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Kristen Stewart Reveals Physical Toll Of Playing Princess Diana In Spencer

When it was announced that Kristen Stewart would be playing Princess Diana in the new Pablo Larrain film Spencer, fans and critics alike were cautiously optimistic. While the role is certainly a departure for Kristen Stewart, she’s proven her acting goes far beyond playing a morose teenager in love with a vampire. The weight of the public’s expectations, however, started to take a toll on the Los Angeles native - and that pressure began to manifest in unexpected ways. 

In a recent interview with BBC News, Kristen Stewart revealed that she initially dealt with some pretty intense nerves prior to filming Spencer. As many people who struggle with anxiety can attest, emotional distress can have serious effects on the body. Kristen Stewart revealed: 

I couldn't open my mouth for two weeks before we started shooting...I had TMJ [temporomandibular joint dysfunction] to the point where I was like, completely locked up. I was like, ‘Huh, I guess I’m really nervous – I was really tripping out until we started.

Kristen Stewart has spoken at length about the pressure associated with playing a beloved public figure like Princess Di. To alleviate her anxiety, she dove headfirst into preparation. From scouring biographies to studying documentaries to watching The Crown, no one could have accused Kristen Stewart of slacking off. Beyond the logistical research, however, Kristen Stewart focused on getting into Princess Diana’s head in order to bring a touch of nuanced honesty and avoid stereotypes. She said: 

​​I read everything, I wanted every photo... watched all the interviews that I could get my hands on. I watched The Crown, I watched every iteration of interpretation. I just tried to absorb her in an emotional and general way, and then trust the process, and expect her to show up. I think to do her justice is to allow her to be impulsive. Anything I watched her in, whether it was an interview, or even in a still photograph, it always feels unpredictable. Like you don't know what's going to happen.

Her dedicated research seemed to pay off. Kristen Stewart found a sort of kinship with the former Princess of Wales, one that made her relate to the trauma Princess Diana endured. She elaborated:

The movie is very surreal. I think that when you go through extreme trauma in life, there are times where you feel crazy. I never felt the implication of Diana, losing it...There are times where you are at odds with communication and therefore feel because of this muzzled energy, a bit locked in your own head. And she spoke about that.

Spencer will arrive in theaters on November 5, 2021. Kristen Stewart is joined by Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Timothy Spall (The Harry Potter series), Jack Farthing (The Lost Daughter), and Sean Harris (The Green Knight). 

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.