Spencer producer Paul Webster has been talking about the long path it took to get the film made ahead of its Venice premiere this week.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done” is the claim producer Paul Webster has made of the long process involved in getting Princess Diana film Spencer to the big screen, where it will be premiering in competition this week at the Venice Film Festival. Collaborating with director Pablo Larrain and his producer brother Juan de Dios Larrain as well as writer Steven Knight, it seems that whilst the concept came to the team quickly, funding was the biggest hurdle in getting Spencer made.

The plan had been to receive 50% of the films funding from a British film company, with the team sending the script out to BFI, BBC Film and Film4.“We went to all three and they all loved the script — and none of them put any money in.” It was for this reason that the majority of the film was shot in Germany, allowing the team to access German funding.

Webster also discussed Kristen Stewart’s casting, saying that the script was seen by two British actresses who ultimately turned it down before they reached out to Stewart. “[As an American] she would not have the baggage that others more intimately connected with the UK would have.”

Producing the film during Covid-19 also proved to be a difficult battle for the team. Shooting on a small budget across 32 days in a German castle, they faced a travel ban that did not allow people to leave the country.

“It meant all the actors had to stay the entire time. Even if they were only working for a week they had to stay and were not allowed to go back and forth,” Webster went on “It was an expensive way to make a movie — this is an independent movie, [budgeted at] less than $20m — and it proved incredibly difficult managing things. There were a lot of hidden costs that we couldn’t anticipate — due to Covid delays, due to the bureaucracy, things not arriving and all that kind of stuff.”

It sounds as though the road to Venice has been long and difficult for the Spencer team, but based on the reactions to last weeks poster and trailer release, it might just be a victorious path in the end.


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