Friday, January 24, 2020

Kristen's talks 'Underwater' and more with the Herald Sun (Australia)



Two decades into her career and nearing a decade since shooting her final scene in The Twilight Saga, Kristen Stewart is taking control.

At 29, the actor knows who she is, what she wants to do, and she’s determined to get out there and do it.

“Those words strike a serious chord,” says Stewart.

“I definitely don’t want to sort through ‘maybes’ any more – I have to say that is something I have grown out of, but used to covet.

“I used to enjoy the fact that filmmaking was such a strange alchemy, you could never really control it, therefore if there was something appealing in a movie that didn’t seem as sturdy of a bet as maybe some others with a more reliable director or whatever, then I would still go for it.

“Now I’m really feeling the idea that, you know, as female filmmakers in this business right now, I only want to spend my time – which feels precious – on movies that I really stand with.”

Whether it’s last year’s popcorn action flick Charlie’s Angels or her upcoming art house biopic Seberg – about the actor Jean Seberg who was targeted by the FBI in the 1960s, opening January 30 – Stewart says she just wants to be able to look back at the “library of s--- you did in your life” and know that “I spent my time doing it for a good reason”.

“My instinct has always been something I’ve had no fear in following. But now that I’m trying to control things a little bit more it is an interesting balance of following instincts, but then knowing how to protect yourself as an artist and make sure to set yourself up for success.”

But just because she wants to stand with her work, doesn’t mean it all has to be serious, issues-based drama.

While the success part didn’t really pan out at the box office with Charlie’s Angels, Stewart loved the fact writer-director Elizabeth Banks saw her inner goofball and set it loose.

And her new action movie Underwater was all for the thrills: “Human beings scratching into places that they don’t belong and uncovering a wrath,” says Stewart.

“I thought that was a cool baseline of a thriller. I love a scary movie, I love watching people try and not die.”

On the flip side, being the person pretending to try and not die isn’t always a good time. “Literally I look back and I’m like, why did I do that?” she admits with a laugh.

Where Charlie’s Angels was brash and colourful, Underwater is tense and claustrophobic.

The thriller drops us at the deepest point of the ocean as a drilling and research rig springs a leak and all hell breaks loose. With communications shut off, Stewart’s Norah and a small band of survivors (including French star Vincent Cassel and comedic actor TJ Miller) attempt to cross the ocean floor to another station … but something is out there with them.

If Underwater is the underwater Alien, Stewart is the Ripley of the piece, doubling down on her action heroine credentials.

While she was drawn to the idea of doing a project less “in its own head” and more “just propelling yourself forward”, the Underwater shoot was as much a test of survival for her as it was for her character.

“It was really freeing to do Charlie’s Angels, but it was absolutely in no way freeing to do this movie,” she says.

For starters, given her fear of water, even taking a quick run into the waves “always seems like a daring act,” she says.

And this wasn’t so much a drip, as a constant drenching.

“It was so claustrophobic, really uncomfortable and wet and drippy and cold and just awful. It was f---ed up. In every way that it looks uncomfortable in the movie, it was.”

But, Stewart adds, “it was cool to test your limits. The water aspect was appealing ’cos I was like, ‘Man, if I can do that I will be really proud of myself’.”

And much like the impact Underwater aims to have on an audience, fear is the entire point.

“I never want to make a movie unless it scares me, unless there’s something about the story or the character that strikes a chord that is similar to terror,” Stewart says.

“Then moving towards that to figure out how to either get through it, or just understand why it exists, is usually why I want to make a movie.”

While she’s too young to have been directly influenced by Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, she had her own action icons growing up – “women that made it seem like it was possible,” she says.

At the top of that list?

“F---ing Angie” – Angelina Jolie.

“It’s because she also was such an incredible actress,” Stewart explains. “As a really little kid I was like, wow the same girl from Girl, Interrupted – she’s amazing in that movie and then she’s such a powerhouse in Tomb Raider and Wanted. I definitely grew up thinking, ‘Wow, I would like to do that’.”

