Director Stephen Frears considered casting Love Actually funnyman Bill Nighy as British royal Prince Philip in new movie THE QUEEN, but feared the film would become too much of a comedy if he did. Speaking at an American Cinematheque screening of the acclaimed movie in Santa Monica, California on Saturday (02DEC06), the celebrated moviemaker confessed Babe star James Cromwell wasn't his first choice to play the DUKE OF EDINBURGH. He revealed he thought about casting Nighy as the royal after watching the actor at a party, but later decided, "It (the film) would have been like a burlesque." The movie stars DAME Helen Mirren as Philip's wife Queen Elizabeth II.