Kristen Stewart will become royalty in Spencer, a film about the late Princess Diana directed by Pablo Larraín (Jackie). The plot will focus on Diana’s decision to leave Prince Charles, thus ending any chance she might have had to one day be Queen. Steven Knight, whose credits include Locke, Taboo, and…uh…Serenity, wrote the script.
Deadline has the scoop on Kristen Stewart playing Princess Diana in Spencer, revealing that the film “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.”
Diana and Charles were married in 1981, but it was by no means a storybook romance. Charles’ extramarital affairs weren’t exactly a secret, and the couple separated in 1992 and officially divorced in 1996. Diana was killed in an automobile accident a year later. There have been multiple dramatizations of this story over the years, and the next season of Netflix’s The Crown is set to cover the Diana/Charles relationship.
What makes Spencer worth noting is the talent involved. I know there are people out there who still think of Stewart as little more than “the girl from Twilight,” but she’s spent the last few years taking challenging, unconventional roles, and has grown into one of the most interesting performers working today. And then there’s the Pablo Larraín at the helm. Larraín has covered similar subject matter with the excellent 2016 film Jackie, which follows Jackie Kennedy in the days immediately following the assassination of JFK.
“We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is,” Larraín said. “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 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.”
The only wild card here is Steven Knight, who penned the script. Knight has some great stuff to his name – Locke, most notably. But he’s also responsible for the absolutely terrible curiosity Serenity, a film that found Matthew McConaughey living inside a fishing video game. Hopefully, that film was a fluke, and Knight will be back on track with Spencer.
“It’s a very energetic and beautiful script by Steven Knight,” said Larraín, adding: “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.”
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