Two years after 'On The Road' by Walter Salles, Kristen Stewart walked up the stairs at Cannes, on Friday 23rd, for her role in 'Sils Maria' by Olivier Assayas. Remarkable from end to end, the star of the Twilight saga plays the assistant of a celebrity, played by Juliette Binoche.
LE MONDE: How did the screening go?
KRISTEN: Really well. It might be because I'm American, and we consider cinema mainly as an entertainment, but I didn't initially think a film that brazenly philosophical could be of interest for a public of that size; yet it seems like it was the case, I think.
LE MONDE: With the role played by Chloë Grace Moretz, your character embodies America, in a film that is yet European.
KRISTEN: It's the first time that I shoot an entire film in Europe, it's true. At one point, I was considered to play Chloë's character instead. In my opinion, it would have been a mistake... I wanted the opportunity to criticize the massive consumption of fake lives created by the media through my character. When you think about it, it's a strange phenomenon, which benefits no one intellectually. Why do we digress like this culturally? Some of my lines reflect exactly what I think of this stupidity. Olivier found the right words
LE MONDE: What made you accept the role?
KRISTEN: After Charles produced 'On The Road', he convinced me that Olivier was the perfect director for me. I was pleased by the script right away. Olivier told me he had written the script without thinking about me. In fact, his outlook on the consumption of art was already that way. Let's just say that me being there just made some moments a little bit more exciting, because of my past experiences.
LE MONDE: Were you aware of his history in the world of cinema?
KRISTEN: 'Sils Maria' seems very different compared to his previous films, to me. He's more calm and thoughtful. Juliette pushed him to write about two different generations of women artists - What they have to give up to live through their art and what they gain in return.
LE MONDE: He is a director who films movement marvellously...
KRISTEN: He stages his scenes meticulously, but I never felt like I was being undermined when I was moving. I felt like I was dancing with the head cameraman, who was catching up to me every time I was moving too far away from where I was supposed to be. Filming was really smooth, free and serene. It's what makes some scenes, even the most theatrical ones, seem so full of life.
LE MONDE: A word on your collaboration with Juliette Binoche?
KRISTEN: Oh my god, we are so different! She was always rehearsing. As for myself, I learn my lines twenty minutes before each scene. We are both similar, she and I, but our way of accomplishing things couldn't be more different.
LE MONDE: You're surrounded by a crowd of assistants. Did they inspire you for the role?
KRISTEN: I've had so many! It's a really interesting dynamic. Right when my character realizes she's only responding to requests, without being able to give more of herself, she leaves. I've seen professional relationships fall apart as well. I love films that deal with the process of film-making.
LE MONDE: In 'Maps to the Stars' by David Cronenberg also in competition at Cannes, Robert Pattinson plays the assistant of a celebrity. Have you seen the film?
KRISTEN: Not yet! But I will.
LE MONDE: Five years after 'Adventureland', you're teaming up again with Jesse Eisenberg in 'American Ultra' by Nima Nourizadeh...
KRISTEN: Jesse and I have a beautiful complicity. We're not afraid to show that we're nervous. It's an action-comedy, very commercial, but we both took it seriously.
I really believe what my character says in Sils Maria: If it's well done, a commercial film can touch every facet of you. It's not necessarily the case with pretentious films.
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