Twilight star Kristen Stewart continues to show off her striking resemblance as Princess Diana in a new image from director Pablo Larraín’s upcoming drama, Spencer, as production on the movie moves to the UK for the final stretch of filming. Along with the new image of Stewart as Lady Di comes the announcement that Poldark star Jack Farthing will portray Prince Charles. Farthing joins a cast which includes Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper, Clouds of Sils Maria), BAFTA Award nominee Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner, The Party), Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, Paddington) and Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Prometheus).
Rather than being a straight-forward biopic, Spencer will instead focus on a specific time in Princess Diana’s life, which has been described as “a critical weekend in the early ’90s when Diana decided her marriage to Prince Charles wasn’t working.” Taking place over three days in one of her final Christmas holidays in the House of Windsor in their Sandringham estate, Spencer sees Diana veer from a path that put her in line to one day be queen. December, 1991: The Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage has long since grown cold. Though rumours of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. This year, things will be a whole lot different.
Famously, Princess Diana married Prince Charles in 1981, with the couple divorcing in 1996. The sordid details of their relationship became highly publicized all over the world, and tragically, after walking away from royal responsibilities, the former Princess of Wales was killed in a devastating car crash in Paris in 1997, which occurred while she was attempting to flee from the paparazzi. While this event is unlikely to be shown in Spencer, the inevitability of Princess Diana’s untimely death will likely cloud the movie in an ominous sorrow.
Stewart has previously discussed her approach to playing such an iconic public figure, “Spencer is a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life. It is a physical assertion of the sum of her parts, which starts with her given name; Spencer. It is a harrowing effort for her to return to herself, as Diana strives to hold onto what the name Spencer means to her.”
Spencer is directed by Pablo Larraín (Jackie, Neruda) and written by Steven Knight (Locke, Peaky Blinders). The movie is produced by Juan de Dios Larraín (Jackie, A Fantastic Woman, Gloria) for Fabula Films, Jonas Dornbach and Janine Jackowski (A Fantastic Woman) for Komplizen Film and BAFTA award winner and Academy award nominee Paul Webster (Anna Karenina, Atonement) for Shoebox Films.
Larraín has offered some insight into his approach to Spencer, describing the movie as an upside-down fairy-tale, and highlighting the unprecedented nature of Diana’s approach to royalty and the institution of the royal family. “We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is,” he 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, big decision, a fairy-tale upside down.”
Filming on Spencer has so far been taking place in Germany but will now move to the UK before wrapping. While the movie does not yet have an official release date, an autumn 2021 launch is anticipated. 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death.