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Kristen Stewart on Feeling Misunderstood and Dealing With Her Fame

Kristen Stewart on Feeling Misunderstood and Dealing With Her Fame

[Editor’s Note: This feature originally ran during the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. “Clouds of Sils Maria” opens this Friday, April 10 in select theaters.]

READ MORE: Kristen Stewart on Finding Herself Through Her Roles

“It’s annoying that people think, ‘Oh, is this the role where she’s going to show everyone how she’s grown?,'” Kristen Stewart told Indiewire last Friday in Cannes. “I’m not trying to show anyone anything.”

The actress was feeling a bit defensive following the world premiere of her latest post-“Twilight” indie, Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria,” and you can’t blame her. Ever since shooting to worldwide fame after being cast as Bella Swan in the “Twilight” franchise, it’s arguable that no actress has received more attention — often for the wrong reasons — than Stewart.

Up until the first “Twilight” entry, Stewart had endeared herself to many with her bracing work in David Fincher’s “Panic Room” and Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild.” As soon as “Twilight” hit the scene, turning her into a supernova overnight, she became better known for her romance with co-star Robert Pattinson than her craft. She kept busy working in between the five “Twilight” installments, appearing memorably alongside the late James Gandolfini in 2010’s “Welcome to the Ridleys,” and in 2012’s “On the Road,” which also premiered at Cannes. But it’s been her post-“Twilight” projects that have drawn the most attention to the actress — attention she’s trying her best to manage.

First came the Sundance prison drama “Camp X-Ray,” and now “Clouds of Sils Maria,” in which Stewart shares the screen with Juliette Binoche, playing her character’s overworked assistant. “Clouds of Sils Maria” was better received by critics, yet both were met with countless articles on how Stewart fared in the film, and whether her performance boded well for a long career ahead. (Just last week, Criticwire ran an article titled “Will Kristen Stewart Finally Get Her Due With ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’?”) Despite her many years the business, Stewart still finds herself having to prove that it’s her talent that got her to where she is today, and not the twihards.

That struggle was evident during a roundtable interview Stewart did with select press at Cannes the afternoon following the competition screening of “Clouds.” No longer visibly press-shy as she was when promoting the first few “Twilight” films, Stewart took to the roundtable with a passion that was palpable in the way she articulated her candid responses to each question. It’s clear there’s some fight in her. Below are the highlights:

She doesn’t think of her projects as “products.”

“I am obsessed with ignoring the idea that we’re creating products. I really choose every single project I do based on the desire, and based on really just wanting to experience making that story happen.”

She’s using her celebrity as a tool.

“I just directed this music video with my friend, and it’s going to be made to be something that it’s not. It’s something I did in four days, it was a fun little story, and it’s going to get more attention than whatever it’s supposed to get. I think it’s just something to play on. If you can’t change it, then don’t be afraid of it — push harder!”

READ MORE: Kristen Stewart, Director? Watch Her Directorial Debut Here.

She loves blockbusters just as much as small indies — as long as they’re good.

“It’s so possible to make a [big] movie that is meaningful and truthful, and putting it in a sort of heightened setting, to really take ideas that mean something to us but making them more effective by putting them in an odd world. Using conventions to make things hit harder.

“I also just like really like big movies. I’m American, I grew up on them. But I also want them to be really good. I think that that’s totally possible. When you’re not completely product obsessed, I think it’s possible.”

She’s doesn’t get too close for comfort with her assistants like Juliette Binoche’s character in “Clouds.”

“I have had an assistant. While we were making the ‘Twilight’ movies, I did a movie in between each of them, so I needed someone who I could ask things like, ‘Can you go help me buy some toilet paper?’

“I haven’t gotten as close. I have seen it though. It’s something that’s familiar to me. Actors become super isolated. Again, I’m not fucking complaining about it. But you have a very unique perspective on things because people don’t talk to you. They feel like they can’t come up and say, ‘Hi.’ Suddenly you’re incredibly lonely. So people hire friends for these jobs, and then the lines get blurred. They’re your co-worker, your employee, your associate, your friend, your mom sometimes.

