Not a day goes by that we don’t bump into an article about the British royal family. This is clearly not an accident. Everyone wants to know what is happening to them. Or what has happened. We’ll have to wait for the fifth season of Netflix’s hit series “Crown”, but not long for the Kristen Stewart-starring drama “Spencer.”
“Spencer”, Pablo Larraín’s highly anticipated drama starring Kristen Stewart as Lady Diana, will world premiere in competition at Venice Film Festival, Variety has learned.
Written by “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, the film centers on a weekend in the early 1990s when Diana decided to separate from Prince Charles amid rumors of affairs. The late princess was spending the Christmas holiday with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk when she decided to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.
Stewart stars in the film opposite “Poldark” star Jack Farthing who plays Prince Charles. The cast also includes BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall (“Mr. Turner”), Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”), and Sean Harris (“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”). The film comes out in 2022 to mark the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death.
The last four winners of the Venice top prize — “The Shape of Water”, “Roma”, “Joker”, and “Nomadland” — have dominated the Oscar nominations in their respective years. Two of them, “The Shape of Water” and “Nomadland”, ended up winning Best Picture.
Stewart said in an earlier statement:
“Spencer” 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.”
Charles and Diana’s relationship, and interest in the British royal family, re-entered cultural discourse in 2020, after the premiere of the fourth season of Netflix’s “The Crown”. Emma Corrin won a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her performance as Diana. Elizabeth Debicki will take over from Corrin in season 5.
“Spencer” is written by Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”). There currently is no release date for the movie. “Spencer” was 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.
Neon and Topic Studios have jointly acquired the U.S. rights to the movie in June 2020. The film is expected to be an Oscar contender. Larrain’s last film “Jackie” earned Natalie Portman a best actress nomination for playing Jackie Kennedy Onassis in the days after JFK’s assassination.
Other high-profile movies set to world premiere at Venice include “Dune”, Denis Villeneuve’s big-budget sci-fi epic which was shot in Hungary, starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, which will play out of competition.
While Venice is assembling a starry lineup, the ongoing pandemic and rise of variants are casting a shadow over the festival which is scheduled to kick off September 1st. With a resurgence of cases across several countries, there could be travel bans restored, notably with the U.S., though the situation is still fluid. The Cannes Film Festival, which has been running for 6 days so far, has reported several COVID-19 cases despite a strict protocol.