Princess Diana’s legacy is reverberating in pop culture like never before. Prince Harry revealed that he and Meghan Markle could start a new life in America, thanks to the inheritance left by his late mother. During that same Oprah Winfrey tell-all interview, Meghan wore one of Diana’s bracelets. And The Crown’s Emma Corrin thanked Lady Di during her Golden Globes acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Drama Series. That makes any details about Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer valuable insight about the late royal’s continued legacy.
Stewart understands the responsibility of portraying the People’s Princess, speaking about her cultural impact during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in November. “[Her death] happened really quickly,” Stewart recalled of the 1997 accident. “I didn’t grow up with her in the same way [because] I was really young when she passed away.” However, she remembered the rows of flowers that lined Buckingham Palace. “I remember being like, ‘What are all of those? I’ve never seen so many in one place,’” she said. “I didn’t really know what was going on. But now, it’s hard not to feel protective over her,” Stewart continued. “I mean, she was so young.”
Months later, production on Spencer, which is directed by Jackie’s Pablo Larraín and written by Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight, has shifted to the UK for its final days of filming. Here’s what we know about Spencer, including which leading man the casting team tapped to play Prince Charles.
The Spencer Release Date
There’s no official release date for Spencer, although it’s expected to land in autumn 2021, a year before the 25th anniversary of Diana’s tragic death. Its premiere also comes amid increased conversation about the parallels between Princess Diana and Meghan Markle’s struggles in the limelight.
Spencer Plot Details
Spencer will focus on a tumultuous three-day span in Princess Diana’s life, long before she was candid about her time inside the royal family. According to a press release provided by Neon, “The film focuses on one weekend in the life of Princess Diana, as she spends the Christmas holiday with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, and decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.
Larraín further opened up about the inspiration behind Spencer last June. “It’s about finding herself, about understanding that possibly the most important thing for her is to be well, and to be with herself and by herself,” the director told Deadline. “That’s why the movie is called Spencer, which is the family name she had before she met Charles.”
The Spencer Cast
Stewart’s resemblance to Princess Diana has taken the world by surprise since her casting was announced. The 30-year-old joins a long line of actors to play the late royal, including Emma Corrin in The Crown Season 4 and Naomi Watts in 2013’s Diana. Next up, Elizabeth Debicki will play Lady Di in the fifth and sixth seasons of The Crown.
Joining Stewart in the cast is Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), and Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible — Fallout) in roles that remain under wraps. On March 25, Neon announced that Jack Farthing (Poldark) would play Prince Charles.
There’s as much of an all-star creative team behind the scenes as there is in front of the camera. The film will be produced by Larraín alongside Juan de Dios, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, and Paul Webster. An original score will be conducted by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood (Phantom Thread). The cinematographer is Claire Mathon (Portrait of a Lady on Fire). And Oscar winner Jacqueline Durran (Little Women) will be recreating some of Lady Di’s best breakup revenge looks with the help of makeup and hair designer Wakana Yoshihara (Murder On The Orient Express). Finally, Spencer’s production designer is Guy Hendrix Dyas, the Oscar nominee behind Inception.
The Spencer Trailer
There’s no trailer just yet, but that hasn’t stopped production from releasing a few sneak peeks of the movie. The first photo of Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer arrived on Wednesday, Jan. 27, and revealed the actor’s stunning transformation for the role. In the latest picture, Stewart sports a replica of Diana’s sapphire engagement ring that Kate Middleton now wears on her left finger.
Since the first image, other set photos have emerged that show Stewart filming on location in Germany, where the set for Sandringham is. In October, Stewart offered details on her Princess Diana prep in an interview with InStyle. "The accent is intimidating as all hell because people know that voice, and it's so, so distinct and particular,” she explained. “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." She added, “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.”
This post will be updated with the trailer, premiere date, and additional plot details as more information on Spencer becomes available.