“In the case of the film, what I think makes it interesting is you have these two women who are codependent and obsessed with each other in many ways. And they don’t fit into the normal categories of what we all know relationships to be. Our relationship should have a category. What the movie is about is having a very unique relationship in a very esoteric world, and having a really hard time gauging why it’s happening and how to deal with it. Knowing that it’s unhealthy and you should be getting those things elsewhere, and how that polarizes you and how at the exact time, it brings you so fucking close together.”

She got a tattoo after the making of “Clouds of Sils Maria.”

“I got this because of this film,” Stewart said after being asked about her new tattoo on her right forearm. “I gave Valentine [her character in the film] tattoos for the film, so I had transfers made. You don’t know anything about Valentine, it’s all about Maria [Binoche’s character]. And that’s a huge aspect of the story, is that she never focuses on herself. They never talk about her life, ever. I wanted to show little indications of, ‘Who is that?’ Instead of just playing an assistant that was generic. She has interests, she’s going to places, you just don’t know where they are. And so I got so attached to this one that I got it.”

“This is part of ‘Guernica,'” she said of the tattoo itself. “It’s a Picasso painting that I saw when I was 18 and in Madrid. It fucking floored me and it’s the first time I responded to a piece of art like that. It is just perfect for me. I love what it makes me think of. It’s like ‘keep going, and keep the fucking light on.'”

She’s doesn’t consider herself to be a “performance-y” actor.

“I’m just the type of actor, and there are different types, who’s not all performance-y. I know a lot of actors that fucking love it. Like right now they’d be captivating you. It goes against my grain. Those things don’t go together for me, which makes it hard sometimes.”

She feels she was misunderstood early in her career.

“I’m not saying that anyone’s impression of me is wrong (that would be a silly thing to say), but initially I was deemed very ungrateful, like I didn’t care. It’s a thing. Think anything about me; do NOT think that I don’t care. It was because I was nervous and I was freaking out that everyone was fucking staring at me.”

She knows how to deal with her popularity now.

“I totally have changed, just in the way that I can deal. It’s not like they were right, but they weren’t wrong. I don’t think I was conveying myself as easily. I was just totally overwhelmed. The impression just wasn’t as spot on. I’m a little older and I’m more experienced with it. It’s easier to talk to you guys about it. But initially, it was just kind of impossible. When you’re put on the spot and you can’t think — it was a ridiculous version of that. It blew up in my face. It’s hilarious that the perception is that I don’t care, because when that was happening, I was like, ‘Oh my god, no one cares more than me!’

She’s not in it for the fame.

“With some people you wonder why they’re still doing what they’re doing. What is driving you at this point? The job takes a toll, a thing I think the movie is about. You’re giving so much of yourself all the time. It’s not something in your genetics that you retain. It can really kind of destroy you, constantly thinking about what people think about you. People who want to be movie stars… it’s such bullshit. That type of life is a huge driving force in so many actor’s lives. But they wont be happy people at the end, ’cause they’re not doing anything for themselves. They’re always satisfying.”

She thinks actors are “weird.”

“If you don’t have anything to put in, you’re not going to give a lot out,” she said of her craft. “Go out and live your life and show us something that you’ve learned. I’ve worked a lot. It’s not like I’ve taken breaks. It’s not breaks that helps, it’s managing input and output. Most people live their lives happily. The impulse to make stuff is not in everyone. Most people who have that impulse are weird. They need to take care of themselves.”

READ MORE: Kristen Stewart on Finding Herself Through Her Roles

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Tashi dorjee

kristen has always been my best .i feel like i am her not the craziest fan i think there are more too but i am her fan.i like everything about her .she is a phenomenal actress and can survive and kill every role .love her talent and positivity .you are going great keep going .may success be on your side ..


I really admire this wonderful woman, she has inspired me through out the many years. I would love to meet her one-day though highly impossible. And well agreed twilight was a head turner but I loved the reality movies the most. Tattoos are a piece of art in themselves and really do tell their own story. So props to you Kristen and your umph!


She’s an utter professional actress and sweet person. I love her attitude towards acting!~ Her interview fascinates me every time.


She’s just smart and a lot of people are just rude.


Tess Donaldson

I agree with FRICHAST – haven’t seen her deliver anything substantial yet. She seems to be a one-note actress, but maybe that’s going to change. I wish she could express herself without saying "f%#king" so much. Sometimes it fits & sometimes she sounds like a 13 year-old.


