Kristen Stewart Tells PEOPLE 'We Danced Our Way' to Revealing Princess Diana in 'Spencer'

Kristen Stewart shares in this week's issue how embodying the dance-loving Diana "opened me up in such a cool way"

Kristen Stewart
Photo: Neon

Kristen Stewart didn't just have to tackle an upper crust British accent to play Princess Diana, she also had to master movement to fully embody the People's Princess.

"We kind of danced our way through making Spencer," the actress, 31, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.

Despite decades in the spotlight, Stewart admits, "I've always been super intimidated and self-conscious," so dancing has "never been my way into a party. It's never been my way into self-expression at all."

But emulating the Princess of Wales "opened me up in such a cool way," shares the star, who is earning Oscar buzz for her performance.

princess diana
Reg Wilson/shutterstock

Stewart describes Princess Diana as "really obsessed with movement and dance," and indeed the royal's love of dance was famously dramatized in season 4 of The Crown, when Golden Globe winner Emma Corrin strapped on character shoes to re-create the princess's 1985 duet to Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl."

Dancer Jay Webb played Diana's real-life dance partner Wayne Sleep, who choreographed the surprise routine for Prince Charles (portrayed on the show by Emmy winner Josh O'Connor).

Diana shocked her husband — and made headlines — when she twirled her way through the up-tempo jazz number in front of an audience of 2,500 at the Royal Opera House in London.

kristen stewart

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Diana's physical self-expression (or at least Stewart's interpretation of it) is on display in Spencer via a montage that had Stewart quite literally dancing through filming — a daily challenge from director Pablo Larraín that the actress initially struggled to accept.

"At the end of every single day, there was 30 minutes of extra time to pick an outfit and for Pablo to pick a song in a room and just go," she told Entertainment Weekly in September. "He said, 'Because we're not doing everything chronologically, we're not doing a biopic, this is your chance to tell the whole story. All you need to do is inhabit the space and listen to the music and carry her with you, and everything you know about being in this place, and just see what happens. See if it comes out.'"

She admits, "The first time, I didn't want to do it. I'm such a control freak I was like, 'I need to know what I'm doing. I want to be prepared for what I'm doing!' But I came down these stairs, and I know it sounds so silly and esoteric, but it felt so f---ing spiritual and so spooky, and I was so overwhelmed by the feeling of her. And I don't mean like ghosty stuff. I just mean everything she's made me think and feel, and it all just kind of happened in a moment. I was like, 'You were so right. You're so right about this.'"

Spencer is out in theaters now — for more insights on Stewart's buzzy turn as Princess Diana, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE!

Related Articles