Pablo Larraín's Spencer will be sold at Cannes' virtual market.

By Joey Nolfi
June 17, 2020 at 01:03 PM EDT
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Jackie director Pablo Larraín is giving Kristen Stewart the royal treatment for her new movie.

EW has confirmed the Underwater and Charlie's Angels actress is set to portray Princess Diana in the Chilean filmmaker's upcoming film Spencer, a drama chronicling a critical weekend in the early '90s, when she began pulling back from her marriage to Prince Charles and straying from the royal path.

Deadline, which first broke the news of Stewart's involvement, also indicated Wednesday that Oscar-nominated Dirty Pretty Things writer Steven Knight has penned Spencer's script, which is set over three days during one of Diana's final Christmas holidays in the House of Windsor on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. Its title references Diana's family name she had before marrying Charles.

"We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is," Larraín — also a producer on the film alongside his Fabula company partner Juan de Dios, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski and Paul Webster — told Deadline. "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.... We want to make a movie that goes wide, connects with a worldwide audience that is interested in such a fascinating life."

Speaking of Stewart's involvement, Larraín praised the 30-year-old as "one of the great actors around today" after her star-making turn in the Twilight franchise, in addition to her recent prestige roles in smaller titles like Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper, Still Alice, and as actress Jean Seberg in last year's biopic.

"To do this well, you need something very important in film, which is mystery. Kristin can be many things, and she can be very mysterious and very fragile an ultimately very strong as well, which is what we need," Larraín continued, adding that the film will not cover Diana's tragic death in August 1997, but rather explore her fraying relationship with her husband, veering away from the royal family, and her devotion to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. "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."

Spencer will be sold at the Cannes Film Festival's virtual market, with production expected to begin in early 2021. Further casting details have yet to be announced.

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