+ The film will look at the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles
Kristen Stewart has signed up to play Princess Diana in a new biopic.
The film, titled Spencer, will take place over one specific weekend in the early Nineties – when the late royal decides to end her marriage to Prince Charles, during one of her final Christmas holidays with the royal family at their Sandringham estate.
It will be directed by Chilean director Pablo Larraín, known for his work on the critically acclaimed 2016 Jackie Kennedy biopic, Jackie, starring Natalie Portman.
“We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is,” Larrain said. “Usually, the prince comes and finds the princess, invites her to become his wife and eventually she becomes queen. That is the fairy tale. When someone decides not to be the queen, and says, I’d rather go and be myself, it’s a big big decision, a fairy tale upside down. I’ve always been very surprised by that and thought it must have been very hard to do. That is the heart of the movie.” Naturally parallels will be drawn between this thread and the more current storyline currently playing out in the media with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, following their decision to step down as senior royals (albeit, this time, as a couple).
The director explained that Stewart was ultimately chosen for the lead role of Diana thanks to her ability to be equally fragile and strong – with an air of mystery.
“Kristen is one of the great actors around today,” he said. “To do this well, you need something very important in film, which is mystery. Kristen can be many things, and she can be very mysterious and very fragile an ultimately very strong as well, which is what we need. The combination of those elements made me think of her. The way she responded to the script and how she is approaching the character, it’s very beautiful to see. I think she’s going to do something stunning and intriguing at the same time. She is this force of nature.”
He continued: “I’ve seen movies from Kristen that are so diverse it’s incredible, showing different layers and her diversity and strength as an actress. We’re very happy to have her, she’s very committed. As a filmmaker, when you have someone who can hold such a weight, dramatic and narrative weight just with her eyes, then you have the strong lead who can deliver what we are looking for.”
Larraín finished by explaining that ultimately, Spencer will be a film about identity.
“Diana is such a powerful icon, where millions and millions of people, not just women, but many people around the world felt empathy toward her in her life,” he said. “We decided to get into a story about identity, and around how a woman decides somehow, not to be the queen. She’s a woman who, in the journey of the movie, decides and realises that she wants to be the woman she was before she met Charles.
“It’s about finding herself, about understanding that possibly the most important thing for her is to be well, and to be with herself and by herself.”
Production on Spencer is due to begin in early 2021.