Friday, July 11, 2014

Olivier Assayas talks about 'Clouds of Sils Maria' & Kristen with Cinemateaser magazine (France)

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The genre of the movie is quite unclassifiable. It starts as a satire like Mankiewicz's All About Eve, then turns into a movie in camera Bergmanian, before taking a surprisingly light and comical turn. As if the movie transformed progressively during the filming and had become uncontrollable...

Olivier: (Laughs) You know, movies are always uncontrollable! I think the singularity of SILS MARIA is to be focused on the meeting between two persons. Not two characters but really two persons: Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart. At one point, the role of Valentine was supposed to be played by Mia Wasikowska. I love this actress, but that would have given a completely different movie, maybe darker, more disturbing. Kristen really brought to the movie its humor. I saw her open up, freeing herself in front of Juliette. I think we've never seen her as radiant. I was very scared at first because Kristen can have a very tough/harsh look. I really encouraged her to let herself go, to open up, smile. I think her meeting with Juliette was all about chemistry. So the mix of genres in the movie really comes from the experience of filming and what actresses have given me. I like the idea that SILS MARIA, seriously influenced by Fassbinder and Bergman, is a movie that explores the human with lightness and humor.

So for you, it's a comedy?

Olivier: Yes, even if the subject is not funny. I talk of aging you know! But somehow, I constantly pushed the filming to the comedy. I was feeling that Juliette and Kristen were in high demand of this.

This duality, Kristen Stewart comments it in the movie. We feel that through the character of Chloe Moretz, she talks about her own status in Hollywood. The dialogue sometimes even directly refers to what she experienced, especially this scandal. This is very disturbing and very surprising for such a famous actress to expose yourself.

Olivier: It's entirely to her credit. I met Kristen through the producer of ON THE ROAD, which is also the producer of this movie. He nagged me that I should meet her. I didn't feel this type of project would interest her and her fame seemed to me to contradict the film project. I was wrong, of course. She read the script, we meet. I immediately liked her enthusiasm. But I didn't know how to approach the question of roles with her. So timidly, I ask her the question. She had not even considered the role of the starlet. She wanted the assistant. I said "Are you sure? Because it will produce a weird thing!" She looked at me and told me: "This is precisely what I want!" I think she understood faster than me what disorder this character could create. She quickly took possession of my script. Kristen has a real strength, a humor we haven't seen enough in movies.

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