The film is set over three days during the 1991 Christmas holidays at Sandringham. It offers a glimpse of Diana’s innermost thoughts, turmoil and feelings during the time ahead of her separation from Prince Charles.
Described as “a fable from true tragedy”, the film explores the director, Pablo Larraín’s, imagining chronicles of what might have happened over those fateful days.
Larraín explains: “We all grew up understanding what a fairytale is, but Diana Spencer changed the paradigm, and the idealised icons that pop culture creates, forever. This is the story of a Princess who decided not to become a queen, but chose to build her identity by herself. It’s an upside-down fairytale.”
Creating such a character-driven film, it was essential to cast “the perfect Diana”. For Larraín, he found his perfect cast match in Kristen Stewart.
“Kristen Stewart is one of the great actors around today. She is where she is now because she has something very important in film, which is mystery. Kristen can be many things; she can be very mysterious, very fragile and ultimately very strong as well, which is what we needed.”
For Stewart, she felt like she got to know Diana through her research and found some similarities to her life that she could relate too.
“I’ve felt extremely out of control in certain periods of my life, and that is a defining factor of her life. She must have been aware that people were always staring at her, and I’ve tasted that, I know what that feels like,” Stewart explains.
“As soon as I got to understand her and build a relationship with her through my research, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to love her.”
Larraín’s instinct paid off. Stewart has received overwhelming acknowledgment for her role, as the late princess. To date Stewart has been nominated for 23 awards and has received the Spotlight award at the Palm Springs International Festival and received the Best Actress nod at the Sunset Film Circle Awards.
It is anticipated that the film, and Stewart in particular, will receive some award attention in the coming award season, which may include a Golden Globe and even an Oscar nomination.
Other noteworthy performances in the film include Sally Hawkins (Maggie), Jack Farthing (Charles), Timothy Spall (Major Alistar Gregory) and Sean Harris as Darren.
See ‘Spencer’ at select cinemas from 16 December 2021.
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