Certain towering public figures have been portrayed numerous times by actors in movies, TV and theater.
Such is what tends to happen when a person leads a life of great import, someone who changed history, who is complex or, at times, downright inscrutable.
Princess Diana, who would have been 59 today, checked all of those boxes. She lived for only 36 years yet has been portrayed by more than a dozen people, mostly in productions centered around her (though sometimes as a supporting player) and always as an object of rapt fascination.
And now, more than 22 years after her death, yet another actress—although perhaps the first who's experienced the sort of paparazzi mob that the Princess of Wales faced off against constantly—has been cast in yet another Diana film, one that aims to get beneath the surface and re-humanize the iconic People's Princess.
Kristen Stewart "is one of the great actors around today," Pablo Larraíne, who plans to direct the actress in a biopic called Spencer, told Deadline last month. "To do this well, you need something very important in film, which is mystery. Kristin can be many things, and she can be very mysterious and very fragile and ultimately very strong as well, which is what we need. The combination of those elements made me think of her."
Similar to his 2016 film Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as first lady Jacqueline Kennedy navigating the days following her husband's assassination, Spencer will focus on a few pivotal days in Diana's life in 1992 when she had to decide what to do as her marriage to Prince Charles continued its irreversible downward spiral.
Portman was nominated for an Oscar. If Stewart garners such honors, it will certainly be a first for a Diana movie, none of them so far having been able to rise to the occasion that the late royal's hauntingly powerful—and yes, inimitably juicy—story remains to this day.
But here are the actresses who have embraced the daunting role nevertheless:
"Diana is such a powerful icon, where millions and millions of people, not just women, but many people around the world felt empathy toward her in her life," Larraíne told Deadline. "We decided to get into a story about identity, and around how a woman decides somehow, not to be the queen. She's a woman who, in the journey of the movie, decides and realizes that she wants to be the woman she was before she met Charles."
The director continued, "We believe that this is a movie that could create interest around the planet. This is a beloved, iconic women and we have everything in front of us to do a beautiful movie and we are working very hard to get it made."
At least there will always be a place for a closer look at Princess Diana.
"You would be amazed at how many people have no clue about this story," Erin Davie, who plays Camilla Parker-Bowles in the musical Diana, remarked to Theater Mania at a cast event in February. "I cannot tell you how many times I've told somebody 'I'm working on the Princess Diana musical' and they go, 'Yeah, who was she again?'"
We are amazed, actually. But if there's anything that the litany of Diana-inspired productions have proven so far, it's that there is always more to this story.