With the new Princess Diana biopic, “Spencer,” one might’ve thought Kristen Stewart was leaving the supernatural far behind with the “Twilight” series.
Instead the sometimes eerie, surreal style of “Spencer” plays right into Stewarts’ preternatural ability to delve into the supernatural mood of things.
If you’re familiar with Royal Family biopics in general, this left turn is a completely fresh way to look at the usual House of Windsor shenanigans. Since her tragic death in 1997, Princess Diana has come to be portrayed as almost mythologically perfect, and “Spencer” helps to humanize her.
The film focuses specifically around the time when Princess Diana seemingly came to the conclusion that she might leave her marriage to Prince Charles, and all the drama that comes with it.
As Entertainment Weekly points out, one of the more memorable and reality-bending moments of the film is when Prince Charles gives Diana a huge pearl necklace for Christmas; and in the subsequent, tense holiday meal, Diana yanks the necklace from her neck, sending the pearls flying into her soup and then into the Princess’ mouth.
Or so it seems?
Whether you believe this scene actually occurred in real life, Stewart most definitely chowed down on the pearls. But don’t worry, she didn’t go that hardcore method acting with it. The “pearls” were actually customized candies.
As she explained, “it was chocolate, so I was actually very conscious of not showing that and keeping my mouth closed.”
In a subtle anecdote proving how serious Stewart was in her approach to this role, she continued to explain that she even made some sound suggestions to the jewelry-eating scene.
"I saw a cut of that scene, and they hadn't mixed the crunching [noise],” she said, “they had taken it down. I think sometimes when you're really close to something, you think certain things are mistakes when they're not, do you know what I mean? So [the sound mixers] were like 'Oh, but you can hear it, it sounds like M&Ms!' And I was like, 'Yeah, but imagine if it was really audible, that crack.' And so they put it back in."
While the film openly describes itself as a “fable from a true tragedy," Stewart said she didn’t want to include any flat-out fibs.
Take for instance a scene in the original script in which Diana goes out for a smoke. The problem, said Stewart, was that Diana "f---ing hated smoking," So she asked that it not be included, even if it played well within the context of the film’s layered depiction of the Princess.
"I just thought it was really important,” said Stweart, “considering we were going to push the envelope so far already. So any drastic wrongness I was like, 'You guys, f--- no, please.'"
“I know it's an interpretation,” she continued, “it's an imagining, it's a poem, it's all of this -- and none of this is to excuse anything that we got wrong -- but it was genuinely just kind of a meditation on what she inspired.”
“Spencer” is in theaters now, and is garnering the kind of critical huzzahs that usually morph into Oscar buzz.
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