Princess Diana, photographed at the Accord Hospice.

Princess Diana, photographed at the Accord Hospice. John MacIntyre / CC

Production has begun on the controversial new biopic, Spencer, by Pablo Larrain, which will tell the story of the breakdown of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage.

Filming has started on the new Princess Diana biopic, Spencer, starring American actress Kirsten Stewart in the title role. The movie, which will focus on one weekend in the life of Diana as she spends the Christmas holiday with the Royal Family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, and decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles. The controversial biopic is expected to be released in autumn 2021, ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Princess's death. 

Spencer was written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and will also star BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), and Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible).

IMDB reports the plotline as "During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles."

In a statement released alongside the first image of Stewart as Diana, the actress best known for her role in the Twilight movie series said "Spencer is a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life.

"It is a physical assertion of the sum of her parts, which starts with her given name: Spencer. It is a harrowing effort for her to return to herself, as Diana strives to hold onto what the name Spencer means to her.”

Producers Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, Juan de Dios Larraín, Paul Webster, and Pablo Larraín said “We are extremely grateful for the support of our distributors worldwide, our partners, and funders who have shown tremendous commitment to us in these extraordinary times. With Kristen Stewart, Steven Knight, and the rest of our fantastic team both in front and behind the camera, we are bringing Spencer to the world. It is an independently produced film made for the big screen about an iconic woman’s own declaration of independence. We couldn’t be more excited."

Writer Steven Knight told Variety "Working on the script has been a pleasure. I think it’s a different perspective on a story that we don’t all know well, but we all feel we now are a part of it.

"And I just found the whole thing fascinating. To talk to people who knew her and to try and get a view of this person — who this person really was — who was an ordinary person in extraordinary situations is the way I think of her.”

What do you think? Will you be watching Spencer when it's released?