Playing Lady Di on Spencer certainly wasn't the easiest part of Kristen Stewart's career. Ironically, the "Queen of Hearts", of which everyone probably has their own image in mind: style icon, mother of Princes William and Harry, unhappy wife of Prince Charles. On the other hand: It couldn't get any more boring than Oliver Hirschbiegel's Diana biopic with Naomi Watts. And if anyone knows what it's like to be hounded by the press, it's Kristen Stewart.
Kristen Stewart, like Diana Spencer, had bad experiences with the press
She can sing a song about what the press thought about her when she was still Robert Pattinson's girlfriend: "Sometimes we live together, then he breaks up with me. Maybe I'm pregnant and we've been married a few times in the last year," she sighed during our 2010 Twilight interview. And it got worse when she was cheating on him with director Rupert Sanders, and even more so when she decided to date women too. Filming on Spencer was no better, with Kristen Stewart sometimes leaving the hotel in the trunk of a car. "When I'm on a promotional tour, everything is artificial," she told us back in 2010.
But Kristen Stewart wasn't only able to relate to Lady Di's quarrels with the press. In "Spencer" everything is artificial in the British Royals in the castle - and not very warm. Kristen Stewart feels sensitively in the role of the shy Lady Di - loved by millions and of all things in her most intimate area, her marriage, rejected by her own partner. And that's exactly what, fictionally enriched, is what "Spencer" by Pablo Larraín is about. He staged Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy after the death of JFK as if under a magnifying glass.
"Spencer" - three days in Christmas hell with the Royals
In "Spencer" there are three days on Christmas 1991 with the royal family at Sandringham Castle that become hell for Diana. One of the least of her problems is that her unfaithful husband Prince Charles has the curtains sewn shut so that paparazzi don't photograph Diana changing. The fact that he whispers to the bulimic Diana at the table that she shouldn't throw up the nice meal again right away, rather. Of course she does it anyway – in front of our eyes. But as stylishly melancholic as everything she does here.
The fact that Diana feels as if Anne Boleyn, who once had her husband Henry VIII beheaded so that he could marry his new flame, appears to her in the film seems a little thick - about as thick as the string of pearls Charles wore Gave Di for Christmas. He apparently admired the same model before Camilla Parker Bowles. She doesn't need to be present all the time to make it clear how "crowded" Diana's marriage to the third in the league is. A short camera pan to Camilla in front of the church from afar is enough. And the chain? It's like a dog collar that's too tight around Kristen Stewart's neck. Lady Di will imagine a lot of things that could happen to the gigantic pearls over the course of "Spencer".
It's a bit strange, this very carefully told film, which demands of the viewer a sometimes unwieldy Lady Di with delusions. One who is picky about the staff and sometimes complains that the dress doesn't suit her state of mind. But also a woman who loves her sons, even if she is more of a great friend to them than a mother. No, one could understand if William and Harry didn't want to see that, even if the scenes with the two children are the nicest in the whole movie.
How Kristen Stewart plays Lady Diana
In the first shots, Kristen Stewart seems a bit awkward as Lady Di, almost a little fake. But you quickly get used to it and forget that Kristen Stewart, who is rather petite at 1.65 meters, is significantly smaller than Lady Di was. Sometimes she seems almost lost in outfits with heavy shoulder pads.
The fact that we still accept her in the role is not due to the dentures or the Lady Di signature blow-dried haircut – the make-up and costume designers from “The Crown” also did a great job there. It's the vulnerable mixture of slightly angular shyness, sensuality and drive that Kristen Stewart is displaying here. Anyone who remembers Lady Di's public appearances will recognize some of her. The fact that she reminds us of this is the great achievement of Kristen Stewart, whose idiosyncratic performance is what is worth seeing in an otherwise rather cold film.