Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

When Kristen Stewart was contacted to play Princess Diana in Pablo Larrain’s impressionist biography, Spencer, she could not quite believe what she was hearing.

“When I first spoke to Pablo, he said, ‘Have you ever considered this person, Princess Diana? I’m going to make a movie and I think it’s you.’ And I thought, ‘I think, you’re f – king wildly crazy ‘, explains the 31-year-old actor. “Of course I could not be more of an outsider.”

What Stewart initially failed to consider is that there was also a rebellious, unpredictable streak to Diana, Princess of Wales.

And that was not the only thing the couple had in common.

Both women struggled to be in public and more specifically the media attention that comes with it. And both struggled to maintain a certain sense of autonomy away from their public glare.

“Diana was the most beloved person in the entire world and the most rejected at the same time,” Stewart says. “She just could not really define her own power, but she felt it for sure. Sometimes she used it as a banshee, but other times she felt normal and small.

“From where I stand, she had some control over her life and nothing was unconditional ever. Everything was a negotiation. “

Kristen Stewart.
Camera iconKristen Stewart. Credit: Axelle / Bauer-Griffin/Filmmagi

Stewart says that even though the level of fame she has experienced does not touch on Diana’s experiences, she can understand some of how she might have felt.

“I would never say she was the most famous woman in the world, that she was the most photographed woman in the world, even though that is something that is said about her,” she says. “And I have tasted a high level of it, but not near the monumental symbolic representation of a whole group of people, a whole country and then the world.”

Stewart, who is based in Los Angeles, is the daughter of a stage manager and television producer father and a screenwriter and filmmaker mother. She starred in her first film at the age of eight. In 2002, when she was 11, she starred in David Fincher’s film Panic Room with Jodie Foster.

Her fame skyrocketed when she was cast as Bella Swan opposite Robert Pattinson in the blockbuster Twilight movie series based on the bestselling books by Stephenie Meyer. When Stewart and Pattinson fell in love with the set, fans (known as Twihards) could not get enough. Over the course of five years and five films, they were one of the most beloved and idolized couples in Hollywood.

But Stewart never came into the spotlight. She was often photographed and looked overwhelmed (a look that many read as annoying) at events on the red carpet. She told Elle UK in 2016 that at the height of her fame she felt trapped and was so anxious that she felt physically ill every day.

“I had panic attacks,” she said, “I used to vomit every day. I always had a stomach ache and I was a control freak. I could not foresee what would happen in a given situation, so I would think: ‘maybe I’m getting sick.’ Then I would be sick. “

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Stewart took a match to her popularity in 2012 when she was photographed and having fun with the married director Rupert Sanders, with whom she worked on Snow White and the Huntsman. Both Stewart and Sanders issued public apologies for their attempts – Stewart to Pattinson and Sanders to his wife, Liberty Ross, and their children. But in the end, none of the relationship survived the controversy.

Since then, Stewart, who is now engaged to screenwriter Dylan Meyer, has done his utmost to protect his privacy, lying low at home in Los Angeles and maintaining no public presence on social media.

Stewart says that even though her life is now much more manageable, she maintains a complicated relationship with fame.

“Actors want to be seen,” she told Elle UK. “I am the opposite when I am in public. Then I say, ‘Please everyone, I do not want to exist’. But there is still a strong desire in me to be seen. That’s so weird. “

For Larrain, Stewart was the obvious choice for Diana. Not only because of her skill as an actress, but also for the fact that she has an unrecognizable trait about her, which Diana also retained, only letting her guard slide in front of her children and loved ones.

“The more I looked into Diana, the more I realized she was carrying a huge amount of mystery,” Larrian says. “And that mystery, combined with such a magnetism, creates the perfect elements for a movie. And we found this miracle, named Kristen, that can carry that mystery.”

Kristen Stewart in the Spencer Roadshow Films
Camera iconKristen Stewart in the Spencer Roadshow Films Credit: Roadshow movie

Co-written by Larrain and Steven Knight (Locked Down) Spencer is a fairy tale about a woman in a gilded cage. Described by the filmmakers as “a fable from a true tragedy”, it takes place over three days – from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day 2 – at the Royal Residence at Sandringham Estate. It takes a closer look at Diana’s disintegrating relationship with Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) and the rest of the royal family. It depicts her bouts of bulimia, her tantrums and even some hallucinations. Her rare moments of joy are shared with her beloved sons William (Jack Nielen) and Harry (Freddie Spry).

“It was a great opportunity to create an adventure,” Larrain says. “When we grow up, we understand that it is actually very difficult to live in an adventure. And in this case, we have a princess who goes away from the idea of ​​being a queen. You have a character trapped in the wheels of tradition and history. “

Larrain directed Natalie Portman in the 2016 film, Jackie, about another pioneer, Jackie Kennedy. The film portrayed her life in the wake of her husband John F. Kennedy’s assassination attempt.

“For me, I think it’s interesting when you look at someone in a crisis instead of going over a longer period of time in someone’s life,” he says.

Critics have called the film “breathtaking”, “joking” and “beautifully crafted”. Stewart’s performance has already earned her Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Best Actress nomination, and she’s a favorite to get on the Oscar shortlist, and many have hailed her performance as “fearless.”

For the role, Stewart immersed herself in Diana, read everything she could get her hands on and watched countless documentaries and even Emma Corrins’ acclaimed performance in The Crown.

But just as prepared as she was, Stewart still felt the pressure that led to filming and developed temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), which causes severe jaw pain.

She attributes the condition to a “physical manifestation of genuine fear of failure”.

Her anxiety is justified given that almost everyone in the world has a point of reference, a memory and awareness of the so-called People’s Princess. Dianas were hard stylish pumps to step into. However, Stewart says that when filming began and she was able to relax in the role, she found her clue.

The most resounding takeaway I have from making this film was probably how big and how small I felt like her.

“She’s not hard to absorb,” she said in an interview with the US Today show. “I took her into my body in a kind of emotional and spiritual way. I’m such a huge, huge admirer of her, it’s hard not to be affected by that energy.

“The most resounding takeaway I have from making this film was probably how big and how small I felt like her,” she said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “I’ve never felt so big and so small at the same time.”

Stewart did not intend to imitate the princess, but rather to give an impression of her. The familiar tilt of her head, the defiant lift of her chin, and the sadness that seemed to gather in her eyes.

“I feel like everyone feels like they knew her,” Stewart says. “It was her talent, and that’s the beauty of her. She was available, and you felt like you were friends with her.”

The poetic character of the film gave her space to explore Diana’s life instead of the known reality.

“It was an opportunity to dream and not just reproduce facts,” she said during the Today interview. “That’s what actors do, they take internal emotions and externalize them.”

Diana was known not only for her philanthropy, but for her empathy, especially during the AIDS crisis, and her bravery, especially for the unforgettable walk through an Angolan landmine. She was also an international fashion icon.

“I think she was someone who knew how to use clothes as armor, but at the same time she was so accessible and visible. She could not hide – she carried her heart on her sleeve, and that was the coolest thing about her for me. “

More than her good looks or sense of fashion, it was her undeniable charisma and personal power that left a lasting impression on those around her.

“I think it’s just something she’s born with,” Stewart says. “Some people are endowed with an undeniable, penetrating energy. I think the really sad thing about her is that she could be normal and relaxed and disarming, but she also felt so isolated and so lonely.

“She was able to make other people feel so good while she felt so bad inside. And at the same time she was so generous with her energy. We have not had many of those people throughout history and that’s why she sticks. really like a house on fire. ”

Spencer is in theaters on January 20th.

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