Playing Princess Diana Changed Kristen Stewart in This 1 Specific Way

The actor saying becoming the royal for her new film helped her get over a fear.

When Spencer hits theaters on Nov. 5, audiences will get to see Kristen Stewart's take on Princess Diana in a film the actor has described as a "poetic interpretation" rather than a straight-up biopic. Unsurprisingly, playing the iconic royal who lost her life at only 36 affected Stewart greatly while she was playing her. But, there's one specific way in which portraying Diana made Stewart more like her: Because of her, Stewart is no longer afraid of dancing in public.

Director Pablo Larraín's film is set over three days toward the end of Princess Diana (née Lady Diana Spencer) and Prince Charles' marriage, while the royal family spends Christmas together at Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham Estate. It's an imagining of what might have happened during those days instead of being strictly tied to history. It also contains a dance montage, which is how Stewart learned her lesson from Diana. Read on to find out how Stewart says Diana's energy changed her for good.

RELATED: The Definitive Ranking of Every Actress Who's Played Princess Diana.

Stewart had to do a lot of dancing for the movie.

Kristen Stewart at the Venice Film Festival in 2019
Andrea Raffin /

In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Stewart opened up about portraying Diana, including the dance montage that was shot over the course of production.

"We shot it at the end of every single day for about 30 minutes just randomly throughout the house in different outfits," Stewart explained. "Some days I was f***ing angry, some days I was an absolute mess. Some days I felt an immense desire. I felt need and craving and wanting. And sometimes I felt really small and lonely and stupid, and then sometimes really vindictive. By the end of it, I was like, 'Please stop, Pablo. You can cut together a f***ing 12-hour movie.'"

Before making Spencer, she was never comfortable dancing.

Kristen Stewart at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016
Denis Makarenko /

Stewart always wished that she could dance freely, but it was something that made her uncomfortable. "I wish I could dance like nobody was watching," she said in a 2016 interview with AnOther magazine. "I danced the other night and it felt so f***in' good. And it's so not like me. I envy people like that so much. I'm pretty physical, but I really need to let myself go. Honestly, I just wish I could f***in' dance more. That's all."

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Being in Diana's shoes changed things for her.

Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in "Spencer"
NEON / YouTube

Stewart said that shooting the dance scenes as Diana "liberated" her. "I will say now this genuinely did kind of take off whatever leash I had on my energy," she told the Los Angeles Times. "This liberated the dancer inside of me. That is one thing I've taken from her. I will absolutely get up in front of anyone now. I'm just not embarrassed anymore. It's like ripping off the Band-Aid. Before, I just couldn't move. It just wasn't something that felt good."

She also said that she danced at a party after the movie screened at the Venice Film Festival. "We premiered our movie in Venice, and we threw this huge dance party, and I think I lost five pounds of sweat that night. And, yeah, I thought the dancing said so much about Diana."

Diana really did love dancing.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles dancing in 1980
Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Diana was interested in dance during her life, and even performed on stage on one memorable occasion. As a surprise for Charles, Diana performed a choreographed dance with ballet dancer Wayne Sleep on stage during an event at the Royal Opera House. They danced to "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel. "Our paths first crossed when she approached me for dance lessons in the early 1980s," Sleep wrote in The Guardian in 2017. "Diana loved ballet, but she also wanted to learn jazz, tap and contemporary." He explained that he couldn't teach her himself because he was away on tour so much, but they did come together for their surprise performance in 1985. Last year, it was memorably dramatized in The Crown.

Diana was also known to love music, particularly Duran Duran. "Diana was someone who loved pop music," Stewart told the Los Angeles Times. "I could just see her listening to Phil Collins and crying in the bathroom. And I could also see her bopping around her closet to Madonna."

RELATED: How Old 100 Iconic Stars Would Be If They Were Alive Today.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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