Charlie’s Angels star Kristen Stewart has signed on to play Princess Diana in director Pablo Larraín’s new film, Spencer.
The film, written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, imagines a weekend in the early 1990s when Prince Charles’ wife decided her marriage to the heir to the throne wasn’t working.
Production is expected to begin in early 2021 and the film is expected to be one of the hot ticket packages up for grabs at the virtual Cannes Market.
Larrain, who previously enjoyed success with the biopics Jackie and Neruda, will also produce the film.
The Chilean filmmaker accepts he might be considered an odd choice to direct a film about Princess Diana, but he insists he’s perfect, telling Deadline, “We all grew up reading and understanding what a fairytale is. Usually, the prince comes and finds the princess, invites her to become his wife and eventually she becomes queen. That is the fairytale. When someone decides not to be the queen, and says, I’d rather go and be myself, it’s a big big decision, a fairytale 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.”
And the director can’t wait to turn Stewart into Diana, calling the Twilight star “one of the great actors around today”.
“Kristen can be many things, and she can be very mysterious and very fragile and ultimately very strong as well, which is what we need,” Larrain adds. “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 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.”
He continues: “It’s a very energetic and beautiful script by Steven Knight, whose work I have admired for years. It captures what I have always found and that is an enormous amount of beauty in the power of Diana. When she had the stage of the world and what she had to say in her own story and how strong she could be when she needed to transform herself into something different, to find her own path. It’s a romantic story of a woman going through difficult times who finds the light and the solution.
“She died years after where our story is set and so we don’t deal with that. It’s only three days of her life and in that very small amount of time, you’re able to get into a wider, bigger perspective of who she was. We all know her fate, what happened to her, and we don’t need to go there. We’ll stay in this more intimate space where she could express where she wants to go and who she wants to be.”