The world is getting not one, but two portrayals of the late Princess Diana in coming months. First, British actress Emma Corrin will play the former royal in season four of Netflix’s drama, The Crown, and then Kristen Stewart will be hitting the big screen in the new biopic, Spencer.
Of course, playing one of the most beloved figures in modern times is mildly terrifying, even for an actress as experienced as Stewart. Speaking to InStyle for the cover of its November issue, the 30-year-old said that she’s already done a lot of research for the role, despite filming not starting until January.
“In terms of research, I’ve gotten through two and a half biographies, and I’m finishing all the material before I actually go make the movie,” Stewart said. “It’s one of the saddest stories to exist ever, and I don’t want to just play Diana—I want to know her implicitly. I haven’t been this excited about playing a part, by the way, in so long.”
Spencer spans a pivotal weekend in the early ’90s, retelling Diana’s decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles and break away from the royal family. On top of book research, Stewart is also already working with a dialect coach to perfect Diana’s specific British accent, calling it “intimidating as all hell.”
“The accent is intimidating as all hell because people know that voice, and it’s so, so distinct and particular,” Stewart explained. “I’m working on it now and already have my dialect coach.”
During the interview, the actress also opened up about publicly coming out as queer, saying that she used to be cagey and tried to hide all of her past relationships – with both women and men – from the world. “The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it’s like, ‘God, I’m 21 years old.’ I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I’ve been with. Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn’t like giving myself to the public, in a way. It felt like such thievery,” she said.
“This was a period of time when I was sort of cagey. Even in my previous relationships, which were straight, we did everything we could to not be photographed doing things—things that would become not ours. So I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn’t something I understood then. Only now can I see it. Retrospectively, I can tell you I have experience with this story. But back then I would have been like, ‘No, I’m fine. My parents are fine with it. Everything’s fine.’ That’s bullshit. It’s been hard. It’s been weird. It’s that way for everyone.”