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Kristen Stewart Will Play Princess Diana In A New Movie Called 'Spencer'

Princess Diana is one of the most famous 20th-century female icons. She was plucked from relative obscurity by the Palace to marry the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, at only 19 years old. She did her duty by producing an heir and a spare, before realizing the untapped power there was in her celebrity status. But by the 1990s, she decided she wanted off the royal conveyor belt, creating the biggest divorce scandal since Henry VIII ran the table with six wives. Now, Kristen Stewart will play Princess Diana in a movie that focuses on the critical week where she made that fateful choice.

Stewart's casting is part of a package that includes a script by Steven Knight CBE, best known for his work on scripts for The Girl in the Spider's Web and Dirty Pretty Things. (He also co-created the original UK version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín, who directed the Academy Award-nominated biopic Jackie, starring Natalie Portman, has signed on to direct.

All the film needs now is a production studio to pick it up. With the Cannes Film Festival entirely online this year, the project will be unveiled on the virtual Cannes Market. It is expected to draw a lot of attention, and maybe even a bidding war over production rights. Once it has an official backer, production will most likely commence in 2021.

Choosing Stewart, who went from teen heartthrob blockbusters to indie darlings, and has just begun doing more mainstream films again, is one of the projects more provocative choices.

Deadline, which broke the news, notes:

Stewart is an intriguing choice to play Diana. She got a taste of that fishbowl life borne of fame when she starred in the blockbuster Twilight Saga films, with press hounding her every move at a very young age. She eschewed that persona, and has refashioned herself as one of the most interesting and unpredictable actresses working mostly in independent films. Now she’ll play one of the most famous women in the world at her moment of great moment existential crisis.

Larraín defends the choice:

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... I’ve seen movies from Kristin that are so diverse it’s incredible, showing different layers and her diversity and strength as an actress... As a filmmaker, when you have someone who can hold such a weight, dramatic and narrative weight just with her eyes, then you have the strong lead who can deliver what we are looking for.

The movie will only cover the period around the choice to divorce, as Larraín explained, it's "very contained, set over a few days in Sandringham." The story will not extend to Diana's post-royal life or her tragic death.

Spencer will hopefully be picked up soon and arrive in theaters sometime around 2022.