If she is always doing the same thing like pulling her hair and stammering its cause thats her normal self. She is just being herself.. natural. And this is called good acting


….and just saw Camp X-Ray: it was great.
Stewart: excellent.


She is not remotely narcissistic, one of the less vain and more humble actors out there, frequently funny, and an A+ actor.


Does she ever talk about ANYTHING but herself and her choices? Yes, I know the point of an interview, but she talks about herself so unironically and narcissistically, it's troubling.

There's never any apparent awareness of anything going on outside of her own myopic existence. And she's never, ever humble or funny. She has a PR rep, but she obviously has shunned any kind of media training, which she needs if she's going to continue giving interviews.


Cannot wait for this movie. The reviews sound wonderful, and I am happy to see her getting such tremendous praise. Big fan of Juliette Binoche and Chloe Moretz as well. Must have been a great experience working with Juliette, and she filmed a movie with Julianne Moore. Looks like things are going very well for her.

Haters Gonna Hate

I'm looking at you, Copy/Paste Troll. Stay pressed.


I think she cares, I think she's always cared about herself. She sounds like a classic narcissist. "Me, me, me!" And of course she doesn't get close to her assistant, she can't use her assistant to further her career.

She seems so cold and calculating. And it's so convenient that no one is allowed to ask her about her affair with Rupert Sanders. Just sweep it under the rug, talk about every other aspect of her life, but don't touch the third rail. No one has amnesia, and it's going to haunt her forever. Too bad she won't deal with it, that's the only hope she has of making it go away.


Nothing really new here. She always babbles on, trying to sound intelligent and usually sticking her foot in her mouth or coming off as a pretentious hipster wannbe. And the swearing! She sounds like a convict who's been in San Quentin for 10 years already. All the Twilight cast said she swore more than any of them, and in front of the small child who played her daughter. She has no respect for anyone, or for herself for that matter.

I think she is judged because she's very famous and on top of that she is a boring actress with an unpleasant personality. If she was truly talented or charming, people would be more willing to forgive her. But as it is, her affair just adds insult to injury.


Does she have to keep f@@king swearing??!


Interesting interview and so happy to see Kristen sounding more comfortable with the media. I am a big fan and yes it did start with Twilight. However, i have since watched a lot of her work from Speak, In the Land of Women, The Runaways, On the Road, Into the Wild, Adventureland and Snow White and she has produced some great performances. It pisses me off when people say she shows no emotion when I find it the opposite. She is passionate, intelligent and I will continue to support her work.


Nice job, Nigel. Good interview.


Interesting interview. Definitely going to see Sils Maria.


Guernica is such an iconic painting for so many reasons. A very cool tattoo choice. Also, Clouds of Sils Maria looks good and the abundant critical praise for Kstew is promising. She's got tremendous talent. Twilight just made people forget that (or choose to ignore it).


Advice to Indiewire: close your comment sections, yeah?

As for the interview, KS has great insight regarding people, actors, and Hollywood. That much is obvious. She's a straight shooter that one. Refreshing to see in a young actress.


She is a such a shitty actress. Even Dakota Fanning has more talent.


What is she on? She doesn't take breaks? She didn't set foot on a soundstage for 18 months after her cheating scandal with Rupert Sanders was exposed. That was a LONG break. And before that, she took the whole summer off in 2011 and hung out in LA and traveled around the US visiting relatives.

Wasn't she off just last year from October to January? She's had plenty of breaks. Why does bother to lie in interviews when her time off is so well documented? Makes everything she says suspect. But then, she's not known for being trustworthy in any case.

Ridleys Scott's True Heir

Mr. Journalist,
It's "Welcome to the RILEYS" not Ridleys. The director is Jake Scott, RIDLEY Scotts son. Saw it in Canne couple of years back, great film, great performances. Looking forward to Sils Maria.


Great article. Shitty comment section.


ugly lesbian


Sorry, I'm sure she is great in this film … and I got nothing for/against Twilight … I just find her persona history and life choices unsettling. She just rubs me the wrong way with her language, her attitude and her behavior.


These Rpattz Fans are embarrassing!


Just to clarify, these nasty comments about Stewart are from Robert Pattinson Fans obsessed to hate Kristen Stewart. They write the same things on all the blogs that have an article about her.


