What to Expect From Spencer, the Latest Film About Princess Diana

What to Expect From Spencer, the Latest Film About Princess Diana
Image credit: Neon

If you cast your minds back to January 2021, you’ll likely remember that we were given our first sneak peek at Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in the upcoming film, Spencer.

The shot pictured an almost unrecognisable Stewart staring off into the distance in a black and red royal get up. Well, since that point, we’ve received a long list of updates on the film and already, Stewart is receiving praise for her portrayal of Princess Di.

If you’re interested in learning more about the film, we’ve pulled together a guide for you below.

Who is involved in the Spencer film cast and crew?

Spencer film
Image credit: Neon

Spencer was written by Steven Knight – the creator of Peaky Blinders – and Pablo Larrain of Jackie will be directing.

Kristen Stewart (Twilight) plays Princess Diana and is joined by Jack Farthing as Prince Charles, Amy Manson as Anne Boleyn, Olga Hellsing as Sarah Ferguson, Jack Nielen as Prince William, and Niklas Kohrt as Prince Andrew.

Sean Harris, Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall and Richard Sammel are also listed in the cast lineup.

But what’s the film about?

From documentaries to The Crown and the 2013 Naomi Watts film, Lady Diana, there are a few productions out there already that feature Princess Diana and differing parts of her story. So how will this one differ?

According to reports, Spencer (named for Diana’s maiden name) will focus on the stories surrounding one weekend in Princess Diana’s life. Apparently, it’s mostly set at the Royal Family’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk over the Christmas period. During this time, Diana decides to leave Prince Charles.

The film synopsis reads as follows:

During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.

Does Spencer cross over with The Crown?

Warning: Spoilers for season 4 of The Crown ahead.

It seems as though the timings for Spencer may intersect with The Crown‘s fourth season, yes. While the year in which Spencer will be set has not been stated, it appears as though it may be the same period featured in the final episode of season four. In that episode, we see Diana grappling with her failing marriage and incredible loneliness also while at Sandringham estate over Christmas. It was sold almost like an ending to their relationship.

Reports state that the end of the season was set in 1990, two years before Charles and Diana separated.

If Spencer covers the Christmas weekend in which Diana decides to leave Charles it could very well be that same weekend. Where the film will differ is in its ability to focus on this one weekend alone. With a zoomed-in approach, we’ll likely get a much more in-depth look at the events of that time and how they played out.

As quoted by Variety, Stewart has shared that the film is “a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life.”

“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.”

Consider me sold.

Is there a trailer?

We were treated to a first look at Spencer with a teaser trailer back in August. You can catch your first glimpse of Kristen Stewart in action (British accent and all) as Princess Diana in that clip below.

More recently, however, the official trailer for Spencer has been released, giving a more in-depth look at the emotional story, and Stewart’s incredible transformation. You can watch that here:

NEON has shared the following synopsis along with the trailer:

The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. SPENCER is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.

What’s the release date for Spencer?

Spencer has announced it has a cinema release date of January 26, 2022.

Will the film be worth your time?

Rotten Tomatoes has the film currently sitting at 88 per cent (super fresh) off the back of the initial critic reviews. Considering that, it could be assumed that Spencer will be an enjoyable watch. Here are some comments on the film.

Hau Chi of the Washington Post wrote: “For better and for worse, ‘Spencer’ conveys one thing quite powerfully: the feeling of living in a rarefied, indifferent world that doesn’t seem to value independent women, much less people.”

And Ian Freer of Empire Magazine praised Stewart’s performance, writing: “Though it doesn’t ever make you really feel, Spencer is a bold, compassionate, poetic riposte to standard royal biopics. It also confirms Kristen Stewart as one of the most exciting actors working today.”

Not half bad, hey?

This article has been updated with additional information since its original publish date.

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