Kristen Stewart, who has been on a festival marathon with her latest film “Seberg,” sat with Guy Lodge at the Variety Lounge presented by Credit Suisse to reflect on her eclectic and bold career choices ahead of receiving the Golden Eye Award at the Zurich Film Festival.
Stewart said she felt an energetic aligning with Jean Seberg, an icon of the French new wave whose political activism made her the target of the FBI in the late ’60s. “She was such a seminal figure, an icon who had an incredible energy and presence,” said Stewart.
As an actor who is outspoken about social and political issues, Stewart said while it was “much easier today (than in Seberg’s times) to align with like-minded people… we’re always wondering what we should believe and not believe.”
Stewart has become a vocal advocate of the LGBTQ community within the industry, but she said her involvement on that front “never felt imposed.” “I never felt… I had to do something. I never struggled to get there. I just felt this cool opportunity to be able to communicate with people who had a hard time and (who faced) aggressively oppressive things in their lives that had made it harder for them to be them.”
Up next, Stewart said she looks forward to stepping behind the camera early next year to make her directorial debut with an adaptation of “The Chronology of Water,” a memoir written by Lidia Yuknavitch. “The Chronology of Water” tells the story of a lifelong swimmer who becomes an artist.
“It’s my favorite bit of contemporary writing I ever read. (Yuknavitch) processes the pain and experiences of having a body that’s so confrontationally and honestly true to the female experience,” Stewart said.
Her advice for younger generations of actors: “If it’s something you can’t not do, then you can’t go wrong.” She also said the only thing that really mattered was one’s “interaction with that experience” rather than whether people are watching or talking about it.
Looking back at her experience as a child actor, Stewart said Jodie Foster, with whom she worked on “Panic Room,” was the perfect person to be working with as a kid. “I got so lucky. She’s kind of the epitome of what you would want as an example.”