Since there's soo much to catch up on with Kristen Stewart at Cannes Film Festival promoting Cafe Society, I decided to compile all the new video and printed interviews together. Enjoy!
Kristen Stewart and Blake Lively for People Magazine
First things first. If you think Kristen Stewart is going to comment on Ronan Farrow’s essay criticizing the press and Hollywood talent for handling his father, Woody Allen, with kid gloves, you’re going to be sorely mistaken. (Allen directed her next film, Café Society, and Stewart addressed the allegations against him with Variety)
Stewart is as candid as they come these days for a member of the A-list, but she says she's not wading into that topic. That’s not to say she’s in love with Cannes either at this exact moment.
Stewart attended the world premiere for Café Society in gown and heels, then switched into checkered sneakers for the formal dinner afterward.
There's just one issue: Traditions are extreme at the festival, and women are forbidden from attending formal events without some sort of heel. (Men are not allowed in without a bow tie.) This has led to some major embarrassments, but no one is seemingly exempt, even Kristen Stewart, the only American actor to ever win France’s version of the Academy Award, the César.
"I had a man physically try and bar me. Like arm bar me," Stewart says during an interview the following afternoon. "There was a huge massive gaggle of people trying to get in, and I am small, so people usually don't notice. But I stood up [and went under the rope] and literally had like an arm's length, and I was like, 'Oh, fuck. Can I just sneak in there?' And he was like [in a French accent] 'Yes, you can pass the line, but you can't wear the shoes.'"
The 26-year-old actress looks at me directly and notes, "Nowadays if we walked in together, and they asked 'Why aren't you wearing heels?' I'd ask, 'Does he have to wear heels?' It's just archaic."
Why Kristen Stewart always watches her films
She’ll get to tempt fate again when she walks la Croisette next week for her second film premiering at this year’s festival, Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper. The pair first collaborated on Clouds of Sils Maria two years ago, earning Stewart the aforementioned César Award.
In the meantime, she's discussing Café Society. In the film, Stewart plays against type as Vonnie an initially innocent and idealistic girl who has recently moved to Los Angeles from Nebraska, but is also having a clandestine affair with a married man who just happens to be her boss.
Allen’s movies are infamous for their laid-back shooting schedules and Stewart describes making the film as a "pleasurable experience."
"We shot typically six to eight hour days. Sometimes five if that," Stewart says. "And I got to hang out with one of my favorite people in the world."
That person would be Jesse Eisenberg whom she also starred with in 2009's Adventureland and 2015's American Ultra. When she was told Jesse was attached to the project she jumped at the chance of chatting with Allen about the role.
The Twilight franchise star has no problem watching herself on the big screen, but that’s not the case with her good friend.
"I am deeply insecure, obviously, but it completes a process. When I disappoint myself or when I haven't satisfied something that I really felt was necessary it's debilitatingly painful. But I'm not embarrassed about what I look like or what I sound like," Stewart says.
"That's gone away. I could direct myself. I could make movies and watch it and analyze and fix it. Jesse can't watch anything. He can't stomach it. He always asks me many, many questions about the movies we've made together after the fact. 'Did this work? Did this work? Oh, so that stayed in.'"
Her next film is a ghost story
Personal Shopper is more of a mystery. It’s been rumored that the film features supernatural elements — a first for the normally more earthbound Assayas — but until this conversation the genre aspect of the picture was still shrouded in mystery. Even after seeing it, Stewart admits she’s too close to it to completely know what it’s about, but confirms it features supernatural elements.
"It's definitely a ghost story. I play a medium. A person who genuinely believes herself to be clairvoyant," Stewart says. "I think the scariest parts of the movie aren't about the ghosts, but really more about how she's always questioning reality and what that is. And those questions that you ask yourself before you go to sleep at night that sometimes don't allow you to sleep."
Stewart’s character, Maureen, lost her twin brother at some point and that is still, for lack of a better phrase, haunting her.
"She's half a person," she notes. "She just can't put herself back together, and she's questioning living in general. So she's obsessed with finding him and making contact, and it never happens. It's really, really painful so it's about so many things. Also, she's a personal shopper. So there is this other story that is about a girl who has weird identity issues and is very much drawn to something surface, shiny and she hates herself for it."It’s about so many things, it's really hard to talk about. I have no idea if any of that comes through. I'm so close to it, I just can't."
