The fall movie season is jam-packed with eye-opening actor transformations, from Jessica Chastain in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” to Jared Leto in “House of Gucci,” but few are more anticipated than Kristen Stewart becoming Princess Diana for “Spencer.” The biographical drama is the latest directorial effort from Pablo Larraín, who directed Natalie Portman to an Oscar nomination for playing Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the acclaimed “Jackie.” Can Larraín do the same for Stewart? Oscar pundits will be watching closely when the movie world premieres at the Venice Film Festival next month.
The official “Spencer” synopsis from Neon and Topic Studios reads: “December, 1991: The Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage has long since grown cold. Though rumors 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.”
“It’s only three days of her life,” Larraín previously told Deadline about the movie’s structure, “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.”
Joining Stewart in the cast is Jack Farthing as Prince Charles, plus Timothy Spall (“Mr. Turner,” “The Party“), Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water, “ “Paddington“), and Sean Harris (“Mission: Impossible – Fallout, “ “Prometheus“).
Why tackle one of the most iconic British royals in history? In an interview with InStyle magazine last year, Stewart said she remains “viscerally affected” by images of Princess Diana’s funeral, which she remembers watching as a child. “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. In terms of research, I’ve gotten through two and a half biographies, and I’m finishing all the material before I actually go make the movie. It’s one of the saddest stories to exist ever, and I don’t want to just play Diana — I want to know her implicitly. I haven’t been this excited about playing a part, by the way, in so long.”
Neon will open “Spencer” in theaters later this year. Watch the official trailer for the biographical drama in the video below.