‘Spencer’: Kristen Stewart Was ‘Revived’ by the Film’s Director

Spencer is a biopic about the late Princess Diana. Directed by Pablo Larraín, it stars Kristen Stewart in the role of the iconic Princess Diana. The movie itself covers a time before her death, in which she decided to file for divorce from Prince Charles. Diana, even two decades after her tragic death, still fascinates and haunts the world.

Kristen Stewart smiling in front of a marina
Kristen Stewart | Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

As details about her personal struggles and her family came out before and after her death, the world over wanted to know her story. Spencer tells the story of a long weekend over Christmas in which the royal marriage finally fell apart. Kristen Stewart opens up about playing the iconic and tragic royal.

Stewart knows she can’t play the part perfectly

Per her own words, Stewart says that she would never be able to play the role of Princess Diana perfectly, and that’s OK with her.

Stewart had all the practical help to step into the late Royal’s shoes. Hair and make-up, along with costuming, gave her the look. A voice coach helped her nail down the British accent

Stewart knew that portraying the Princess would be a challenge. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stewart said that knowing that there was no way to play the role perfectly actually helped.

Knowing that, ” … was actually easier … to not be so intimidated,” said Stewart. Knowing that perfection wasn’t going to be accomplished made the role less daunting. Stewart acknowledged Diana’s larger-than-life personality and the mystery that still surrounds her.

She said that to “catch something wild is to be that, and I could only be my version of that.” Stewart said she learned as much as she could from the late royal, and that the version on-screen is a “meld” of Stewart and Princess Diana. 

The depression that the late royal struggled with defined so much of her character, and Stewart said that, while it was similar, it was very different from her own experience.

“The one difference between Diana and myself, especially, is that she was alone and I was not. I had people holding me,” Stewart said.

Stewart worked closely with the director

Stewart said that the opportunity to work closely with director Pablo Larraín was key in getting the role down. Stewart had high words of praise for Larraín. 

She said that he was able to keep everyone working at high levels without taking advantage of them. The team that Larraín put together was the same, said Stewart, and they were amazing to work with.

Stewart said that working with Larraín “revived” her. Larraín’s approach to movie-making was ambitious and committed. Stewart called it “cool” and “feral.” 

Larraín’s commitment to his vision is what revived Stewart’s ambition for movies. She said that those types of people are the only ones who should be making movies.

What are people saying about Stewart as Princess Diana?

There’s a definite parallel between Stewart’s difficulties with the spotlight and Princess Diana’s struggles with meeting the demands of the royal family and hyper-public life. Stewart leaned upon her own experiences, but some, it was a little too much of Stewart in the movie.

Refinery29’s review mentions that all they see throughout the movie is Stewart and her own quirks, rather than Princess Diana’s. For some viewers, it seems that Stewart’s attempt to meld herself with the late royal backfired. 

Others, though, absolutely loved Stewart as Princess Diana. Her performance was called everything from playful, to uncanny, to stunning. Rotten Tomatoes has the film at a 90%, and most of that is thanks to Stewart’s performance. 

Spencer will be released in select theaters on November 5, 2021.

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