Venice Italy – Chilean Pablo Larraín presented her portrait of Lady Di, played by Kristen Stewart, in competition today at the Venice Film Festival as a fairy tale about a sensitive and rebellious princess who faces the Crown to be herself.
‘I wanted to make a film that my mother would like, because many of the films I make she doesn’t like at all,’ explained the director of films such as El club (2015), Neruda (2016), or Jackie (2016), another portrait of an iconic woman that she also presented at this festival five years ago.
“Diana was a very famous woman and a beauty icon, but she was also a mother and, most importantly, she was someone capable of generating wonderful empathy,” she said.
“I was very curious to understand how someone so privileged and aristocratic could generate so much empathy around the world.”
The script for Spencer, co-written with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, focuses on a single weekend in the early 90s, a three-day Christmas celebration that passes with the entire royal family in their Sandringham country house and at the end of which she decided to part ways with Prince Charles (Jack Farthing).
Carlos’s infidelity was already spreading by word of mouth as well as the rumors of divorce, but during those three days, the queen imposed the rituals that tradition marks: dinners, clothes, official poses, and hunting trips. From there, the scriptwriters imagine what could have happened behind the scenes.
“Seeing someone in a moment of crisis is very interesting and can reveal more about the character than tell her whole life,” said Larraín to justify this temporary decision. “The character starts out broken, then turns into a ghost and finally heals,” she summarized.
In terms of space, the so-called country house that any common citizen would consider a palace offers a perfect metaphor for the organization in which Princess Diana is trapped, according to Larraín, with all the obligations that it entails.
The Californian actress Kristen Stewart is transformed, very mimetically, into that Lady Di who moves between the phantasmagoric and the rebellious, obsessed with reading a book about Ana Bolena (consort of Henry VIII beheaded for alleged adultery) and who already suffers from eating disorders sometimes hallucinations.
Stewart said she sees Diana as a woman with extraordinary energy but who felt very isolated and alone.
“When I look at photos of her I feel like the earth is shaking but I also see that she was desperate to connect with someone, it’s shocking that she was able to make people feel so good by feeling so bad.”
They relied on royal consultants to maintain credibility, but Stewart insisted that the goal of the film is not to offer new information but to imagine what the princess could feel in those days.
Asked about possible parallels when living the pressures of fame, the one who was the protagonist of the Twilight saga made the distance clear: ‘She was the most photographed woman in the world, I’m not at that level, sometimes you can feel that you are not in control of the situation or what they think of you but that is something that happens to everyone.’
In that sense, she also stated that the most important lesson she learned in life is that it is always possible to choose. “We are not on a predestined path, it is always possible to take charge of our life even if it is difficult to make those decisions,” she said.