comes after reports emerged Prince Harry and Meghan are quietly shopping a top secret project to network executives as they settle into their new life in Hollywood.

Sources told Variety that the former royal couple began pitching their idea to ‘numerous’ media companies back in June, around the time that they purchased a sprawling estate in Santa Barbara.  

Very few details are known about the project, including the concept behind it and whether it would be a TV series or some other format.  

However, one source with knowledge of the idea said Harry and Meghan intend to serve as joint producers on the venture should it get picked up.  

Last year Harry announced that he was partnering with Oprah Winfrey on on an Apple TV+ docuseries about mental health. 

Shortly after the Duke and Duchess announced their intention to step back from royal duty, a senior Netflix executive said the streaming giant would like to work with them. 

Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January that the streaming giant would like to work with Harry and Meghan, adding: ‘Who wouldn’t be interested? Yes, sure.’ 

The decision to work with Netflix is also a move reminiscent of former President Barack Obama and his lawyer wife Michelle. 

In January, sources confirmed the couple had discussed their plans with the Obamas and wanted to mimic the way they had managed to build a successful, but dignified, life for themselves after the White House.

Since leaving the White House, the Obamas have earned a small fortune by selling rights to their autobiographies and setting up their own production company, which has bagged a lucrative deal with Netflix. 

After stepping down as senior royals, Meghan and Harry signed with New York-based Harry Walker Agency in June, which represents the Obamas and the Clintons. 

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