Indiewire attended the press lunch. Here are some details from the interviews:
Woody Allen went way over budget.
This is the most expensive film he's ever made, more than Sean Penn-starrer "Sweet and Lowdown," admitted Allen. "I start with an $18 million budget," he said. "This went over a little bit, and more and more, I guess into the mid 20s. It cost me money. I never made a movie for $30 million in my life. I couldn’t raise $30 million if I sold my wife on the open market."
Budget concerns meant that when Amazon came to his producers, he had to say yes to their $20-million offer. "I was doing a TV series for them," he said. "'We would like to distribute your movie.' 'Well, we usually work with Sony Classics, I'm very happy with them. 'We'll give you this much' 'How do you say no to this?' 'OK, provided it was distributed the normal way, theatrically, otherwise we wouldn’t have done it. The money was so not just tempting, it was irresistible."
Kristen Stewart loves comfortable shoes.
While she loves rocking high heels, she thinks no woman should be turned away from the Cannes red carpet if she doesn't. And she only wears them for a short time.
"I thought the heels looked better with the dress," she said of her change from opening night glam to the after-dinner. "The flats looked better with the skirt; it was more comfortable to wear for several hours, I changed. Things have to change immediately, because it’s become really obvious, if we walked up to the carpet together and I wasn’t wearing heels —'excuse me, young lady, you can’t come in!' 'Neither is my friend, does he have to wear heels? You can’t ask me to do something you're not asking for him to do. You can’t ask him to either, you can’t do it anymore.' I get black tie thing but you should be able to do either version."
At the lunch she was wearing comfortable flats, too.
Blake Lively and Kristen Stewart are both nostalgic about making movies in the old Hollywood era.
"I watch TCM," said Lively. "It’s always on in our house. It’s the fun version of gossip, now most of it’s made up. If they can’t find out about you they make it up. There's a level of intimacy there that's nice because it's respectful. My husband [Ryan Reynolds]'s dream job is to be Ben Mankiewicz or Robert Osborne."
Woody Allen loves digital.
Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and Woody Allen are "both filmmakers and historians and pioneers," said Eisenberg. "They are both being saddled with technology most directors lament having to use. But both of them couldn’t care less. I asked them both. It seemed to work fine."
After working with Gordon Willis, Carlo de Palma, Sven Nykvist and Darius Khondji, Allen ran into Storaro at a restaurant, he said. "We were never on the same schedule. This time we were both at liberty. I called him. And I had the honor of working with this great cinematographer."
They choreographed the contrast between the "dingy, grimy New York like, and the California sun, it's beautiful, everything is waves and the streets are a golden glow." When Allen grew up in Brooklyn, "my parents were poor, we would read Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper, see pictures of Ginger Rogers at the Mocambo and the Trocadero, Bogart on his boat," he said. "There’s a mythology. We'd see them at the movies, where heroes were never at a loss for a witty line, the women were gorgeous and the men handsome and dashing. This is what Hollywood represented. New York was much more lower class."
Woody Allen and Jesse Eisenberg have much in common.
Allen and Eisenberg have been engaged with each other ever since the 16-year-old Eisenberg wrote a play about Allen and got a cease and desist letter. "Woody comes to my plays," said Eisenberg. "He emails."
The actor missed the Cannes debut of "Louder than Bombs" because he was acting in the play he wrote, "The Spoils," in New York. And this year he's doing the same play on London's West End, flying back Thursday afternoon for rehearsals.
Back at the time of "The Social Network" Eisenberg told me how much he wanted to work with Allen. Then he did "To Rome with Love." It seemed inevitable that Eisenberg would eventually play Allen's alter ego, even if Allen insists the character is very different from him. But Allen checked on the actor's chemistry with Stewart, calling director Greg Mottola about their work in "Adventureland," before uniting them for a third time, said Stewart, who loves the "old Hollywood on-screen couples when two people work together a lot, like Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. That doesn't happen as much."
"'Café Society' is a movie about a Jewish family in New York in the 30s," said Eisenberg. "It's the story of my family. My great uncle went to California and became rich in real estate, some people were gangsters like Corey [Stoll]'s character. Someone became an entrepreneur and successful. My family was like the sister, the Marxist intellectual. I think about this as a personal film about my family history...
