Monday, January 25, 2016

Kristen talks "Certain Women" w/Bustle

If you still only associated Kristen Stewart with the Twilight franchise and her face in the tabloids, her work over the last few years should've changed that for good. Thanks to impressive performances in films like Clouds of Sils Maria and Still Alice, the actor has finally seemed to free herself from the limits of her Twilight days, showing off her acting chops in a series of great — and feminist — movie roles. Her latest film, the upcoming drama Certain Women, showcases some of her most accomplished work to date, featuring Stewart as the type of complicated, flawed, totally believable woman who, she said while at the movie's Sundance Film Festival red carpet on Sunday, is rarely seen on-screen.

"It’s like every movie that’s overtly commercial needs to be about women overcoming something unbelievable, or it’s a love story," Stewart said. Certain Women, however, "tells three very different stories about working women, women who are not seeing everything in front of them, women who are making enormous misconnections and who are not top dogs, who are actually just trying to figure something out, who are all quite confused. And that’s more interesting than somebody, like, prevailing over some massive feat."

In the Kelly Reichardt-directed film, the lead female characters, played by Stewart, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, and newcomer Lily Gladstone, are separated in three distinct storylines: Stewart plays an overworked lawyer teaching a night class to Gladstone's lonely, longing student; Williams is one half of a couple in the midst of building a house; Dern takes on the role of a lawyer unwillingly tasked with talking a troubled client down from a hostage situation. Their lives are incredibly different from one another, but, as Stewart explained on the red carpet, they're all connected in one significant way.

"All three stories involve somebody who is desirous of something that they can’t have," said Stewart. "They’re fixated on something, but really what they’re actually concerned with is something very different... they’re just very particular people, they’re people who don’t see everything, they’re people you want to tap on the shoulder and say, you’re really missing the ball here."

For Stewart, her role of Beth Travis, a distracted young woman who doesn't understand the full extent of her student's interest in her, was a stark departure from the typical parts for women in film.

"I basically wanted to play somebody who is distracted and not seeing what was in front of her, because usually in movies, especially the young female protagonist, it's like we need to lead you through the entire story very obviously," she said. "This was just about two lonely unobservant typical girls that just aren’t seeing each other quite clearly. I thought that was quite interesting."

Certain Women may be a bold change from the normal female-led films produced in Hollywood, but it's no anomaly in Stewart's increasingly impressive resume.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Video: Kristen Talks to E! at Sundance

Someone get to a comic book store now and find a superhero for Kristen Stewart.

I caught up with the César award-winning actress at the Sundance Film Festival premiere of her indie drama Certain Women. I asked if she's constantly offered roles in Twilight-size franchises.

"They're not too common," Stewart said. "Trust me, I would love to find a big doozy of a movie that's interesting and worthwhile."

Like playing a superhero?

"Maybe," she said. "Go print that—I can't wait to play a superhero."

Stewart also revealed she's looking to make her feature film directing debut.

"Hopefully as soon as humanly possible," she said. "I really want to. I have to find the right thing. I started working when I was nine. I love this industry. I love what movies can do so I'll find my story."

Certain Women follows the lives of three woman (Stewart, Michelle Williams andLaura Dern) in small town America.

As we know, this isn't Stewart's first time at Sundance. Her previous trips have included the premieres of movies like Camp X-Ray, The Runaways and Welcome to the Rileys.

"I'm not totally biased. I really like making the small ones and I like making the big ones," Stewart said. "It's just when you get the right people together who really care about something, who are not solely interested in getting just love and attention and money and stuff and it's really for the love of the meditation on a subject and getting into something and baring your soul, [Sundance] is the perfect place to do it."

Vanity Fair Recaps "Certain Women" Sundance Q&A

Since retiring the Twilight franchise, Kristen Stewart has been refreshingly candid about wanting to use her box-office power to help greenlight the projects she really wants to make at this stage in her career—independent films. And after a string of interesting titles like Camp X-Ray, Still Alice, and Clouds of Sils Maria—the last of which earned her France’s high acting prize, cementing her screen cred as a dramatic actress—Stewart flew into Park City on Sunday to debut her latest indie picture, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women.

Adapted from Maile Meloy’s Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, the film features three separate stories centering on women leading quiet existences in small-town Montana. Stewart’s chapter concludes the drama—after narratives starring Laura Dern andMichelle Williams—and proves to be the most moving (to this viewer at least). The actress plays a new lawyer who takes a job four hours away teaching a night class, where she befriends a lonely rancher (Lily Gladstone). The women interpret their time together very differently, and the appeal of this awkward, unpolished “missed connection” is part of what drew Stewart to the film.

During a Q&A after the premiere, Stewart told the audience that she signed on first and foremost because “I’m a Reichardt fan.” But secondly: “Kelly is fixated on things that most people miss,” Stewart said of the Wendy and Lucy director. “She is really incredibly good at highlighting the unspoken and invisible—little things that you go home and think about that you would never think to express to someone, things that typically don’t find their way into movies [because] people don’t write about those things.”

