Lifestyle & Human Interest

First Look at Actress Portraying Princess Diana in New Film 'Spencer'


Diana, Princess of Wales, still has a huge following, which is perhaps part of the reason why there’s a new movie being made about her — people around the world are still intrigued by “Princess Di” and her Mona Lisa smile. The people’s princess was a light to many, though she was also a bit mysterious.

Pablo Larraín is taking on the task of directing a film that will focus on a very specific time in Diana’s life — one that not many have chosen.

The piece will focus on three days during one of the Christmas holidays in the House of Windsor in the early 90s, when Diana’s marriage was starting to crumble.

Larraín was drawn to her story for the same reason many of us are drawn to it: The allure of the royals.

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“I’ve always been intrigued and fascinated by the royal family and how things are in that culture, which we don’t have where I come from,” Larraín told Deadline. “Diana is such a powerful icon, where millions and millions of people, not just women, but many people around the world felt empathy toward her in her life.

“We decided to get into a story about identity, and around how a woman decides somehow, not to be the queen. She’s a woman who, in the journey of the movie, decides and realizes that she wants to be the woman she was before she met Charles.”

Another reason the director decided to focus on this three-day span of time was that it has the “anti-fairytale” angle.

“We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is,” he explained. “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. 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.”

“It’s a great universal story that can reach millions and millions of people, and that’s what we want to do,” Larraín continued. “We want to make a movie that goes wide, connects with a worldwide audience that is interested in such a fascinating life.”

One of the other choices the director made that may seem unorthodox at first glance is his choice of actress to play the princess.

Kristen Stewart, who is well-known for her appearances in the Twilight vampire series, was very carefully selected by Larraín.

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“Kristen is one of the great actors around today,” he said. “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 and 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.”

And if you can’t imagine Stewart as Diana, a teaser of a photo for the film has been shared on social media. The image has convinced many that Stewart was actually an apt choice.

“I’ve seen movies from Kristen that are so diverse it’s incredible, showing different layers and her diversity and strength as an actress,” Larraín continued. “We’re very happy to have her, she’s very committed. As a filmmaker, when you have someone who can hold such a weight, dramatic and narrative weight just with her eyes, then you have the strong lead who can deliver what we are looking for.”

The film is slated to begin production early this year.

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