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Kristen and Benedict Andrews's talk to The Age (Australia) about 'Seberg'



Most people remember Jean Seberg as the ’60s gamine with a daringly short pixie crop selling the Herald Tribune in Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard’s game-changing 1960 film about a gangster’s affair with a naive American tourist. That was pretty much all Kristen Stewart knew about her, she admits, before she was sent the script for Seberg. It was then that she learned that Seberg was an activist – most prominently, a supporter of the Black Panthers – who was pursued, persecuted and her career demolished in covert operations by the FBI.

“Figuring out what her actual story was, I was baffled by the fact it wasn’t more commonly known,” Stewart says. “But I don’t think my view of her was reductive, because I wasn’t surprised by the way she led her life. You can tell when she’s in films that her eyes are open. She’s not a performative actor; she’s instinctive and very present.” The film begins in 1968, with the actress setting out for Los Angeles to audition for Paint Your Wagon. Paris, where Seberg lived with her second husband Romain Gary, had erupted into revolution. In the US, the civil rights movement was increasingly militant. Of course someone like Seberg, infused by the spirit of the times, would nail her political colours to the mast.

Benedict Andrews, the Australian director, says that he thought of Stewart for the role as soon as he read Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse’s script. “From that moment, I could not imagine making the movie without her.” There were parallels in their biographies – both had starring roles while still in their teens, both were vilified in the US and found a new freedom in the European cinema – that were interesting without being crucial. Whoever played Jean had to “look like one of the icons of 20th century cinema” but that in itself wasn’t so difficult. “A model can get that great haircut, all of that.” The crucial thing was less tangible.

“Jean had a kind of radical openness, a kind of luminous quality and I didn’t want someone trying to impersonate that,” Andrews says. Impersonation can work in a biopic, he says, but he wasn’t after that. “I was after a kind of raw truth. I think Jean possessed that and Kristen possesses that; in different ways, they have an essence that you can’t pin down.” He wanted Stewart to embody Seberg while remaining herself. “That’s what I think great film actors do. They’re both those things, or it’s just an impersonation. And she does both. She is Jean and Kristen simultaneously.”

The fact that Seberg was having an affair with a Black Power leader, here called Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie) was especially incendiary. FBI agents staked out her house, bugged her bed and the phone, called at all hours. The central relationship in Seberg, however, is between Seberg and her unseen pursuer Jack (Jack O’Connell), a recent agency recruit who is assigned to watch her and becomes obsessed with her. She knows he is there, but nobody believes her; she is driven to the point of paranoia by this gaslighting as much as the surveillance itself.

Andrews, whose august career has been mostly in theatre, says this dual perspective is something only cinema could deliver. “I can’t do that in the theatre. And I love how that works on an emotional level, that parallel connection with the two of them. That is uniquely cinematic.” In a sense, he says, the whole film is about the relationship between the camera and its subject. “Jack is shooting Jean with a camera; we’re shooting Kristen with a camera. The techniques of surveillance are the same techniques as cinema. We see it used to create beautiful iconographic images like her as Jean and we also see it used as a device of lies.”

The film has had mixed reviews, both in Cannes and since it opened in Europe – the Telegraph’s “snappy, absorbing watch” is Indiewire’s “mess from start to finish” – but critics were unanimously impressed by Stewart’s committed performance. Jean/Kristen as Seberg is jittery, vulnerable, intelligent, well-intentioned and impulsive; as one review put it, she plays with fire, including blazes of her own making. “I think she had a sort of voracious hunger for experience, but I think more than that she was at her very core a humanitarian,” says Stewart. “There were interviews from people who grew up with her in Nebraska where they remember her consistently fighting for the underdog. So I think her activism started very, very early.”

