Principal photography has begun on Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, with production unveiling the first glimpse of Stewart as the young royal.
Written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, the film focuses on one weekend in the life of Princess Diana, as she spends the Christmas holiday with the Royal Family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, and decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.
Filming will take place in Germany and the UK and a fall 2021 launch is anticipated. 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death.
The cast also includes BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) and Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible).
The film is produced by Juan de Dios Larraín (Jackie) for Fabula Films, Jonas Dornbach and Janine Jackowski (Toni Erdmann) for Komplizen Film and BAFTA winner and Oscar nominee Paul Webster (Anna Karenina) for Shoebox Films.
“‘Spencer is a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life,” said Stewart. “It is a physical assertion of the sum of her parts, which starts with her given name: Spencer. It is a harrowing effort for her to return to herself, as Diana strives to hold onto what the name Spencer means to her.”
“We are extremely grateful for the support of our distributors worldwide, our partners and funders who have shown tremendous commitment to us in these extraordinary times. With Kristen Stewart, Steven Knight and the rest of our fantastic team both in front and behind the camera, we are bringing ‘Spencer’ to the world.
“It is an independently produced film made for the big screen about an iconic woman’s own declaration of independence. We couldn’t be more excited,” said producers Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, Juan de Dios Larraín, Paul Webster and Pablo Larraín.
Executive producers are Tom Quinn, Jeff Deutchman and Christina Zisa for Neon and Michael Bloom, Maria Zuckerman and Ryan Heller for Topic Studios.
FilmNation Entertainment handled international sales with all key territories selling out of the Cannes virtual market. The CAA Media Finance group sold to Neon and Topic Studios to distribute in the US, STXinternational will distribute the film in the UK, France, Italy and Benelux and DCM will distribute in Germany.
Other territories sold include: Australia/NZ (Roadshow), Latin America, Spain and Portugal (Sun), South Korea (Green Narae), Japan (Tohokushina), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Canada (Elevation), CIS/Baltics (Central Partnership), Eastern Europe (Forum), Middle East (Italia), Singapore (Shaw), Greece/Cyprus (Spentzos), Hong Kong (Golden Scene), India/Pakistan (Impact Films India), Israel (Lev), Turkey (FilmArti), South Africa (Empire), Taiwan (Moviecloud) and Thailand (M Pictures).
“Working on the script has been a pleasure. I think it’s a different perspective on a story that we don’t all know well, but we all feel we now are a part of it,” Knight told Variety in an exclusive interview last week.
“And I just found the whole thing fascinating. To talk to people who knew her and to try and get a view of this person — who this person really was — who was an ordinary person in extraordinary situations, is the way I think of her.”
Knight said he hadn’t watched hit Netflix series The Crown because he didn’t want his perspective to be influenced by the show. Season 4 of The Crown, which began streaming in 2020, primarily focuses on the relationship between Lady Diana (played by Emma Corrin) and Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor). The season has been in the spotlight as the relatives of real individuals depicted in the drama have been speaking up about their portrayals.
UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and Lady Diana’s brother Charles Spencer later demanded that “The Crown” carry a disclaimer that it is a fiction show, but Netflix declined.
Spencer is supported by the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, German Federal Film Board (FFA), Film- und Medienstiftung NRW and HessenFilm und Medien.