U.S. Premiere - Wed, Oct 8th 2014 at 6pm EST
Q&A with director Olivier Assayas and actress Juliette Binoche at both screenings
Q&A with Kristen Stewart on October 8
Deciphering the Kristen Stewart Phenomenon
At once the ultimate tough girl and the vulnerable everygirl, Kristen Stewart has been bringing emotional, undeniably real characters to the big screen for more than a decade. She has millions of fans and a slew of new projects big and small, but the actress's most impressive feat to date? Tuning out all that noise.
Kristen Stewart is famous for—no, scratch that. Famous is too dinky a word to describe what Kristen Stewart is at this moment in America's cultural history. Kristen Stewart is a phenomenon for playing the girl in the Twilight movies, only, of course, she was really playing the boy. That's the secret of the franchise's appeal: It's a rehash of that tired old mothball-reeking, done-to-death, oh-Jesus-not-again Romeo and Juliet star-crossed-lovers redux, except—and here's what makes the material so fresh, gives it its kinky kick—he's Juliet and she's Romeo. Robert Pattinson's Edward Cullen—gorgeous, moody, high-strung, faintly anemic because he's a bloodsucker who refuses to suck human blood, his principles as lofty as his cheekbones—is the object of desire, and he is photographed as adoringly and fetishistically as Dietrich in any of the von Sternberg pictures. He is, as well, the beast that's also the beauty, one in serious distress, cursed to be 17 forever and mateless, a Prince of Darkness without a Princess, not to mention a prom king without a queen. It's Stewart's Bella Swan, quiet and strong and full of purpose, who brings an end to his loneliness by surmounting the obstacles, both physical and metaphysical, in their path, converting to vampirism so it's possible for them to unite for all eternity. (Those feminist-watchdog types, sensitive noses aquiver for the slightest whiff of peepees-are-better-than-weewees, decrying Bella and, by extension, Stewart as some sort of self-sacrificing, female-chump retro case, have, as usual, got it wrong. If Bella falls into a gender stereotype, it's not Clinging Vine; it's White Knight. She just has enough grace—gallantry, too—never to throw in her true love's face the fact that she's the one rescuing him.)
While we're on the subject of secret appeal, here's Stewart's: She's a lovely looking girl, possessed of both soulful intelligence and depth of feeling, yet in the blink of an eye she can turn into a hot young roughneck ready for action, for kicks, for anything. The former persona, delicate without being weak, is why she's so affecting in movies such as Into the Wild (2007) and Adventureland (2009) and On the Road (2012), the perfect match for Emile Hirsch's doomed wanderer and Jesse Eisenberg's lovelorn egghead and Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley's word-drunk beatniks who only want to go go go even if it's to no place in particular or just into one another's beds. Which isn't to say that these numbskull boys always get it, can see what's smack-dab in front of them. (All Stewart has to do is look at Hirsch's Chris McCandless in a hurt and wondering way, and it's obvious he should bag that trip to the Alaskan wilderness he can't shut up about and stay with her in her parents' rig in Imperial Valley.) The latter persona, so assured it borders on arrogant, borders on macho, is why she's able to pull off the low-lidded stares of pure lust she directs at Dakota Fanning's saucer-eyed cutie-pie in The Runaways (2010). It's why she's able to pull off, too, the trick of becoming Joan Jett, the woman who proved you don't need a cock to rock, you just need to strap on that guitar, strut that stuff, and create a sound that leaps right out of the jukebox—fast, urgent, full of vitality and aggression and rollicking good times.
Not that Stewart is the first young actress to discover what a turn-on gender ambiguity can be for an audience. Angelina Jolie, for God's sake! When Jolie went from nowhere to everywhere seemingly overnight in the late '90s, she wasn't only the hottest girl the world had ever seen, she was the hottest guy, too, with a swagger to her step, a curl to her lip, a bad to her bone: the most babelicious babe and the studliest stud, all in one. But in the past few years, it's as if she's so sexy her sexiness has come full circle. She appears complete unto herself, doesn't need another person. Her early vulnerability (the look in her eye was as often wounded as it was wounding) is something she's outgrown. Stewart, though, has still got it, and it's what makes her one of the most romantic—and exciting—female presences on the screen today.
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Original interview and non-scan images.
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Kristen Stewart : the rebel
At 24, she has the fame of a blockbuster’s star. She has loved under the glare of the paparazzi. She's discovered what Hollywood does to those who just do as they wish. After two years of silence, the sulky actress comes back –obviously- where we didn’t expect her, in French director Olivier Assayas’ movie. And talks with INGRID SISCHY about the disturbing similarities between this fiction and her reality.
