Deadline is exclusively reporting that Kristen Stewart has signed up to star as Princess Diana in the upcoming drama Spencer, which is written by Steven Knight and will be directed by Pablo Larraín.
The drama covers a critical weekend in the early ’90s, when Diana decided her marriage to Prince Charles wasn’t working, and that she needed to veer from a path that put her in line to one day be Queen. The drama takes place over three days, in one of her final Christmas holidays in the House of Windsor in their Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.
Pablo Larraín released a statement to Deadline, saying:
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. 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. How and why do you decide to do that? 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.
Speaking about casting Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, Larraín added:
Kristin is one of the great actors around today. To do this well, you need something very important in film, which is mystery. Kristin 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. I’ve seen movies from Kristin 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 also added why he wanted to do the project, saying:
I’ve always been intrigued and fascinated by the Royal Family and how things are in that culture, which we don’t have where I come from. 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. 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. That’s why the movie is called Spencer, which is the family name she had before she met Charles. It’s very contained, set over a few days in Sandringham. They spent Christmas there for many years and that’s where we set the movie in the early ‘90s, around 1992, we’re not specific. It’s Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing Day, three days, very contained. We get to understand what it is she wants and what she will do.
The film won’t deal with Diana’s tragic death, but will examine the fraying relationship with her husband, and her love for her sons Prince William and Prince Harry. FilmNation Entertainment will be handling international sales at the upcoming Cannes virtual market, with CAA Media Finance arranging the financing for the project.