On Aug. 31, 1997, Princess Diana died in a Paris hospital after a tragic car crash. Next year, in 2022, it will be 25 years since her passing. Ironically, this is also the moment when her story is being told in multiple aspects of the media. The Crown kicked it off in 2020 with the introduction of Emma Corrin as Diana in Season 4, and next year will spend an entire season focusing on the first five years of the 1990s and the dissolution of her marriage. But Netflix isn't the only one recounting her life a quarter-century on. This year's crop of Oscar hopefuls includes a biopic, Spencer, telling the same story.
When Spencer was initially announced last year, it was sold as a package deal with actress Kristen Stewart (Twilight) as the titular late Princess and Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín at the helm. Larraín is already well known on the awards circuit for his last Oscar-nominated biopic, Jackie, detailing the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination from the point of view of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, played by Natalie Portman. This new film, which focuses on the famous Christmas as Sandringham where Diana and Charles decided to move forward with their divorce, is expected to garner the same attention, with the possibility of nominations for Stewart's leading role.
With such high expectations, fans have been eyeing this project nervously. The Crown has so far nailed Diana in both of its casting choices, launching Corrin's career after Season 4, and the first photos of Elizabeth Debicki in Season 5 look to hit the same highs. On the other hand, Stewart is known for a very different style, stemming from her worldwide fame due to the Twilight franchise, and some have wondered if she can pull off the look or the voice. The first photos have been promising.
Now, the trailer is here, and though the images are good, the accent...well, let's not judge yet.
Here's the official synopsis:
Spencer takes place during the Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England when Diana decides to leave the marriage.
The poster for the new film is gorgeous, by the way.
Viewers should note that this trailer is a shortened version of the footage debuted by Neon Pictures at this week's CinemaCon, which had far more dialogue, including multiple scenes between Diana and Charles. According to Deadline, the extended footage includes a discussion of the scrutiny that's placed on them by the media, including Diana saying, "If they're circling, it seems they're circling just me," to which Charles retorts: "Perhaps that's because I always take care to close my curtains."
PBS fans who are just learning about this project will be delighted to know Charles is played by a familiar face, Jack Farthing, who played George Warleggan in Poldark. Other co-stars include Timothy Spall (The King's Speech), Sally Hawkins (The Hollow Crown), Sean Harris (The Green Knight), Thomas Douglas (Tatort), and newcomer Olga Hellsing. The script comes from Steven Knight, who is best known as the series creator behind Peaky Blinders.
Spencer is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters worldwide on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.