Kristen Stewart has revealed that she “couldn’t open my mouth for two weeks before we started shooting” because she was nervous about playing Princess Diana in the film Spencer.
The actress portrays Princess Diana as she spends three days with the Royal Family during Christmas 1991, just before she divorced Prince Charles.
The film is directed by Pablo Larrain, a Chilean-born director who previously guided Natalie Portman to an Oscar nomination for Jackie, a film about another highly scrutinised female public figure, Jacqueline Kennedy.
Stewart was advised by the director to “relax and trust the process” and to rely on her substantial preparation for the role.
The actress, who previously acted in Twilight, admitted that she did not begin with a broad knowledge foundation.
Stewart, who has received acclaim for her performance, says she spent a lot of time researching Diana’s biography.
Because of the weight of responsibility that comes with playing such an intense, well-known public person, Stewart had to ground her performance in her own sentiments, as there are so many different perspectives on the princess.
‘I felt compelled to defend her,’ she explained. “I had to stop focusing on other people’s perceptions of her and instead concentrate on my own. And that, in and of itself, was so distinct and unique to me.”
Stewart describes the film as a “tumultuous tone poem that also seemed extremely jubilant, wonderful, and joyous,” set over three intense days at Sandringham, the royal country home in Norfolk.
It depicts the princess in various emotional states, but the actress claims that it retains its exuberance because “in an unusual sense… it is about her fight to live her life and have some agency, and move away from the weight that the Royal Family undoubtedly brought to her life.”
The princess’s eating issues and mental health struggles are not played over in the film. The film has a weird quality to it. When you’ve been through a lot of trauma in your life, I believe you’ll go insane at times. “I never felt Diana’s loss,” Stewart explained.