Actresses with a fresh outlook—and the guts to break the usual Hollywood formulas—don't grow on trees in America. So when one comes along who does break the mold, and won't play the Hollywood game, it's worth sitting up and taking notice. Especially when that actress grew up in Los Angeles, a child of two hard-working lifers in the movie and television industries—which is how Kristen Stewart burst forth onto the big screen. This was no wealthy kid, protected by the cocoon of fame and/or wealth, secluded in a mansion surrounded by obsessively perfect, manicured hedges in Beverly Hills. Stewart's upbringing in the much grittier San Fernando Valley was the opposite. Her folks, Jules Mann-Stewart and John Stewart were workers, not stars. And they knew first hand what a pain in-the-you-know-what those stars could be.
When their daughter Kristen, who dressed as much like a boy as her brother Cameron did, particularly favoring her gym clothes, which she wore to school, wanted to start auditioning, her mother warned: "I work with these kids—they're crazy people. You're not one of them." But, as happens with Kristen, she persevered in her dream, and by the time she was 11, she was starring opposite Jodie Foster as her daughter, in David Fincher's knuckle-clenching film, Panic Room, about mother and daughter targets of a terrifying robbery. It was inspired casting. Stewart never played cute, but was just the kind of child you'd want to go on a dangerous mission with. I spoke to Foster, herself a survivor of the child-actor pitfalls, about Stewart a few years ago, and she put it succinctly. "Kristen does not have the traditional personality of an actress," said Foster. "She doesn't want to dance on the table for grandma and put a lampshade on."
After all, how many kids can claim they had pet wolf-dogs growing up? Which is the case with the Stewart household—a fact that seemed all the more eerie when Kristen was cast in the five-film Twilight franchise as Bella Swan the dorky-but-ever-so-romantic-high-school-l
The time has come. With a slate of at least five new films already shot and scheduled to come out over the next year, or so, starting with Clouds of Sils Maria, Olivier Assayas's smart meditation on the movie industry and on contemporary fame, the actress has clearly been busy. In Assayas's film she demonstrates how she can laugh at herself. It is not a coincidence that the film is French. Like so many Americans before her, from Gertrude Stein to James Baldwin to Nina Simone, who have gone to France to give freedom to their voices, Stewart found hers again with French director and screenwriter Olivier Assayas. Speaking of which—you will note that something unusual happens in this cover story. It is an interview, in the tradition of the Playboy interviews, or the ones that Andy Warhol had such fun with when he started Interview Magazine, and wanted to get everything from what he called "the horse's mouth." That's how I first met Stewart; she was about 12, just beginning, and I was the Editor of Interview. At the time I thought, "This kid's got her own voice."
She still does. And even though Vanity Fair France normally has a rule against interviews, rebels break rules. Kristen Stewart is a true rebel. She has a phrase for when she rebels that I think is hilarious. She says, "I put on my nope mitts." But Vanity Fair is a rebel, too. So together we broke the rule, put on our yes mitts, and got into the ring together, to spar, laugh, and talk.
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We posted the scans here.
KRISTEN STEWART, The rebel.
At 24, she has already known a huge amount of fame by being the star of blockbusters.She's had her first loves under the spotlight of paparazzi. And she's discovered the curse that Hollywood gives to those who do whatever they want. After two years of not speaking to the media, the sullen actress is making a come back - obviously - where we weren't expecting her, in a French film by Olivier Assayas, and she takes the opportunity to discuss with Ingrid Sischy, the confusing similarities between this fiction and her reality.
How many people can brag about having wolves hybrid as pets? It's the case of Kristen Stewart, troubling premonition for the one who was Bella Swan in the "Twilight" series, the old-fashioned teenager but romantic, the laughing stock of her high school who falls in loves with a buff vampire and whose best-friend turns into a werewolf on occasion...
Actresses who have the guts of breaking the Hollywood mold don't grow on trees in the United States. When you're lucky enough to croth paths with them, you've got to jump at the opportunity. Particularly when this actress grew up in Los Angeles, with two parents working in the cinema and television industry - because that's how Kristen Stewart ended up on the big screen. She's not a "little rich kid", protected by the cocoon of celebrity and/or a huge amount of fortune, enclosed in a Beverly Hills mansion, surrounded by a perfect high hedge. Kristen Stewart's childhood, in the substantially less glamourous San Fernando Valley, was the complete contrary. Her parents, Jules Mann-Stewart and John Stewart were employed by celebrities. And they knew very well how some of them can make your life a living hell.
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