Whether actors should become poster people for political causes remains a vexed question, debated most vigorously around Oscar time when stars get their two minutes on the podium. Some believe that with fame comes the responsibility to speak out; others think actors should just stick to acting. Stewart doesn’t think actors are obliged to take up any cause. “As soon as you start feeling imposed upon, if you feel people are pulling things out of you, it’s contrived. Nobody’s entitled to your opinion.” These days, she is comfortable with staying quiet if she has nothing specific to say. “I feel like it’s very clear where I stand. I think it would be really shocking to hear I was a staunch Republican. That would be like a super shocker.”

People can also elect to be entertainers, she says. “You don’t have to be someone who represents your ideas. There is an escapism that is gorgeous and you can be part of that, for sure.” On the other hand, she says, anyone who identifies as an artist is intrinsically political. “There is no way for your art not to reflect the way you view the world you live in. People who are compulsively artistic wear their politics naturally. Without even knowing they are making statements, they are doing it inadvertently. If you’re not living in fear of your career failing and willing to engage in the world around you, that’s political in itself.”

Seberg is in cinemas from January 30 in Australia.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

'Underwater Clip - Norah and Emily



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Mary Steenburgen, Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Audrey Plaza and Victor Garber and more join the cast of 'Happiest Season"


Pic: ET Canada

As Clea DuVall's Happiest Season — the gay rom-com starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis — heads into production in Pittsburgh, the movie has rounded out its supporting cast.

Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber and Schitt's Creek creator and star Dan Levy are joining the TriStar and Entertainment One project, along with GLOW star Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza.

Happiest Season follows a woman (Stewart) whose plan to propose to her girlfriend (Davis) while at her family’s annual holiday party is upended when she discovers her partner hasn’t yet come out to her conservative parents (Steenburgen and Garber).

Actress-turned-director DuVall will be making her studio directing debut on the feature, which she co-wrote with Mary Holland.

Holland will also appear in the movie, along with Ana Gasteyer (The Goldbergs), Burl Moseley (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Sarayu Blue (Blockers) and Jake McDorman (What We Do in the Shadows).

The project will be produced by Temple Hill's Marty Bowen and Isaac Klausner. Jonathan McCoy and Wyck Godfrey will executive produce.

TriStar will release the film worldwide, with the exception of the United Kingdom and Canada, which will be handled by eOne.

The movie will hit theaters Nov. 20.

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Fan video and photos of Kristen filming 'Happiest Season' in Pittsburgh - 21 January 2020



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This is day one of filming and our first full view of Kristen as 'Abby'.

Actor Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek) is pictured with Kristen and is part of the cast. Alison Brie (Glow) has also been spotted on set and is part of the cast.

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New/old photo of Kristen and her mom. Shared by Jules Stewart.


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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Video: Preview of the featured extras on the 'Charlie's Angels' Bluray



It took a little convincing for Kristen Stewart to tap into her funny side for Charlie’s Angels.

The actress starred alongside Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott in the reboot directed by Elizabeth Banks. In a PEOPLE exclusive preview of the bonus features on the upcoming Blu-ray release, out March 10, Stewart reveals it was Banks who convinced her to take on the comedic role of Sabina.

“I wanted to help Liz tell the story. I think primarily that was the initial thing that I was really excited about,” Stewart, 29, says. “The dopest people that you meet in life usually see aspects of yourself that you don’t, and she was like, ‘You’re funny!’ Like, ‘No I’m not, dude. Give me line readings, tell me exactly how you want me to do everything and it’ll be great ‘cause you’re hilarious.’ She would make me feel so able."

Her costars noticed the energy Stewart brought to the role, with Balinska equating it to how Sabina herself would handle the super-secret spy missions.

“Kristen definitely brought her feisty, super passionate personality to Sabina,” Balinska, 23, says. “She’s super exciting to work with because whenever we were on set, you never knew which way she was gonna throw the ball, which is kind of how Sabina is like. You never know what she’s gonna do next.”

“She’s hilarious and she has these funny lines, but you bring truth to every scene that you’re in,” Scott, 26, agrees. “So it’s still so authentic and for me that’s always the best combination.”

Charlie’s Angels is out on digital Feb. 18 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on March 10. 

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