Kristen Stewart on ‘Spencer’ and committing to Princess Diana

▶ Watch Video: Kristen Stewart on her Princess Diana in “Spencer”

In her all-too brief lifetime, Princess Diana held a few official titles, but her unofficial title, “the People’s Princess,” is the one that stuck. She was also known as the most photographed woman in the world: her every move, and every outfit, captured on camera, even in her most difficult times, like the days after her separation from Prince Charles. 

“Whatever uncertainties the last few weeks may have brought,” she said in 1992, “I want you to be certain of this: our work together will continue unchanged.”

Of course, we can’t know what Diana’s life was really like when she was out of camera range, but that hasn’t stopped filmmakers from trying to fill in the blanks. “Spencer” (the title comes from Diana’s maiden name) is, in the words of director Pablo Larrain, a fable based on true events. The events in this case are a 1991 Christmas gathering at the Queen’s estate, back when Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles was going down in flames, and she was presumably fed up to here with the constraints of being a royal.

Kristen Stewart and Jack Farthing as Princess Diana and Prince Charles in “Spencer”:

In the film, Diana is played with brittle intensity by actress Kristen Stewart. She seems to nail every detail, from her high-born accent, to her kind-of-trapped-animal look, to her relationship with the press – something Stewart knows a thing or two about.

Correspondent Tracy Smith asked Stewart, “Can you get out without being followed by cameras?”

“Sometimes, yeah. If I run really fast!”

kristen-stewart-tracy-smith-run-really-fast.jpg Kristen Stewart, with correspondent Tracy Smith. 

CBS News

At 31, Stewart, like Diana herself, has become the kind of celebrity that the paparazzi can’t seem to get enough of. She shrugs off comparisons with the late Princess Di, but she’s fiercely proud of how she played her.

Smith asked, “Tell me what you felt or thought when you first saw the movie all together?”

“I think it’s Diana; it’s probably not, it’s our view of her,” she replied. “It’s our love for her. And when I watched the movie I couldn’t stop crying. I just couldn’t, like, ’cause at the end it kind of, it has this sort of lighter note, but I feel the loss of her so intensely, so often.”

To do Diana justice, Stewart spent months perfecting the princess’ speech and movement. But inwardly she was so nervous that, in the days before the cameras rolled, she couldn’t even get her mouth to open.

“You actually had, like, TMJ?” asked Smith.

kristen-stewart-interview-a-1280.jpg Kristen Stewart, the star of “Spencer.”

CBS News

“Yeah. It gave my body a lot of anxiety that my mind sort of didn’t really know about,” Stewart said.

“What do you think was going on there?”

“It’s a big deal, you know? I really didn’t want to mess this one up. And sometimes your body knows more than you do about your stress levels, you know? Stress can manifest so physically.

“It was like, everyone had done such an incredible job putting together the world. I was like, ‘All right, bro, now it’s on you.’ And then, I couldn’t open my mouth!” she laughed.

“I think also, everyone wanted to know if I was nervous so much. It was like, ‘You must be freaking out playing Princess Diana. You must be just, like, straight trippin’.’ I was like [through clenched teeth], ‘I’m completely fine. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t care. I got it. I got it. I love her.'”

“But then somehow it just, it opened up?”

“I got lucky, yeah,” Stewart said.

Seems she’s had her share of luck. Born in Los Angeles, Stewart started going up for on-screen roles as a child. Her parents, who both worked in the movie business, reluctantly let her chase her dreams … and when she wanted to blow off an audition, her mom wouldn’t let her.

“I genuinely remember being like, ‘We don’t even need to do this one,’ and her telling me, ‘You should just go to this last one, because you have an appointment, and you should not be somebody who is just, like [blowing off appointments],’ you know what I mean?”

“Just honor your commitments?”

“Yeah. And thank God, because – it sounds like a story, like, in retrospect I’m like, “God, if my mom wasn’t like, ‘Don’t blow off your commitments,’ I would’ve not been an actor.”

By age 11, she was well on her way to stardom, in movies like 2002’s “Panic Room” opposite Jodie Foster. 

Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart are a mother and daughter confronted with a home invasion in “Panic Room”:

And then, there was the “Twilight” saga:  

“You started ‘Twilight’ at 17,” said Smith. “Were you in any way prepared for what happened?”

“Uh … no!”

Seems no one was: In 2008, Stewart starred in the first of what would be five “Twilight” movies, based on the books about a teenage girl who falls for a handsome young vampire. 

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson fly through the trees in “Twilight”: 

By the time the final “Twilight” installment came out in 2012, Kristen Stewart was a household name, and the highest-paid actress in the world. 

And as if the movies alone weren’t enough to keep fans in a frenzy, Stewart and co-star Robert Pattinson were a couple off-screen as well – and the tabloids could barely keep up.

“There will be nothing like that in my career, you know what I mean?” Stewart said. “It’s hard to compare that to anything else.”

“There may be. There’s a good chance – ”

“I’m like, ‘No, there won’t, no, no. Trust me!”

Truth is, there have been a few other high points since. For her work in 2015’s “Clouds of Sils Maria,” she became the first American actress ever to win a Cesar, the French equivalent of an Oscar.

Juliette Binoche, as an actress, and Kristen Stewart, as her assistant, discuss a young star’s 3D sci-fi flick in “Clouds of Sils Maria”:

But these days Stewart’s personal life is still making news: the most recent is her engagement to longtime girlfriend Dylan Meyer. Smith asked, “Are you full-on wedding planning now?”

“No. It’s a lot! It’s a daunting thing, kind of, yeah. I have a lot going on right now.”

“Yeah, you kinda do, right? So, there’s no date set. It’s sometime in the future?”

“Yeah. Like, yeah, I think it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen. But I also don’t want to be engaged for, like, five years. Like, we wanna do it, you know what I mean? So.”

“Sooner rather than later?”


For now, she’s still busy with all things Diana. Critics have called her performance one of the best of the year, and she is very much in the Oscar conversation. But Stewart says she’s just happy to be here.

Smith asked, “How much of it do you think is luck?”

“I am so lucky,” Stewart replied. “I happen to live in L.A. My parents happen to be, you know, respectively script supervisor and first AD. Like, those things are so random. So yeah, I think, there’s just a vast amount of coincidence.”

“And a little bit of skill, too, maybe?”

“Oh yeah, I’ll do anything for this [movie]. I’d climb out of a ditch and rip my fingernails off for this movie. Like, and all of this sounds completely, like, histrionic and totally, like, whatever, too much, exaggerated. Absolutely.”

“It’s true?”

“Yeah. You need to, like, love it like a psycho. That’s the only way to make something, like, so committed and, like, so true.”

To watch a trailer for “Spencer” click on the video player below:

For more info:

Story produced by John D’Amelio. Editor: Mike Levine. 

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