The actor is garnering early Oscars buzz for her performance in Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer,” which debuted last week at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival. She portrays Diana during a tumultuous Christmas in the early 1990s as she contemplates ending her marriage to Prince Charles (Jack Farthing).
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Tuesday, Stewart said she felt “some spooky, spiritual feelings” during her time on the “Spencer” set ― which she suggested may have been the presence of Diana herself.
“I felt like there were moments where I kind of got the sign-off,” she said. “It’s scary to tell a story about someone who’s not alive anymore and who already felt so invaded. I never wanted to feel like we were invading anything, just that we were kind of adding to the multiplicity of a beautiful thing.”
“She felt so alive to me when I was making this movie, even if it’s all between the ears and it was just a fantasy of mine,” she continued. “But there were moments where my body and mind would forget she was dead. ... Maybe two or three times a week, I would just fully break down about the fact that she had died. I just could not come to terms with it, because I was fighting to keep her alive every single day.”
“Spencer,” which hits theaters Nov. 5, is opening amid a wave of renewed cultural interest in Diana, who died in a 1997 car crash. In February, actor Emma Corrin won an Emmy for portraying the late royal in Netfix’s “The Crown.” Later this fall, Diana’s story will come to Broadway in a new musical, “Diana,” which has also been filmed for a Netflix release.
As for her portrayal of Diana, Stewart said she wanted to convey the energy of a “feral cat.”
“Any picture or interview I’ve ever seen of her, there’s an explosive, ground-shaking quality to her that I always feel like you never really know what’s going to happen,” she said. “Even when she’s walking the red carpet, it just feels a little bit scary. That could be projection, because we all know what happened. ... There’s no way to plan chaos. You just have to fall into it.”