“There are little missed connections and little conversations that are completely separate—you think you’re having an exchange with someone that is like the definition of a conversation but sometimes you’re [interpreted a different way],” Stewart explained. “And I thought it was just so perfect.”

Later in the conversation, when an audience member remarked on Certain Women’s slow-burning pace, Stewart was quick to leap to the filmmaker’s defense.

“It’s a really, really unique thing actually to have [a director with] any bit of comfort sitting and watching [instead of trying to] package up and deliver you this specific notion,” Stewart said. “It doesn’t happen. Her movies are so composed. . . .she is super thoughtful in her approach. It is slow and steady, and the fact that she has the patience and the interest in things that people don’t normally look at is what paces her movies—the comfort of watching nothing because there is always something in there.”

Stewart has previously talked about how she picks projects, saying, “I'm genuinely very much blown with the wind, I follow the gut.” She also explained how she is isn't concerned about the direction of her career as much as she is collecting experiences that inspire her.

“I'm fully willing to hop on something if I'm interested in one person who's involved in it, or one line that my character says that I've always been dying to say,” Stewart said last year. And even if signing onto a project for one alluring aspect leads to a critical bust, Stewart is unconcerned. “It's like, I will make a bad movie,” she said, adding that she is completely fine with that inevitability. “I'm like, whatever. . .I didn't make [the movie] myself!”

Kristen Talks "Certain Women" to The Hollywood Reporter

THR Sundance Studio: Kristen Stewart and the Women Who Influen...
'Certain Women' star Kristen Stewart reveals the women who have influenced her most in life and film. #THRSundance
Posted by The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, January 24, 2016

"In terms of physical beauty in the States, it's really mind-blowing," Stewart said of shooting in Montana.

In Certain Women, Kristen Stewart doesn't see eye-to-eye with co-star Lily Gladstone.

"I think we make eye contact like two or three times!" Gladstone joked to The Hollywood Reporter at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

That's because the Kelly Reichardt film, which follows three women's stories in a small town in Montana, casts them both as two women who are very stuck in their daily grind.

Based on short stories by Maile Meloy, Certain Women casts Stewart as a new lawyer who has gotten stuck teaching a night class that requires her to drive four hours each direction. There, she meets a young rancher (Lily Gladstone), who is also looking for meaning in her life.

"What drew me personally to it was it’s really sad to watch two people on two completely different pages, maybe think they’re understanding something, but you’re just having two separate conversations,” Stewart explained of joining the project.

And as for shooting in Montana, though only for a short time (upon driving from Los Angeles), "In terms of physical beauty in the States, it's really mind-blowing."

"She has the patience and the interest in things that people don't normally look at," says the actress of director Kelly Reichardt during the Sundance premiere.

Director Kelly Reichardt's latest movie, Certain Women, had its Sundance premiere Sunday night, and while two of its leading actresses — Laura Dern and Michelle Williams — were unable to attend the festival, the third, Kristen Stewart, took the stage along with Reichardt and several members of the cast to speak about the film after its screening.

Based on short stories by Maile Meloy, Certain Women follows three women's stories in a small town in Montana. Stewart plays a new lawyer who has gotten stuck teaching a night class that requires her to drive four hours each direction. There, she meets a young rancher (Lily Gladstone), who is also looking for meaning in her life.

"I'm a Reichardt fan," said Stewart. "I think particularly for our story, Kelly is somehow fixated on things that most people miss. She's really good at highlighting the unspoken and the invisible."

The latest film by Reichardt, who previously helmed Night Moves and Wendy and Lucy (also starring Williams), showcases the landscape of the Montana town, along with the small, sometimes mundane movements of its main characters.

Stewart said the interactions — and mostly lack of real interaction — between her character and Gladstone's was of special interest to her. "There's little conversations that are completely separate — you think you're having an exchange with someone ... but sometimes you're just so alone," she said. "I thought it was so perfect and sad, sad, sad."

Reichardt said she first stumbled upon Meloy's short stories in a Portland bookstore.

"I knew right away that I wanted to make a film of her stories," she said. "They were right up my alley — landscapes, people in landscapes, a lot of chores — all my favorite things."

The filmmaker spent a year trying out different stories to see which would work well together. Then, once the script was done, Reichardt said the focus became on the script and shooting in Montana. "Once I got my feet on the ground, I didn't look back to the stories," she said.

"Her movies are super thoughtful in their approach, and slow and steady," added Stewart of Reichardt's pacing. "The fact that she has the patience and the interest in things that people don't normally look at is what paces her movies. It's the comfortability of watching nothing — because there's always something in there."

She added: "She's really letting people live — it's rare."

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Kristen at Sundance 2016 for "Certain Women"


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