Kristen Stewart playing Princess Diana divides film fans

Eight years after playing a gritty fairy tale princess in Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart is ascending to for-real royalty in the new drama, Spencer.

Directed by Pablo Larraín, the film depicts the bitter end of the seemingly storybook romance between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, to be played by Stewart.

“We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is,” Larraín recently 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.”

Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Hawaii (Photo by Douglas Peebles/Corbis via Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Hawaii. (Photo: Douglas Peebles/Corbis via Getty Images)

This isn’t the first time that Larraín has made a bold biopic casting choice. In 2016, he directed Natalie Portman to an Oscar nomination as Jackie Kennedy in Jackie.

“I couldn’t imagine the movie without her,” he told Yahoo Entertainment at the time. “Natalie resembles the real person. But I’m not that into the way they look. I look for someone who can create the illusion of that person. I’m not a journalist or a historian.”

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Speaking with Deadline, the director said that Stewart — who he describes as “one of the great actors around today” — was a natural choice to play Diana Spencer.

“Kristen can be many things, and she can be very mysterious and very fragile and ultimately very strong as well, which is what we need,” he explained, adding that the film won’t depict Diana’s death in 1997. (Maybe we’ll get a flashback to the time she danced with John Travolta.)

“The combination of those elements made me think of her. I think she’s going to do something stunning and intriguing at the same time. She is this force of nature.”

Not everyone on Twitter was persuaded by Larraín’s impassioned case for Stewart’s casting.

On the other hand, Stewart’s sizeable social media fanbase is ready to book advanced tickets for Spencer, which is set to start filming early next year. As many noted, the actress is uniquely suited to the role having had to live much of her life in the public eye — as well as the paparazzi’s eyes — ever since the Twilight franchise rocketed her to fame.

And since that series wrapped up in 2012, Stewart has delivered a series of acclaimed performances in movies like Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper and last year’s Seberg, in which she delivered a career-best star turn as ‘60s movie star, Jean Seberg.

Spencer will start shooting in 2021