One of the most buzzed-about films of 2021 is Spencer, an unconventional biopic of Princess Diana starring Kristen Stewart. The film hits theaters on Nov. 5 from the production company Neon, and the film focuses on three days of Diana's life as she realizes that her marriage to Prince Charles is truly over.
"The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen's Sandringham Estate," reads the film's official description. "There's eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different."
Playing A Princess
Kristen Stewart has spoken at length about the care and consideration she put into playing the People's Princess. Speaking to The Los Angeles Times, following the film's North American premiere at Telluride, Stewart shared that she felt some "spooky, spiritual feelings making this movie." The actress added, "Even if I was just fantasizing. I felt like there were moments where I kind of got the sign-off."
"[Diana] felt so alive to me when I was making this movie, even if it's all between the ears and it was just a fantasy of mine. But there were moments where my body and mind would forget she was dead," Stewart told the L.A. Times. "It was ... a fight to keep her alive every day, and so remembering that she was dead was just absolutely lacerating. It just destroyed me constantly. And that itself felt spiritual ... there were times where I was like, 'Oh, God,' almost like she was, you know, trying to breakthrough. It was weird. And amazing. I've never felt anything like it in my life."prevnext
A Fictional Account
Director Pablo Larraín, best known for directing Natalie Portman in Jackie, explained that the film was a fictionalized account of real events, likening the film to a "fable" in its tone and intent. "It's the only way to do it. You have to start with things that are real, and that's why, before the movie starts, you can read on the screen that it says it's a fable from a true tragedy," Larraín told Buzzfeed News. "Many things are real facts — the context, the events that actually did happen. But once you are inside, once the doors are closed, all you have is a sort of fiction and we just imagine how could that be, but always understanding that we're not doing a documentary. We're doing a fable."prevnext
Stewart also has some high-profile co-stars filling out the cast. Poldark's Jack Farthing plays Prince Charles, and veteran character actors like Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, and Mission: Impossible's Sean Harris round out the ensemble.prevnext
The Importance of Motherhood
Stewart explained in an interview that she felt that she got the "strongest impressions" of who Diana was as a person when she was exploring her role as a mother to William and Harry. ""t was the only thing in her life that felt sure. She wanted to feel unconditional about something. Her strength, power, and feral, unstoppable force of nature really came out when she was with her kids, because she wasn't very good at protecting herself, but she was very good at protecting them," Stewart told the audience at the Toronto International Film Festival. "As an outsider, I could feel it. That, I wanted to protect, and that was a scarier aspect of making the movie because if you don't get that right, you don't get her right."prevnext
An Awards Contender
While most people know Stewart from her role as Bella Swan in the Twilight franchise, hopefully, Spencer will give the broader public a better sense of what she can do as an actress. Stewart is already earning rave reviews, particularly with how well she nailed Diana's accent. Stewart called it "so distinct and particular," telling InStyle in October 2020 that "the accent is intimidating as all hell."
Mastering that accent has certainly made Stewart one to watch in this year's awards season, with many expecting It to be a two-horse race between her and Lady Gaga for House of Gucci. Academy Award winner Kristen Stewart certainly has a nice ring to it.prevnext
Stewart admitted that she felt a real connection with Diana, despite her reservations for taking on the role. "I have experienced people kind of wanting to come in, but there is no comparison to this particular woman, in terms of that fervent desire to have her and know her," Stewart told Entertainment Weekly. "I knew even before I read the script. I was like, 'You're not going to say no to this, because who would you be in that case?' I absolutely would have felt like such a coward. Especially given that I'm such an outsider. I'm not from the U.K., I don't have any particular investment in the royal family. So I was kind of this really clean slate, and then could absorb her in a way that actually felt very instinctive, you know?"prev