RPattz Fans are here leaving nasty comments about KStew. They write the same things on all the blogs. They live to hate her. Rather than cheer for their idol and write in the articles that talk about him, they prefer to write hate on his Ex.


Decent interview. She seems to have scraped through, with a few difficulties, to adulthood and comes across like an okay person….I've always felt a bit bad for her, even though she's made some mistakes. She hit it big when she was 17 and the tabloid blogs were first blowing up, and they were out for blood since Lilo was beginning her descent. She often came off like an angsty teenager and said some dumb stuff, but she was also attacked like crazy and it probably made her awkwardness with fame even worse and must have been a huge mindf*ck. I imagine she must be relieved as hell that the tabloids have slowly moved on from her to Miley Cyrus and co.


She has always been an A+ actress. She had a bus driven on top of her and it took a little while for her to recover. The support of her fans has been awesome.


@ LOVE. You are right, Robert can say anything and everyone things he is just being funny. During recent interviews on fame and child actors he said " they should get in therapy now, kill themselves or become serial killers" . The tabloids briefly picked on the therapy part but not on the rest. If it had been Kristen, she would have been ripped apart. If Kristen says anything about fame and the paps she is called ungrateful and spoiled but when he complains is because he wants privacy and deserves it.


Really Really hope she never meet Robert pattison ,he and his fan are demon and Ungrateful

rubish Rob

Robert pattison fans suck and get out !!!!!!


Kristen Stewart is an amazing actress who has been making movies a long time and paid really well. I do not think the people hiring her for these movies are stupid. I think they Know what they are doing. Those who criticize, what are you!!


Love the interview. Can't help it but I HATE that tattoo.


Why do you bring up her ex here?She is known not only because of relationship with R. Pattinson but because of her scandal with married director Rupert Sanders.What about her success with Snow White?It like PR interview.


I love her.period.


the worst actress ever,the runaways , twilight,Otr and snow white she is bad in all these movies and what a boring person she is , she has no sense of humor , always look depressing next …


"She loves blockbuster as long as they are good". What about all those Twilight movies? Or was it just for the money? What a hypocrite!


I like this interview. She is really thoughtful, smart and passionate person. Interesting approach to profession, interesting and not standard thoughts. And I really want to see these two so different movies: Camp X-Ray and Clouds of Sils Maria. The second one is more suitable for me, I don't like direct moralization, I like to find the answers by myself, but I want to see her in both of them.


Love her!


Good for her. I've always liked her and it was obvious to anybody (who isn't always looking at things negatively) that she was a shy, indie girl trying her best to deal with an insane situation. She was 17 years old for the first movie. It's inevitably the girl who will get the hate and judgement in any situation. I've always liked how Kristen has never slated the Twilight movies, she always says she is proud of them and sos he should be. Critics bedamned, it made 3.5billion at the box office and paved the way for Hunger Games, Divergent etc. Pattinson loves to mock them to try and get street cred but he doesn't seem to see how incredibly rude that is towards Stephenie Meyer and the fans, but of course he knows he can say whatever he wants and the twihards will think it is hilarious. If Kristen said the same thing she would be hounded and probably forced to apologise.

Just look at any comment section ona Kristen story – his fans rush to trash and insult her and the lies that come out of their mouth about her – they can't actually believe the things they say themselves

"Kristen's career is over, nobody cares about her!!!" – under a post about her great performance in Sils Maria or Camp X-Ray that THEY clicked on!

So glad that she has such a good perspective on everything. Maybe one day she will write a movie about a psychopathic fanbase – that would be the ultimate revenge.. after being happy and successful of course :)


I haven't seen her deliver anything substantial yet. She has one facial expression, and uses it in every role. She's basically playing the same role in every project she's in. Even in Snow White and The Huntsman where you would think she'd let loose a little bit and not be so damned sullen and stone-faced, she's doing the same old boring Kristen Stewart we've seen a hundred times before. I haven't seen Camp X-Ray or Clouds of Sils Maria yet, maybe they'll change my mind, but so far she hasn't impressed me.


I love her.


I love this interview. I think she is one of the most candid people in Hollywood. So glad the tide seems to be changing for her.

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