Kristen Stewart reveals the secret behind eating those giant pearls in Spencer
Ah, the wonders of movie magic.
In one of Spencer's most memorable scenes, Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) is shown eating (or is she imagining herself eating?) the massive pearl necklace that Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) has given her for Christmas. At a strained holiday dinner with the royal family she yanks the offending jewelry from her neck, which sends the oversized pearls flying into her soup — and then into her mouth, too.
To achieve the effect of that without needing the Heimlich, Stewart turned to a safer substitute: customized, extra-large candies. "It was chocolate, so I was actually very conscious of not showing that and keeping my mouth closed," she tells EW. But according to the star, the moment almost ended up very different on screen.
"I saw a cut of that scene and they hadn't mixed the crunching [noise], they had taken it down," Stewart explains. So, she suggested they bring it back up to maximize the moment. "I think sometimes when you're really close to something you think certain things are mistakes when they're not, do you know what I mean? So [the sound mixers] were like 'Oh, but you can hear it, it sounds like M&Ms!' And I was like, 'Yeah but imagine if it was really audible, that crack.' And so they put it back in."
It's one of the more startling moments in an already-surreal film, which touts itself as a "fable from a true tragedy." Directed by Jackie auteur Pablo Larraín, the unconventional biopic reimagines a long Christmas weekend at the royal family's Sandringham estate in the early 1990s, most likely around the time that Diana was deciding to end her marriage to Prince Charles.
And although many parts of the film, including the pearl-eating scene, probably didn't happen, Stewart says it was important to her that the film didn't depict "anything dead wrong."
"I know it's an interpretation, it's an imagining, it's a poem, it's all of this — and none of this is to excuse anything that we got wrong — but it was genuinely just kind of a meditation on what she inspired," she explains. Still there were a few things the actress, who immersed herself in piles of research, says she specifically fought against. Like an original draft of the script that had Diana going out to smoke a cigarette with Sally Hawkins' wardrobe-assistant character, Maggie. The problem is, Diana "f---ing hated smoking," Stewart says. So she asked that it not be included, even if it might have read well dramatically to put that rebellious image in viewers' minds.
"There are just certain things you can't know that happened behind closed doors. You don't know what happened within [her] privacy, but also fully embedded in her subconscious and her fantasies and her nightmares and her dreams, all of that," she says. "I just thought it was really important considering we were going to push the envelope so far already. So any drastic wrongness I was like, 'You guys, f--- no, please.'"
Speaking of the f-word, did the real princess swear as often as she does in Spencer? "With the cursing, everyone has a different opinion," Stewart admits. "The people that worked in Charles' house, those staff were like, 'She was scary, she could cut you down and curse at you.' Then other people were like, 'She never cursed a day in her life!' So I was like, 'All right, the f---s can stay.'"
Spencer is now playing in theaters.
With reporting by Leah Greenblatt.
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