EXCLUSIVE: Pablo Larraín is set to direct and Kristen Stewart to play Princess Diana in Spencer, a drama that shapes up to be a hot package for the virtual Cannes Market. The Steven Knight-scripted film covers a critical weekend in the early ‘90s, when Diana decided her marriage to Prince Charles wasn’t working, and that she needed to veer from a path that put her in line to one day be queen. The drama takes place over three days, in one of her final Christmas holidays in the House of Windsor in their Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. Production is expected to begin in early 2021.
The package will be unveiled to buyers at the virtual Cannes Market by CAA Media Finance and FilmNation Entertainment. CAA Media Finance arranged the financing and will make the U.S. distribution deal with Endeavor Content, while FilmNation Entertainment represents international rights.
The film will be produced by Larraín, director of films that include Jackie and Neruda, along with Fabula partner Juan de Dios, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski and Paul Webster. Knight’s script work includes Eastern Promises, Peaky Blinders, Locke and The Hundred-Foot Journey.
While growing up in Chile didn’t make Larraín as obsessed as many were in Diana and Charles’ storybook wedding, or the endless coverage as their high-profile union was frayed by the pressures of fame and the crown. But he grew up reading fairy tales literature, and sees this as the antithesis of that trope.
“We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is,” Larraín told Deadline. “Usually, the prince comes and finds the princess, invites her to become his wife and eventually she becomes queen. That is the fairy tale. When someone decides not to be the queen, and says, I’d rather go and be myself, it’s a big big decision, a fairy tale upside down. I’ve always been very surprised by that and thought it must have been very hard to do. That is the heart of the movie.
“How and why do you decide to do that? It’s a great universal story that can reach millions and millions of people, and that’s what we want to do. We want to make a movie that goes wide, connects with a worldwide audience that is interested in such a fascinating life.”