Stewart adds, "I can watch the Woody movie and go, 'It's good; it's fucking good. I know what it's about…' With Shopper, I'm genuinely like, 'Tell me what you think?' Those are my favorite movies, the ones where everyone has a different answer and asks different questions."
Stewart will be making her own directorial debut soon
It also turns out that Stewart may have the chance to direct herself sooner than you’d think. She reveals that she’ll make her screenwriting and helming debut with a currently untitled short that will shoot sometime in June or July.
The short features just one actor. Stewart is "diligently resisting the urge to just do it" herself.
"I know I can do it. I want to cultivate that relationship [with another actor]," Stewart says. "I want to facilitate. I want to kick start someone so badly to do what I want. "
She continues, "I think my short is written so fantastically. I wrote it a long time ago and now I'm like, 'Shit, it's gonna be deleted as soon as I make the movie.' It’s not a script anymore. It's just the realization of that. I love the words so much and the whole thing is words. There is no dialogue at all. I want to just read it out loud to people."
Meanwhile, Stewart will continue to enjoy her time in the South of France before Shopper debuts and she is simply adored. Even if she gives their beloved Cannes crap for their ladies shoe policy.
"It's strange. I definitely cop a lot of shit from a lot of different people in a lot of different countries and then I come here and it's like 'Oh, c'est perfect. Don't change! Don't change!' It's like, 'Okay.' I don’t interact like that so often."
"Café Society" arrives in theaters in the U.S. on July 15. "Personal Shopper" has not been dated for its American release date yet.
Following Olivier Assayas’ “The Clouds of Sils Maria,” which was partly financed by Chanel in 2014 and won Kristen Stewart France’s César award, the storied Paris label is once more contributing to the budget of the French director’s new flick. Called “Personal Shopper,” the ghost story set in the fashion world again stars Stewart and competes for the Palme d’Or, the film fortnight’s main prize.
“It’s Chanel-centric — incredibly so,” Stewart teased at a dinner Chanel co-hosted with Vanity Fair France at Tetou in Golfe Juan on Thursday night, drawing the likes of Blake Lively, Kirsten Dunst, Mads Mikkelsen, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon and Gaspard Ulliel. “And I play somebody who is very, very attracted to the shiny and beautiful and aesthetic and superficial things that she actually is quite self-hating about — yeah, it’s weird.”
Stewart added about her character: “She kinda has mad identity issues, and so the only way to tell that story really effectively and in an elevated way was to have the best of the best,” the 26-year-old mused, referring to Chanel, for whom she has become an ambassador and campaign star.
In the absence of Karl Lagerfeld, who chose to skip Cannes this season, the brand’s president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky noted how “it was a no-brainer to be part of this,” though he would not reveal how much Chanel chipped in “out of respect for the art.”
Stewart said the Assayas film was a particularly challenging one. “I was so certain that ‘Personal Shopper’ – if I did it correctly – would absolutely decimate me — we made sure that the Woody Allen movie ‘Café Society’ [this year’s festival opener] came first, because here I play this very light, sort of youthful character. And I knew that if I did ‘Personal Shopper’ I would just be on my ass — and I was,” Stewart said, laughing in her signature self-deprecating way.
The L.A. native’s screen credits include “Still Alice” with Julianne Moore and “Welcome to the Rileys,” which helped audiences discover her as an edgy, indie actress as opposed to the teen idol she had become with the “Twilight” series opposite then-boyfriend Robert Pattinson.
After Cannes, she plans to take a leap behind the camera. “I wanted to make movies since I was 9 years old. And I just got my short financed,” she said, “so we start shooting in summer in New York.”
Much like her “Panic Room” co-star Jodie Foster, Stewart started off as a child actor and had to prove her way into the major league. “I made five films in the last two years, and I vowed that before I took another acting job, I would make a short and that I would do something for myself, like —,“ she giggles, “that I would change my appearance or get a tattoo, and I did both — I cut my hair off, I mean I bleached it out completely,” Stewart said of her bold, new look. And the ink?
The actress points to her Chanel-sleeved arm where the artwork is hidden. “Trust me, Google it. It’s ****ing everywhere.”
Few actors have made the transition from blockbuster lead to arthouse darling with such finesse as Kristen Stewart. The star, who shot to fame with the Twilight franchise in her teens, appears in two films at this year’s Cannes film festival: Woody Allen’s Cafe Society and Personal Shopper, her second film with French director Olivier Assayas – the first, Clouds of Sils Maria, made her the first American woman to win a Cesar award.
