Update, June 27: Neon has picked up U.S. distribution rights to “Spencer” in a deal worth north of $4 million. Deadline first reported the news.
Original: Pablo Larraín is returning to “Jackie” territory in his next feature, “Spencer.” The biographical drama is set to star Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana and will be unveiled at the upcoming Cannes market. The project now joins James Gray’s star-studded “Armageddon Time” as one of the market’s hottest titles for sale. “Spencer” was written by Steven Knight and, per Deadline, “covers a critical weekend in the early 1990s 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.”
Production on “Spencer” is being eyed for early 2021. The movie “takes place over three days” and centers around one of Diana’s “final Christmas holidays in the House of Windsor at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.” CAA Media Finance is set to handle U.S. distribution sales of “Spencer” at the Cannes market, while FilmNation Entertainment will represent the international rights.
“Kristen is one of the great actors around today,” Larraín said to Deadline. “To do this well, you need something very important in film, which is mystery. Kristen 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.”
“Spencer” will not cover Diana’s tragic death and will instead “examine the fraying of the relationship with her husband, and her ferocious love for her sons Prince William and Prince Harry.”
“It’s only three days of her life,” Larraín said, “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.”
Larraín’s 2016 drama “Jackie” cast Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, which was similar in how it focused on a historic character over a finite period of time. Portman was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress. Stewart has experience playing real-life figures thanks to her acclaimed turn as Jean Seberg in the Amazon-backed drama “Seberg.”
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