"I'm third generation, while this movie is about recent immigrants who are hungry to make it. Each character is rising aggressively in their line of work, even if it's illegal mafia work. They're all ambitious. Jewish culture has assimilated so well that a laziness has set in. I'm reaching it in myself. My dad is a college professor in upstate New York. He has a work ethic, but doesn’t expect me to have it. My Dad says, 'you can be happy and still write your plays.' 'No, I can’t. I've never written anything while I’m happy.'"
And Eisenberg just wrapped his TV pilot "Bream Gives Me Hiccups," which is based on his collection of stories of the same name, for Jax Media. He wrote the project for Amazon, which optioned the book three years ago, but eventually he took it away and made it independently, directing his "Café Society" cohort Parker Posey ("Irrational Man"), who has been his favorite actress since was 10 years old, when he and his family used to binge on Christopher Guest comedies. "There is no one like her," he said. "She's like me, she's anxious."
When you audition for Woody Allen, you're in the dark.
"I didn’t know anything about the movie when I auditioned," said Lively. "They don’t tell you anything: time, period, dialect. You say 'yes' before you read the whole script. He writes fully realized women, always faceted characters. Of course I’d say 'yes.'
'Would you like to do the movie?' 'Yes.' 'Come in and read the script.' 'Yes.'
It's very casual, very easy, six pages. 'Here you go, take your time, six pages.' Five minutes later: 'How are you doing?' He he doesn't want to see people get too stiff or nervous. As specific as he is and his writing is, he hires people to bring what they have within them, he doesn't want you to see him." He likes long shots. "It's like a play. He’s very disciplined and knows exactly what he wants, it's more beautiful in one shot. People hop over each other, in natural conversation, they interact, you don’t lose energy by cutting."
Stewart had to audition as well, because Allen wanted to be sure she could play both the young sweet innocent and glamorous sophisticate sides of her character. "He genuinely hired me," she said. "I auditioned. We had no extensive conversations. He trusts you. He hired you for a reason. That gave me confidence to let it find itself and breathe."
Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood share something in common besides being over 80.
Both directors shoot a few takes, know when they've got what they need, and proceed. "One, mostly two to three, if it's a longer scene he’ll do six," said Lively. "It’s a lot for him, it doesn’t feel like a lot when it’s all one shot."
But Allen "won’t move on until he’s got it," said Stewart. "You have to trust him."
More Quotes added from Vulture:
Dress code, schmess code. She blatantly defied the hard and fast Cannes rule that women wear high heels and a gown to all gala events.
When Stewart walked in to the incredibly exclusive Cannes opening night dinner, escorted by none other than Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux, I heard several audible gasps, including one woman, who, gape-mouthed, whispered, "How did she get away with those shoes?!" On her feet were black and white checkered sneakers, to go with her ensemble of a knit (likely Chanel) skirt, crop top, and leather jacket. So I asked Stewart. "Oh, I just changed," she said, and took a very comfortable walk to her seat.
The next day, at a press luncheon for Café Society, seated with HitFix co-founder Greg Ellwood and Deadline's Pete Hammond, Stewart elaborated. She'd changed, knowing the rules full well, but getting into the Palais hadn't been easy. "I had a man physically try to bar me. Arm bar!" she said, demonstrating. She'd maneuvered past the scrum of people trying to get in and tried to sneak under a rope. "I’m small, so usually people don’t notice and I can slip in and out of stuff really easily," she said, "but I stood up and this guy, literally, I had an arm like in the chest. I was like, 'Oh fuck, I’m so sorry, can I just sneak in there?'" The opening dinner, after all, was in honor of her movie. "And he was like, [French accent] 'Yes, you can pass the line, but you cannot wear those shoes!'”
She said she'd read about the high heels issue last year and gotten outraged. "It's just so archaic," she said. "Nowadays you simply cannot ask [that of women]." She gestured to the men at the table. "If we walked in together and I wasn’t wearing heels and they asked me to, I’d be like, 'Does he have to wear heels?' There simply cannot be a divide and if you ask us, that’s so fucking offensive and I’m leaving."
But she also doesn't apologize for her footwear, period.
If Stewart is so staunchly against the dress code, then why did she wear heels with a transparent Chanel gown to the Café Society red carpet earlier that evening? "I liked my shoes for the actual thing," she said. "It was a personal choice as well." Basically, being punk doesn't mean being anti-heels, just pro-choice.
