“Kristen Stewart, magnetic
Photographed by Vincent Peters”
Kristen Stewart: “ I am not mad”
Former teen star of Twilight, she managed to win a Caesar for her vibrant performance in “Sils Maria” by Olivier Assayas. Now the bad girl of Hollywood and the rebel muse of Chanel is imposing her radical talent in Still Alice.
The nightingale sings, the dog barks, the rain pours down and Kristen Stewart is naturally dazzling. It’s all part of an immutable order.All by herself, she is the embodiment of a new generation of actresses who grow sullen and defiant tired cowboys. Diabolical insurance, an androgynous physical, a rebellious air, a paradoxical beauty – rugged and female – mingled with sex appeal glowing, in short, a certain idea of a modern glamour that cultivates a “trashitude” refined. The rebellious Hollywood looking like “neo tomboy” repeated over and over again : “I put boxing gloves with NO written on them.” And now her chance has arrived. She is the first American actress that won a Cesar for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Sils Maria, the latest film by Olivier Assayas.
Wearing a white and vaporous Chanel dress – one of the magnetic muses of the house of the Rue Cambon – forehead crossed a cowlick, the actress darted on the stage of the Theatre Châtelet to receive her reward, dropping a “wow!” Lapidary, empty-handed, after a few words in French and a declaration of love addressed to Juliette Binoche, her partner in the film. “You’re the one I love most in the world. Thank you for this trophy. Tonight I am the happiest,” she said with phrasing laser glossy, accurate, firmly told the rhythm of a Kalashnikov, and that low voice that became her signature. A short service followed by a pirouette, and presto! backstage before leaving for a new adventure, the Oscars, where she would support Julianne Moore, with whom she co-starred in the movie Alice Still.
Two oddly similar roles. “Two kickstand roles” suggests Kristen. “I like to help. I’m not a leader, but a supporter.” In Assayas’ film, she plays the role of the assistant of an aging star, to whom she serves as rehearsal director, companion, confidante, supporter. In Still Alice, she is the one who gives up her theater dreams to take care for her mother, diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s. “These two characters are women characters who grow and make me grow. With Juliette, I assist an actress full of doubts facing the rising generation of young actresses brutal and rather disrespectful. With Julianne, I become aware of the fragility of things. I realize, with this character, nothing is forever yours, one second and a tsunami can change the situation. The tsunami is a irreversible disease that struck a 50 year old mother who, in addition, is a brilliant intellectual. I, in the film, I am the strongest, I’m the one that quickly adapts to the situation, agreeing to give up my career to take care of my mother. If I do, it’s more out of necessity than duty. It is to continue to be able to look at myself in the mirror.”
And where does Kristen find,in her mind preserved by life as young as a child’s what will help her incarnate these challenging roles? “I think of Walter Salles, [who directed “On the Road” in which I played the role of Marylou.] it was him who taught me how to give emotions to a character by seeking in ourselves what we do not imagine to find. It was him who showed me how a role can be an invitation to introspection. It was him who suggested to me that cinema could lead to a kind of spirituality and that the actor could be more than just a job: he could change a life.”
Jodie, Charlize and Juliette
Kristen Stewart was accompanied in her young career by actors and major directors who helped to build. There was Jodie Foster, divorced mother in Panic Room, David Fincher. Kristen, age 12 at the time, plays the role of her diabetic daughter. “My luck at that time was not showing myself in something high. Jodie Foster encouraged me, took me under her wing, showed me the way and, above all, gave me what there is most precious in this business: a lesson in humility. She kept telling me that an actor is primarily a tool for film service.” There was Speak by Jessica Sharzer, where she played the role of a teen traumatized by rape. “There, I have not played, I totally followed my gut,” she said. Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman, agreed to be her confidant. “Charlize is simple, she is perfection. When she arrives in a room, you do not see it.” And, of course, Juliette Binoche. “I had cotton legs the first time I saw her. She has this ability that I fear: she undresses you and discovers exactly what you do not want her to see.”
Coming five films, including a project with Woody Allen, and above all, she said, “a long vacation.”
The phenomenon of a generation
With such partners, the young woman was quick to learn . “I do not have a choice. I have observed. On a shoot, Juliette worked constantly on her role, reading , discussing, analyzing, comparing. Julianne Moore is more in introspection. And I, in the midst of it all , I tried to lighten myself to gradually remove the thicknesses prevented me to go to the heart of the matter and find a way to be careful not to lose my spontaneity.”
Kristen Stewart is a rock. She looks like her character Bella Swan in Twilight: robust, warrior, ready to face three times bigger monsters. Add to this immediate presence there comes the critical power of a young woman who has the right, at 24 years, to say things, starting with her doubts and contradictions “If I liked Sils Maria, it is because I love films about cinema. And I loved how Olivier Assayas has highlighted the ridiculous side of these actresses so narcissistic. I love my job. I was ready to die for him. I always wanted to be an actress, but it’s not worth making a fuss… What I mean is that you do it for yourself, not for others. Today, fame is considered sexier than happiness. It does not make sense, does it?” At school, she was called “the Wall”. She was silent, suffering from hyperactivity and attention disorders. The little girl did not fit. At 13, she left school, taking courses by correspondence and engages in the kitchen. “If I had not become an actress, I would have been a champion in the kitchen,” she said. There was little chance that this would have happened. Cinema grabs the cradle. Her mother is a script writer and her father is a manager. When Kristen told her parents that she wants to become an actress, her mother warned her, “I know those kids who make films. They end up going crazy… But I’m not mad”, says Kristen.
Yet she had everything to become. When Twilight started, she is 18 and she becomes in just a second almost as famous as the Beatles. A generational phenomenon. Her life is sieved. Her boyfriend is Robert Pattinson. Her fans number is in millions. Not a tweet that speaks of her love. “It was amazing” she recalls . “Since then, I am wary of technology…”
So what? No filter on her private life. The tabloids say she lives with her best friend. It’s not important. To the question “Who is her lover today?” The answer is mechanical : “No comment”
“The super sexy is corny”
She takes refuge in films she chooses carefully. Always edgy roles that showcase her Rimbaud darkness. “I like to take risks,” she said. Playing in a French film was a risk? “Not really. It was a very controlled bet. And I like French cinema, because it makes great imagination, spontaneity, daring. In France, when you start a movie, you do not ask yourself if it will work before completing it. The film is carried by a stronger desire than economic logic. I like the attitude of accepting an unexpected hand and poetry and you often find yourself in the world of fashion. That’s why I love and I respect as Karl Lagerfeld. This is not an ideologue of fashion, but a sensitive visionary. He made a Chanel rock house and he agreed with me that sexy is super corny. We get along very well…” Without even meaning to, the ultra modern Kristen Stewart has become a fashion beast. It also has quite naturally.
“Still Alice” by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland is currently in theaters.