Speaking to promote Cafe Society at the festival, Stewart spoke of her respect and admiration for both directors, and her happiness in France, praising “the risk taken that’s different from why people make movies in the States”. She was eager to work with film-makers with “reckless intentions”, she said, adding: “I feel like there’s something psychic that happens when people are drawn to each other to make something. And I have so much faith in that that I will always follow it. And I will definitely make a few missteps and a few bad movies and things that aren’t so sure.”
Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart give excellent performances as an on-the-make New Yorker and the woman he falls in love with in Allen’s likable romance
Stewart will soon begin shooting her own film – a short based on her own script – and said she took inspiration from Assayas and Allen, as well as Sean Penn, with whom she worked on 2007‘s Into the Wild, one of the first of her various left-field films.
“I thought: ‘Yep, that’s how I’m going to do it!’” she said of watching Penn work. “There’s a firm, almost staggeringly strong diligence, yet he’s so trusting in the process of discovery that what happens is always like lightning in a bottle. I really love the idea of creating an environment in which you can just completely expose yourself and do things you otherwise wouldn’t.”
Once in a high-profile relationship with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, Stewart also discussed her changing relations with the media and her own ease with her private life. She recently told Variety she was impressed by the happiness of today’s teenagers to not be sexually pigeonholed, and would be keen to advocate for LGBT rights.
“I don’t want to be too guarded,” said Stewart of being photographed with whoever it is she happens to be dating. “I got really exceedingly famous at 17, and at 17 you don’t really know how to interact with more than a couple of people. You’re trying to figure it out. Who are you? What do I seem like? Can I affect that? Should I think about that? So then when it’s thrust at you and that conversation is owned by the masses and not just you or the closest people to you it kickstarts this weird thought process that is really unnatural.”
The situation, said Stewart, caused her to “just really shut down. I was so guarded. And that really doesn’t provide a fully- lived life. There are ways to interact with media and there are ways to interact with the public and, beyond that, just human beings. Because those are all very different things."
“So I’ve found this balance of ignoring the things I find worthless and really letting in the stuff that feels human and that is by not hiding and being honest.”
There’s often been the notion in the media that Woody Allen has stacked up a number of scripts over the years in a drawer which he churns out on a regular basis, but as his sister Letty Aronson, who also produced Cafe Society told us some time ago, her brother “might have a couple of scripts in his drawer, but he has a drawer full of ideas.”
And in the case of Cafe Society, a love triangle comedy about a young wannabe agent in Hollywood (Jesse Eisenberg) who falls for his studio boss/uncle’s (Steve Carell) secretary-mistress (Kristen Stewart) during 1930s Hollywood, the Oscar-winning filmmaker explains that the movie “was written fairly recently.”
“It was a romance that inspired me, the love story between the characters, that was the whole inspiration,” says Allen.
In regards to returning to Los Angeles as a film setting, 39 years after Annie Hall, Allen adds, “I could have made it contemporary,could have made it in New York or anywhere else, then the idea hit me to make him (Eisenberg’s character) an agent and the whole thing blossomed into a more picturesque atmosphere.”
For Stewart, it marks her third film opposite Eisenberg after 2009’s Adventureland and last year’s American Ultra. On reteaming the stars, Allen explains, “I needed two very strong people to play this. I needed a female who was that age, and beautiful and who could be believable as a naive Nebraskan secretary in Hollywood who can later transform herself in to a very sophisticated diamond-wearing, ya know, nightlife, cafe society type.”
For the actors, working with a master cinematic craftsman such as Allen proved to be less daunting and more of a collaboration than they ever imagined. Says Eisenberg, “I think it’s the strangest thing that someone, who in my opinion, is the best writer of movie scripts, who has a specific voice and cadence, is so open to collaboration. He’ll ask us to feel free to change his words, which we don’t want to, or fill in a blank if there is a blank because we’ll do long scenes in one shot.”
Amazon reportedly shelled out eight figures for Cafe Society, which kicked off this year’s Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. It was the third time that an Allen title opened the festival after 2002’s Hollywood Ending, and 2011’s Midnight In Paris. Lionsgate will platform Cafe Society this summer starting on July 15 before going wide on July 29.
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