You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Woody Allen Cast Kristen Stewart in ‘Cafe Society’ Without Watching ‘Twilight’

Woody Allen makes his 12th trip to Cannes with the opening night comedy “Café Society,” which premieres on Wednesday. He spoke to Variety for this week’s cover story on Kristen Stewart, who stars in the film as a 1930s secretary torn between two men (played by Jesse Eisenberg and Steve Carell).

Do you like coming to Cannes?
It’s fun for my wife. She enjoys the people and socializing — going to lunch and dinner. I get off the plane and I’m escorted instantly to interviews. I do wall-to-wall interviews until I leave. I never get a chance to do anything that isn’t connected with promotional obligations to the movie. For me, it’s around-the-clock work. I can do maybe as many as 100 journalists a day. My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t do that. Whenever there’s an opportunity to go, she always says, “It’s good for the picture and I have a good time,” so we go.

Are you concerned about heightened security after the Brussels attacks?
Oh, listen — I worry about that when I go to the supermarket or when I get the newspaper. I’m the world biggest worrywart. So you can’t judge by me. I’m hypochondriacal when it comes to terrorism.

“Café Society” stars Kristen Stewart as an Audrey Hepburn-like secretary. Did you know she had a lighter side?
I didn’t know. I took a chance. I had her read a paragraph and she read it so well, that all our apprehensions — which are not huge to begin with — vanished instantly. None of us knew her except in the heaviest of things. We did want to see if she had a lighter side. We assumed she did. She’s a young girl, and she’s certainly not going to be a grim.

She said you made fun of the way she walked.
I told her she walked like a relief pitcher coming in from the bullpen. I was expecting this beautiful creature to emerge and walk on. She suddenly looks like a guy coming out of a bullpen to walk out to the mound.

After Twilight, she became the first young female movie star to headline a franchise in the Internet age. Do you have a sense of how she’s dealt with that?
No, that’s something I have no idea of. I don’t have a computer. I’m not on the Internet. I don’t know anything about any of that. I’ve never seen her, except as in this Greg Mottola movie [“Adventureland”]. And in passing. I might be on the treadmill and surf through 60 seconds of the vampire movie, where she’d look so beautiful. Those kinds of movies were never of interest to me particularly. I don’t really know of her Internet life. If you told me she had 100 million followers or 2 million followers, it wouldn’t mean too much to me.

So you haven’t seen “Twilight?”
I didn’t see her in the vampire movie.

You’re missing out.
Oh, I’m sure. I get to see a limited amount of movies. There’s so many terrific movies I’ve missed out on in the last 15 or 20 years. I can’t believe how movie illiterate I am.

Do you have the actors in mind when you’re writing a role?
In this case, the story was prevailing, and I knew there were a number of terrific young actresses around. I knew I would have no problem getting them. When the time came, we felt that the two best ones for the picture were Kristen and Blake [Lively]. Kristen was perfect for that little Midwestern Nebraska secretary and we wanted someone that is completely the opposite of Kirsten, that is tall and blonde and had a different quality completely.

What about Kristen that made her right for the role?
She just has a simple beauty. She looks fresh off the farm — like she’s from Nebraska and so naturally pretty. And when you doll her up later, she can carry that because she has enough looks to be able to wear long earrings and furs and look tremendous. But I’m very Spartan with all my actresses with makeup. I try to keep that to the most minimum or nothing if I can get away with it.

Would you consider Kirsten Stewart a movie star?
Yes, I think she has the look. She’s very young, very beautiful and talented. And if she just keeps her hand on the wheel and makes good decisions, she’s home free. She should have an incredible career. She’s not someone you cast just because she’s beautiful. She can deliver. She’s got a sense of humor. She can give you the heavy stuff. She’s one of the crop of young actresses around now — like Blake or Emma Stone, they are tremendous performers.

More Film

  • China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to

    China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to Hit French Theaters (EXCLUSIVE)

    Midnight Blur Films has signed a deal with French distributor Les Acacias to release Chinese arthouse drama “Three Adventures of Brooke” in France this year, the Chinese production company told Variety on Saturday. A release date has yet to be set for the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and stars Chinese newcomer Xu Fangyi [...]

  • Noe Debre On His Directorial Debut,

    Top French Screenwriter Noe Debre Makes Directorial Debut, ‘The Seventh Continent’

    This last half-decade, few French screenwriters have run up such an illustrious list of co-write credits as Noé Debré. Thomas Bedigain’s writing partner on Jacques Audiard’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Deephan,” Debra co-penned Bedigain’s own debut, “The Cowboys,” “Racer and the Jailbird,” by Michael Roskam, and “Le Brio,” directed by Yvan Attal. He has now [...]

  • Julien Trauman Talks Survival-Thriller Short ‘At

    Julien Trauman on Survival-Thriller Short ‘At Dawn’

    France’s Julien Trauman has never been afraid to play with genre, and in his latest short, the MyFrenchFilmFestival participant “At Dawn,” he employs aspects of psychological thriller, survival, coming-of-age and fantasy filmmaking. “At Dawn” kicks off the night before when a group of teens, one about to leave town, are imbibing heavily around a beach-side [...]

  • ‘Flowers’ Director Baptiste Petit-Gats Interview

    Baptiste Petit-Gats: ‘Editing Taught Me How to Write for Film’

    France’s Baptiste Petit-Gats is an hyphenate that keeps himself plenty busy editing, photographing, writing and directing. The bulk of his editing gigs up until now have been in documentary film work, evident in the way he shot and edited his own short film, participating in the MyFrenchFilmFestival, “Flowers.” In the film, Petit-Gats tells the heartbreaking [...]

  • Fanny Litard, Jérémy Trouilh on ‘Blue

    France’s Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh Discuss MyFFF Suburban Fable ‘Blue Dog’

    French filmmakers Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh met at university while studying political science before diverging towards separate careers. Trouilh trained in documentary filmmaking; Liatard worked on urban artistic projects in Lebanon and France. They eventually joined back up to film three shorts: “Gagarine,” a Sundance Channel Shorts Competition Jury Prize winner in 2016; “The [...]

  • MFFF: 'The Collection' Director Blanchard Readies

    'The Collection' Director Emmanuel Blanchard Readies First Feature

    Paris-born Emmanuel Blanchard studied and then taught history before becoming a documentary filmmaker responsible for films such as “Bombing War,” “Le diable de la République” and “Après la guerre.” He’s currently directing “Notre-Dame de Paris”, a 90-minute animated part-doc, part-fiction film on the building of the world-famous Paris cathedral. Competing at MyFFF, “The Collection” is [...]

  • Dragon Ball Super: Broly

    Film Review: ‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’

    Late in “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” the 20th Japanese anime feature in a 35-year-old franchise that also has spawned scads of TV series, trading cards, video games, mangas, and limited-edition collectibles, a supporting character complains, “I don’t understand a single thing you’ve said the whole time.” If you’re among the heretofore uninitiated drawn to this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content