Pablo Larraín Explains How ‘Spencer’ Connects to His Natalie Portman-Starring Film ‘Jackie’

Spencer generated viral hype overnight. The visually appealing poster hooked viewers in for the trailer that hit the Internet soon after. Princess Diana is the subject of Spencer. It’s currently on the festival circuit. The movie made its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, but will also screen at the Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. However, the director also worked on 2016’s Jackie, starring Natalie Portman.

‘Spencer’ is a movie for mom

Jackie follows the title character, Jackie Kennedy, who’s played by Natalie Portman. The film follows her during her days as the First Lady, as everything begins to unravel when her husband, John F. Kennedy, is assassinated. The film also made its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.

Larraín sat down with Indiewire to talk about his upcoming film, Spencer. He wanted to make the film for a specific person. “Basically, I wanted to make a movie that Mom could like,” Larraín explained. “Somehow, despite the enormous distances between these women, I always felt that my mother was very interested in this story, and was somehow influenced by her — like millions of people around the world. Then I wondered why Diana had created such a level of empathy. It’s a very complex answer.”

Larraín has a clear interest in taking legendary figures and digging into what makes them icons. Diana has certainly influenced people around the world in various ways, which is what intrigued the filmmaker.

How ‘Spencer’ compares to ‘Jackie’

Pablo Larraín and Kristen Stewart at the world premiere of 'Spencer'
Pablo Larraín and Kristen Stewart | Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Spencer and Jackie both explore iconic figures, but do so without necessarily trying to capture historical accuracy. Both films are essentially about the humanity of their subjects, which is drawing some comparisons between the two biopics.

“They’re both about key 20th-century women linked to powerful families — and they both managed to have their own identities and deal with the media in a particular way,” Larraín said. “But I think if Jackie is about memory and grief, Spencer is about identity and motherhood. It works in a different psychological spectrum, which leads to a different type of cinematic exercise.”

Larraín expressed that the two films tackle different themes. However, the title characters from both movies seek to protect themselves and their children from huge internal and external pressures. Larraín continued: “Diana created such a level of empathy because she was just normal and smiled in this organic way in a world where most of the things we see feel fake.”

A new slate


‘Spencer’ vs. ‘The Crown’: First Looks of Elizabeth Debicki and Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana

There has been a wide variety of media centered around Princess Diana. However, Larraín doesn’t want to add to the historical dramas that seek accuracy. Rather, he wants to embrace the royal family’s mysterious qualities and expand on them. Spencer and Jackie both explore the ways that these public figures handled the media. There’s a plethora of substance when it comes to exploring the themes of identity and motherhood under that umbrella.

Spencer opens with the announcement that the story is a “fable from a true tragedy,” which excuses it from historical accuracies. Audiences will naturally bring preconceived knowledge to the movie, but they’re being told to set that information aside. Larraín is an experienced filmmaker, who is very capable and confident.

Spencer hits theaters on Nov. 5.