New BTS photo from “Clouds of Sils Maria” + Pre-Cannes Interview with Oliver Assayas about Kristen

Kristen is on the cover of Les Inrockuptibles’s special Cannes 2014 issue (using an old V Magazine photo), and the magazine interviewed Oliver Assayas for some great info about working with Kristen and creating Kristen’s character. Thanks so much to itsoktobeyou for the translation!! It looks like there may be more translation to come.


In Sils Maria, Olivier Assays organizes a few confrontations. Confrontations between two characters, an internationally renowned actress and her young American assistant, both isolated in the outback of Tyrol to prepare a play. But it’s also a confrontation between two real actresses: Juliette Binoche in a mirror role that she interpreted in her debut in André Téchiné’s Rendez-Vous (1985) (written by Assayas), and Kristen Stewart, the Twilight star (2008, etc.), reinvented here as an American student a little tomboyish with an incredible finesse and comical nature. The filmmaker explains for us some facets of this magnificent portrait of actresses, sensual, wily and kaleidoscopic.
“I wrote the movie thinking only of Juliette (Binoche). The movie is constructed around her. Next to this character of a French actress with an international career, I imagined the character of a young assistant and I instantly envisioned for the role an Anglo-Saxon actress. The character had to have this pragmatism that Anglo-Saxon people have, really be of her time, to the point of incarnate some sort of hardness. And it was also important to me that the dialogues are in English. Because I wanted to go search into Juliette something different than what she can do in French. I was looking for an actress who could put her (Juliette) in danger, shake her up.”
“I saw the first Twilight, which I like, but I didn’t see the next ones. Before that, I had already noticed Kristen in her role pretty fugitive, Sean Penn’s Into the Wild (2007). Then I saw her in The Runaways (2010), who isn’t a good movie, where the reconstitution of the rock industry in 70s is very artificial. But she believes in it and we totally accept that she is Joan Jett. In The Runaways especially, we discover in her something pretty rough, tensed. I hoped to find behind this wall some form of humour, something human, close, who produces identification. I found it beyond what I expected.”
“I ran into Kristen a few times thanks to my producer Charles Gillibert, who also produced On the Road (2012). We spent some informal time together after premieres, in small groups. We didn’t talk about my work, or hers, but the contact was nice. I had the intuition that it interested her to work in one of my movies.”
On the side
“She really understood well everything that was going on in the movie, the mapping of feelings, including the more ambiguous ones… But she mostly seen, I think, how this role, which is not in appearance at the center of the movie, was interesting for her. Kristen has a slightly sulfurous reputation in Hollywood. In the movie, there is a character close to that, a teen star played by Chloë Moretz, and the character of Kristen judges her, never cease to comment what she represents. This step aside a little reflective, it’s what attracted her to the project, I think. It allowed her to say: I have this distance, I have this step back and I fuck you.”
Star and novice
“I made sure that her status in international cinema is never perceptible on screen. I wanted to deal with the role as if it was played by a young actress fresh out of drama classes. Somehow, I saw Kristen as a novice. When I chose Chloë Sevigny in Demonlover (2002), it was because I admired her in Larry Clark (Kids, 1995). There, I wanted to work with Kristen because of a delightful meeting and the feeling that, until then, she had exploited a very a small portion of her high potential as an actress. She’s a superstar but hasn’t done much yet. So she’s available to go in directions where she has never been.”
One take
“Kristen is not an actress who rehearses a lot. She learns the text twenty-five minutes before the take and knows it to perfection. Her precision, malicious intellect, quick comprehension impress me. She thinks she’s never as good as during the first take. And most of the time it’s true. Her implication is due to the fact, I think, that in the movies she shoots in Hollywood the system doesn’t allow to do just one take. They do, for everything, a lot of rehearsals, we can’t know this special shiver of the one and only take.”
No look
“The style of the character, in collaboration with Jürgen (Doering), the costume designer, she really built it. She wanted this androgynous look, these big walking shoes, these glasses. She liked the idea of leaving the glamorous to Juliette and to slip into the skin of an American student a little bit ‘no look’.”
“In the scene where they both swim in the lake, I let them free to undress completely or not. I simply said that Kristen would go in water first and Juliette would follow her. Kristen undressed and kept her underwear. Less because of modesty, I think, she felt sexy like that, with her thong under her panties.. But Juliette took her by surprise, by getting naked and ran in the water the first. Kristen was quite admiring of a certain freedom that belonged to Juliette, a capacity to live in the moment, to try risky things, that could’ve been aberrant. So, Juliette wanted to impress her, to go get her.”
Source: Les Inrockuptibles | Translation: itsoktobeyou
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