Written by By Sasha Bogursky, CNN
A different, more outspoken version of Diana, the princess of Wales is on show at the London Film Festival, where Kristen Stewart — in a different role — plays the title role in “Diana,” a biopic from British filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel.
In the film, which is a fictional account of the final few years of Diana’s life, the body of the princess is wrapped in photographs and faux flowers. Bloodlessly undressed for a TV interview in Paris in 1997, her bodyguards guard as her archive of unanswered letters and cards is shuffled away. Hirschbiegel contrasts the events Diana so memorably described in her final radio interview — an attempt to call on a spiritual side — with a reality so diametrically opposed to them, only the camera and a tour guide can help tell the story.
It’s a fictionalized portrayal — one Stewart found difficult to process.
“I’m somebody who gets very attached to a lot of really (characters) that I play,” Stewart told the Guardian newspaper in a recent interview. “I’m a real fan of cinema. I had to remember she’s a real person and it’s fictionalized, so there’s a lot of distance there.”
Appearing at a festival where Diana is a presence, despite never having graced the screen, brought its own sets of emotions.
“I’ve never had to audition to be anything,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview, “but yeah, I would’ve auditioned for the role.”
By contrast, Stewart embraced playing a princess, saying she “stayed in (Diana’s) apartment, just in her apartment, for about five days — we’d been to her apartment four times already … She lived in a very beautiful apartment, but she had the kind of thing that Princess Diana always did — which was this underlying energies, or the aura, of this woman who was missing something. A kind of lingering energy I was moved by. I took her in.”