Kristen Stewart is a “miracle” said director Pablo Larrain today following the first Venice Film Festival press screenings of Spencer in which the actress plays Princess Diana. The story unfolds over three days during the Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, when Diana decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles. Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight wrote the script.
There’s been a lot of attention on the prospect of Stewart’s portrayal of the iconic Lady Di (Stewart was last in Venice playing another real-life woman in 2019’s Seberg). Having now realized the part, Stewart this afternoon said she “took more pleasure into my physicality making this movie than I have on anything. I felt more free and alive and able to move, and taller even.” She added, “Now put a leash on that.”
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For Larrain, he “wanted to make a movie that my mother would like, I have made so many she doesn’t like at all… Diana was a very famous beautiful icon on many levels, but she was a mother as well and more importantly was someone who had something incredibly beautiful which was the level of empathy that she could create.”
The Jackie helmer was interested to learn why someone who had been born to privilege with links to the royals, was “so normal.” But the more he researched, he “realized she carried an enormous amount of mystery combined with magnetism.”
Speaking to what made Diana such an empathetic person, Stewart said, “I think it’s just something she was born with. There are some people that are endowed with an undeniable penetrating energy and I think the really sad thing about her is that as normal and casual and disarming her air is immediately, she also felt so isolated and lonely she made everyone else feel accompanied and bolstered by this beautiful light and all she wanted was to have it back.”
Stewart continued, “She was just desperate to reveal some truth in an environment that is steeped in the energy of, you know, as an outsider I can say the Brits generally have the stiff upper lip mentality, that it is the go to generalization. I look at pictures of her or just a fleeting little video clip of her and I feel like the ground shakes and you don’t know what’s going to happen. The idea of somebody being so desperate for connection and somebody who is able to make other people feel so good and feeling so bad on the inside and being so generous with her energy — I just think we haven’t had that many of those people throughout history. She really sticks out as a sparkly house on fire.”
Can Stewart relate to a line in the film that refers to Diana living under a microscope? “I suppose so, but this is a tough one. She was the most famous woman in the world… I have tasted a high level of that but really nowhere near that monumental symbolic representation of an entire country and then the world… But when you know the story on the street is just wrong and there’s no way to correct it… The idea that maybe you had five minutes where somebody thought you hadn’t connected with them and they’ve gotten the wrong impression — I’ve wanted to run back a million times to say ‘can we redo that interview?’ — imagine what that was like for her, feeling backed into a corner to that extent.”
Stewart added, “At some point, you’re going to bear you teeth because you’re an animal and it’s natural and it’s normal. I feel like everyone feels like they know her and that’s her talent and that’s what beautiful, you feel like she’s your friend and ironically she’s the most unknowable person and somebody who never wanted to be alone. She wanted connections and she wanted people in her life, but she was so isolated — at least over these three days (in the film) we wanted that to come to a head.”
So, “I can relate, but I don’t think anyone can understand what that felt like. The ironic and saddest part of is that we will never know her, and that’s what she wanted, to tell the story herself.”
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