Spencer: Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana

Spencer: the controversial scene that’s been cut from Kristen Stewart’s new trailer

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“This film is a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Princess Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life,” promises Kristen Stewart of Spencer. And, as the new trailer makes all too clear, it doesn’t shy away from her darker days. 

In 1997, Princess Diana – often referred to as “the people’s princess” – was killed in a car crash in Paris. She was just 36.

The nation went into a state of mourning, laying thousands upon thousands of flowers outside St James’s Palace. Millions tuned in to watch footage of her royal ceremonial funeral. 

Since then, a number of actors have done their best to portray the inimitable royal on screen – the most recent of which is The Crown’s Emma Corrin.

Now, though, the trailer for Kristen Stewart’s Spencer, a very different kind of Diana biopic, has landed. And it takes us back to one pivotal – albeit incredibly dark – weekend in December 1991.

Watch the trailer for Spencer below:

In various scenes throughout the trailer, Diana can be seen struggling with the pressures of royal life. 

“You have to be able to do things you hate,” Jack Farthing’s Prince Charles tells her. “There has to be two of you. There’s the real one and the one they take pictures of.” 

For Diana, who prefers things to be “simple and ordinary,” this is unwelcome advice. And so, when Sally Hawkins’ unnamed character tells her to “fight them. You are your own weapon,” it seems as if she’s 100% ready to take up arms against The Firm.

However, while the UK trailer ends on a hopeful note, with Diana staring off into the distance with an unreadable expression on her face, the US trailer features a scene which feels… well, it feels decidedly more ominous.

“Will they kill me, do you think?” asks Diana, spinning around anxiously. 

It remains unclear as to why the controversial moment has been cut from the UK’s version of the trailer. And, similarly, it’s uncertain who the ‘they’ is that Stewart’s Diana is referring to – the royals, the press, or some other nefarious force?

Princess Diana in red and white hat
Diana, Princess of Wales, in Canada during a state visit to Edmonton, Alberta (Getty/Bettmann)

Whatever you make of it, the film received a rapturous five-minute standing ovation (and rave reviews, particularly for Stewart’s performance) following its recent premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

And, as per Insider’s report, this may largely be due to Stewart’s ability to connect with her subject matter; indeed, she told journalists that she has never felt “taller” in a film role than she did as Princess Diana.

“I took more pleasure in my physicality making this movie than I have on anything,” she said. “I felt more free and alive and able to move, and taller, even.”

Reflecting on the late Diana’s life, Stewart added: “There are some people endowed with an undeniable, penetrating energy.

“But the really sad thing about her is that – as normal and casual and disarming in her air [as she is] – she also felt so isolated and lonely. She made everyone else feel accompanied and bolstered by this light and all she wanted was to have it back.”

So, what’s the plot of Spencer?

“The Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage has long since grown cold,” promises the film’s official synopsis.

“Though rumours of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. This year, things will be a whole lot different.”

Who makes up the cast of Spencer?

As mentioned already, Stewart will be portraying Diana as she comes to the decision that it’s time to end her marriage.

Meanwhile, Olga Hellsing stars as Sarah, Duchess of York, Amy Manson as Anne Boleyn, and Niklas Kohrt as Prince Andrew. 

These actors will be joined by Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, and Sean Harris, although their roles in the film have yet to be confirmed.

Is there a trailer for Spencer?

Filming has yet to begin on Spencer, so there’s no trailer just yet.

However, an official image of Stewart as Diana has been released, and… well, you can see for yourself below:

Spencer: Kristen Stewart as Diana.

Is there a poster for Spencer?

A new poster for Spencer was released this week, featuring Stewart’s Diana collapsing with her face in her hands, her ornate ballgown enveloping the entire bottom half of the poster.

Check it out:

Spencer: Teaser Poster
The new poster for Spencer has triggered a wave of reactions on social media.

The poster has, as ever, left social media utterly divided.

“It’s uncanny how much Kristen Stewart looks like Lady Diana,” reads one comment on social media.

“One of the finest movie posters in recent times,” adds another.

“Sadness, despair, anguish… everything that consumed Diana during her complex life. I think it’s gorgeous,” says another.

And still one more notes: “Stunning poster. Diana wore the best clothes and had access to high end fashion and yet she was sad, alone, and often felt ridiculed and isolated from her surroundings. This poster captures that and more. Love this!”

Then there are those who have drawn a comparison between the poster and a viral pop culture moment.

As one Twitter user puts it: “Been trying to figure what the Spencer poster reminds me of and it just hit me…”

On the flipside, of course, there are those who aren’t all that sure about the film at all.

“Another one. Hasn’t there been enough films/TV shows [about Diana] made?” says one comment.

“When will this poor woman be left to rest in peace. Jesus we know more about her personal life than she did,” rants another user.

What are people saying about Spencer?

Spencer is a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life,” promises Stewart of the film, which is directed by Pablo Larraín.

“It is a physical assertion of the sum of her parts, which starts with her given name; Spencer. It is a harrowing effort for her to return to herself, as Diana strives to hold onto what the name Spencer means to her.”

And, responding to the question of how in the world she intends to do justice to the late royal, Stewart said on Jimmy Kimmel Live: “I mean, every perspective is different and there is no way you can get it right because what is a fact in terms of the personal? Experience?”

Stewart added: “My film is set for about three days and it’s a really poetic inner concept of how that might have felt rather than giving new information. 

“So somehow we don’t have a brand to beat. We just love them too.”

When will Spencer be released?

The film will be released in US cinemas on 5 November 2021. A UK release date is yet to be announced but it is anticipated that the film will be released in autumn 2021. 

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Images: Getty/Spencer

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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