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IndieWire FYC Brunch: DP Rachel Morrison Says ‘Seberg’ Must Have Been ‘Therapeutic’ for Kristen Stewart

At IndieWire's FYC Brunch, cinematographer Rachel Morrison discussed the similarities between Stewart and actor-activist Jean Seberg.


Kristen Stewart has been acting in high-profile films since she was a child (see: “Panic Room”), and she certainly knows what it’s like to be under a high degree of scrutiny ever since she starred in “The Twilight Saga.” That lengthy experience with fame made Stewart all the more capable to play Jean Seberg, according to the cinematographer of the new film “Seberg,” Rachel Morrison.

“It must have been therapeutic for Kristen to work through some of her own issues dealing with fame since such a young age,” Morrison told Toolkit Editor Chris O’Falt at IndieWire’s Consider This FYC Brunch.

For her part, Morrison, the first woman ever Oscar-nominated for Best Cinematography (“Mudbound”), certainly felt an affinity for Stewart. She varied the lenses she used to photograph Stewart’s face in close-up, to get a sense of Seberg’s internal life, with the ones she deployed for the wider shots that showed the “Bonjour Tristesse” and “Breatheless” actor when she’s on display for the public.

Morrison was joined on the panel by a group of extraordinary artists working on the crafts side of new Amazon Studios releases: the production designer for “Seberg,” Jahmin Assa, along with Greg O’Bryant, editor of “The Report,” and Natasha Braier and Monica Salazar, the DP and editor, respectively, of “Honey Boy.”

“I felt very drawn to her,” Morrison said of working with Stewart. “Like we were dancing in sync with one another.”

Seberg was an early trailblazer for her ability to move between studio productions like “Paint Your Wagon” and “Airport” and also more independent work, like her films with Otto Preminger for United Artists — and of course her iconic role opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in “Breathless.” She also pioneered a new look with her closely cropped hair, which brought a new androgynous style to the screen that hadn’t really been seen before.

Seberg died from probable suicide at age 40 in 1979. Her husband Romain Gary blamed the pressure she was under from the FBI, who had been trailing her for years because of her support for the Black Panther movement.

IndieWire’s FYC Brunch took place at Liaison Hollywood on Las Palmas November 5. The event was presented by Amazon Studios, Apple Originals, Netflix, Disney, NatGeo, and United Artists Releasing.

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