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"All this circus is fake"
In the next Olivier Assayas movie, Kristen Stewart revealed at 18 with Twilight, plays the assistant of a star. The occasion for the star assaulted by the paps to report the perverse effect of that business.
The most hardened night hawks only just deserted Cannes' night club that was on the roof of palace on the Croisette. In the sticky dust and the lingering odour of cold tabacco another circus is rolling out. After causing a peak of fever during the ultimate red carpet of the competition, Kristen Stewart, the evanescent star of Twilight, comes to make the express promotion of Sils Maria, the movie by Olivier Assayas, where she assures a fantastic acting temperament. In the darkness of the night club returning to the light, the screens sparkle close to the collapsed green plants, the phones and walkie-talkies are overheating, the press agents briefly meet one other and talk without understanding one another, the photographers have they feet caught in the cables. When the young California star finally appears, she sees herself cornered by the sun, a window that underlines her pallor. Big circles are forming at respectable distance, like many security perimeters, where she looks, under the flashes, like a butterfly against the window. "What an unbelievable show! I know it by heart but here it's almost funny to observe it" she said later.
Olivier Assayas movie highlights an expanded register and allows him to softly express the critic of an asphyxiating system. "The movie wasn't written for me [the director thought of Mia Wasikowska first] but the coincidence and timing were perfect. It allows me to say 'fuck'. To show that I'm not fooled by the game of celebrity." Without having to do in a naive way, or be too up-front, on TV or in magazines columns. Kristen Stewart says she's passionate about movies that laid bare cinema's backstage. With Olivier Assayas, she found the occasion to make fun of "The denatured pictures that people devour with voracity... All this circus around me, it's completely fake. I take pleasure in showing it, showing that deep down they don't even reach me. I find the experience exhilarating. Olivier Assayas offered, to Juliette Binoche and myself, a beautiful meditation on women involved in the actress profession. What it costs them. What it brings them. And what they can really keep for themselves."
Kristen Stewart is known for the intensity with which she analyses every script (we nicknamed her the 'Twilight Nazi' for her defence of the original story!). She was very diligent in the way she worked on her role of an 'assistant'. It sends her back to the knots of her own existence, since Twilight, the movie by Catherine Hardwicke, fastly promoted her in the "unbreathable" heights of planetary fame.
"Everything happened so fast et unexpectedly. I was completely isolated. Secluded. Still today, people don't talk to me. They're either stopped from doing it or they don't dare to..." The star's assistant becomes an accomplice and a confident with whom a 'very pragmatic and mysterious' relation goes on. Sils Maria script puts on a face to face similar to the one of Persona by Ingmar Bergman "I'm stroke by the actresses dependence. They absolutely need this hardly acceptable relation, neither really friendly or really professional. Sometimes to the point of obsession. In Sils Maria we really feel that this link overwhelm these women. It intrigues and scare them."
Kristen Stewart doesn't know another life than the one of cinema. Her parents work in the audiovisual media (scriptwriter and manager) and, in spite of their reluctance ("these child-actors are too crazy, you're nothing like them"), she always ardently wanted to have a career on the screen. "At school people saw a tomboy in me. And the casting directors didn't see beyond the teen from San Fernando Valley, the jeans too big on her and her cap..."
Kristen Stewart also interpreted the rockstar Joan Jett in The Runaways and says to be working on an electrical mode, reminiscence of the punk generation. Without any drama lessons or coach she jumps in every role without a safety net. On the set of Sils Maria, she arrives everyday without knowing her lines that she learns at the edge of the set at the last minute. She insists to do only one take, sure to burn everything with the first fire. "'You need to prepare better' Juliette Binoche told me. But I don't think I'm capable of that. If I don't learn my lines in advance it's to avoid dissecting it. As soon as we start a rehearsal, I only see actors at work, I can't stop myself from finding them ridiculous. I'm also afraid to see appear emotions that would not appear again in front of the camera. I watch myself too much."
Olivier Assayas played the game. He hates rehearsals and stays away from the actors with whom he's not looking for any kind of friendship: "I pick them for a part of fantasy that would lose some of their strength if I knew them better. I could not ask them the things I ask them." he explains. At first, Kristen Stewart was disoriented "American actors are used to be bombarded of advices and indications. As soon as a shot is finished, directors start talking, talking, talking... I took two weeks to adapt but I understood that Olivier entirely entrusted the role to me." According to the director, Kristen was also pushed by her encounter with Juliette Binoche: "Kristen was very in awe at her liberty and wanted to learn. She has an absolute control -almost diabolical- of her body and motions. All her movements seemed choreographed as if she had a history of a dancer. Juliette often provoked her to bring her elsewhere. Beyond her simple instinct."
"I don't know how long I'll be able to work without getting into the depth of my technique" says Kristen Stewart. "I feel like I can mess everything up. But I like living on the nerves. Fear is my driving force." Olivier Assayas fully enjoyed this responsive nature. During a swimming scene, he let the actresses completely free of their motions. "He planned everything, I was freaked out" said Kristen. Juliette Binoche ran into the water, throwing her clothes away. Kristen Stewart followed keeping her swimming suit on. "I even had the reflex to divert my eyes like a young American my age would do. This modesty is from my character, not me. I'm not looking for preserving my image. I don't feel any pressure. I'm not afraid to do what I like and I want to always show more. You know what I mean?"
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