To mark the start of production on Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer,” Neon has released a first look image of Kristen Stewart in character as Princess Diana. The movie, which features a script by “Locke” screenwriter and “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, is set over the course of a single weekend in Diana’s life as she spends the Christmas holiday with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. The film tracks Diana’s emotional journey as she comes to a decision to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.
The official “Spencer” synopsis from Neon reads: “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.”
Neon also adds: “Larraín’s creative team includes Director of Photography Claire Mathon (‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’), Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran (Academy award-winner for ‘Little Women’), Make Up and Hair Designer Wakana Yoshihara (‘Murder On The Orient Express’)and Guy Hendrix Dyas (Academy Award nominee for ‘Passengers’ and ‘Inception’) is the Production Designer. Composing the original score is Academy Award, BAFTA and Grammy Award nominee, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood (‘You Were Never Really Here,’ ‘Phantom Thread’).”
Larraín, who has a history of directing powerful historical dramas (see “No,” “Jackie,” and “Neruda”), is filming “Spencer” in Germany and the United Kingdom. The director sung the praises of Stewart last year when the actress’ casting as Diana was first announced, just ahead of Neon nabbing distribution rights to the movie in a deal north of $4 million.
“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.”
Stewart told InStyle last fall that she was working hard to nail Diana’s accent and that it was an ongoing challenge. “The accent is intimidating as all hell because people know that voice, and it’s so, so distinct and particular,” Stewart said. “I’m working on it now and already have my dialect coach.”
Neon and Topic Studios are eyeing an autumn 2021 release launch for “Spencer,” just ahead of the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death in 2022. Check out the full first look of Stewart in character in the photo below.