Kristen Stewart has been cast as Princess Diana in Spencer.
Directed by Pablo Larraín, the film will cover a “critical weekend” when the Princess of Wales decided that her marriage wasn’t working “and that she needed to veer from a path that put her in line to one day be queen.”
It will take place in the early 90s over three days, in one of Diana’s final Christmas holidays in the House of Windsor in their Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. According to Deadline, production will begin early 2021.
Larraín, who earned Oscar nominations for films No (2012) and Jackie (2016), said he boarded the project because he sees Diana and Charles’ fraught relationship as the antithesis of the fairytale trope.
“We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is. Usually, the prince comes and finds the princess, invites her to become his wife and eventually she becomes queen,” Larraín told Deadline.
“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.
“It’s a great universal story that can reach millions and millions of people, and that’s what we want to do. We want to make a movie that goes wide, connects with a worldwide audience that is interested in such a fascinating life.”
Larraín also called Stewart “one of the great actors around today” and said she’s perfect for the role because she can be “very mysterious and very fragile an ultimately very strong as well, which is what we need.”
“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 added.
“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.”
The directed continued to say that the film is titled after Diana’s maiden name because it’s ultimately about “finding herself, about understanding that possibly the most important for her is to be well, and to be with herself and by herself.”
Spencer’s scripted is helmed by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke, Hummingbird), with Larraín producing alongside Fabula partner Juan de Dios, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski and Paul Webster.
Princess Diana’s life previously received the biopic treatment in 2013 with Naomi Watts in the role. Although she received positive reviews for her performance, the film was critically-panned and tanked at the box office.
Since Stewart rose to fame as Bella Sawn in The Twilight Saga (2008-2012), the actress has received praise for her roles in Still Alice (2014), Clouds of Sils Maria (2015), Personal Shopper (2016) and Lizzie (2018).