If you don't like why she decided to work with Woody Allen, that's your problem.
Ronan Farrow's Hollywood Reporter essay chastising the media for not asking harder questions about Allen's alleged sexual abuse hit the internet in the middle of the Café Society press conference Wednesday morning, and Stewart has gotten heat ever since — for agreeing to do the movie at all; for wanting to do the movie so much she auditioned for it; for seeming to equate Dylan Farrow's accusations against Allen with tabloid rumors Stewart and Eisenberg have experienced; for saying she thought about the allegations and was troubled by them and talked to co-star Jesse Eisenberg about them and concluded she wasn't going to condemn Allen without having proof that the allegations were true, and still deciding to do the movie.
It takes a particular kind of fortitude, then, to ignore enormous public pressure to constantly re-explain why she chose to work with Allen, or to come up with something polite to say whenever the question arises, which will be often. "I'm not going to talk about that," Stewart said firmly yesterday, when I asked her what she thought of Ronan Farrow's essay at the press luncheon. She gamely dove into every other topic we brought up, but on this one was letting her previous statement, and Allen, do the talking. Look, I had to ask, I explained. "I feel you," she said. "Good job!" And then high-fived me for emphasis. "You did it!" I even threw in a Hail Mary, "my boss is going to kill me" plea, which usually elicits some sort of pity answer. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah," she said, and let an uncomfortable moment of silence pass, daring anyone else to try.
Need further proof that she ain't afraid of no reporters? Stewart and Blake Lively told a room full of them that they're kind of pests.
Asked at the Café Society press conference if Hollywood is still "a dog eat dog world," as described in the movie, which is set in the 1930s studio system, Lively replied, "I think back in the thirties, the studios were probably a bit more dominating than they are now. They owned actors and filmmakers. Now I think it's more the media is more dog eat dog and invasive ..."
"Yeah!" Stewart shouted into her microphone.
"People want access to knowledge," Lively continued, "and if they don't have access, they'll just make it up."
"That's a good point," said KStew, seeming like she would've leaped over Woody Allen to high-five Lively if she could.
Not that you were going to get text messages from her, but she doesn't believe in adhering to rules of language, either.
"I am such a good text messager," she said at the press luncheon as we talked about writing we do for ourselves. "I will put so much thought into the punctuation and the spacing and the words and the way that they’re ordered. I have my own punctuation language. Lots of spaces, spaces and then a period, certain capital letters. All of my friends have recognized the way in which I text. They’ve commented on the punctuation. They’re like, 'I know what that means, but only you text like that.' I’ll do a huge space and then 'Yes!' then return return return return, 'Yes.'"
She called out Hollywood as a pretty shitty place to make your career, and she grew up there!
What's Stewart's impression of contemporary Hollywood? "It's the most gnarly popularity contest in the world," she said at the press conference. "It's like you take high school and make it in the real world, and everything's pretty intense." And if you don't accept those elements for what they are, then you're going to have a tough time. "There's definitely, undeniably an opportunistic, hungry, insane fervor that occurs," Stewart said, "but it's [also] really apparent when people don't care about that kind of stuff and that what drives you is the things that get you up in the morning. You know, if you're actually an artist who wants to tell a story, it's a compulsion; it's not something that you do because you want to entertain people or you want to make a bunch of money."
Not that there's anything wrong with that. "Most people want to entertain people and make a bunch of money," she went on. "It's not a bad thing, but if it also doesn't hold hands with just genuine desire, if no one was looking, then yeah, that sucks."
Don't let your cell phone go off while she's talking unless you want a public beat down.
Not once but twice, Stewart stopped in the middle of talking at the press conference to call out the heathens in the room who'd forgotten to silence their ringers — and still managed to come off seeming cute about it. "Who's that?" she said, laughing and looking up, as a reporters' ringtone interrupted her train of thought the first time. When it happened again, she stopped mid-sentence and searched the crowd with a death stare. "Really?" she said, before again dissolving in laughter. "I'm kidding. Sorry."
At least now we know which celeb will come running over in her comfortable footwear next time we need to fight a boneheaded plan to allow cell phone use in movie theaters.
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