With The Crown’s Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor off enjoying their Golden Globes, and Meghan and Harry’s devastating interview with Oprah behind us, there’s been quite a void in royal drama. Thankfully, there’s something to look forward to: Spencer, Pablo Larraín’s Princess Diana biopic starring Kristen Stewart.
A new photo shows Stewart in costume (look closely and you’ll even spot the famous sapphire engagement ring now owned by Kate Middleton) resting her chin on her hand as light pours in from the window behind her, giving her a golden aura. It’s magical, it’s stunning, and it's dazzling — sunlight reflecting off 14 diamonds is no joke.
Unlike each season of The Crown, which covers a wide span of time, Spencer will focus on a narrow slice of Diana’s experience with the royal family, as she spends the 1991 Christmas season at their Sandringham estate. There, among the festivities and the simmering tensions, she grapples with the decision to leave her husband, Prince Charles, whom we now know will be played by Jack Farthing (Poldark, Love Wedding Repeat). Other cast-members include Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, and Sean Harris.
This isn’t Chilean director Larraín’s first foray into the inner lives of complicated women. Natalie Portman was nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in his cult 2016 biopic Jackie, which focused on the days immediately following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. And with a script written by Steven Knight (who among other things, recently penned HBO’s Anne Hathaway pandemic heist movie Locked Down), you know the relationship drama will be spectacular.
But though Stewart’s transformation into Diana is compelling and more than a little thrilling, there’s more to be excited here than just casting. For one thing, Spencer will be photographed by genius cinematographer Claire Mathon, best-known for her work in Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady On Fire. This means Princess Diana’s most intimate moments and decisions will be captured and retold through a woman's lens. And that’s not all: Jacqueline Durran, who designed the Oscar-winning costumes Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (among so many others favorites) will be in charge of recreating and perfecting some of Diana’s most iconic looks, while Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood, responsible for Phantom Thread’s perfect score (which I am listening to as I write this), will be composing original music for the film.
The cast and crew have just wrapped filming in Germany, and are moving to the UK for the final stretch. The movie is tentatively scheduled for an autumn 2021 release, ahead of the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death in August 2022. In the meantime, might I suggest the 2017 documentary, Diana: In Her Own Words?