Entertainment & Arts

Kristen Stewart talks film, fame and France

Kristen Stewart Image copyright Gravier productions
Image caption Kristen Stewart says "there's a little place for me" in Cannes

Twilight star Kristen Stewart, who stars in two movies at this year's Cannes Film Festival, discusses fame, the press and how it feels to be "huge in France".

There are a number of actors and actresses who are doubling up at Cannes by having more than one film to screen or promote.

Not many, though, are returning to the festival with a Cesar on their mantelpiece, won for the film that last occasioned their visit to the event.

Stewart came to Cannes in 2014 with Clouds of Sils Maria, a film that went on to win her a Cesar - France's equivalent of the Oscar - the following year.

This year she's back, not just to bang the drum for Woody Allen's festival opener Cafe Society, but also to premiere her second film with Sils Maria director Olivier Assayas.

Image copyright Arte France Cinema
Image caption Stewart is keen to get behind the camera

Her roles in the two could hardly be more different. In Allen's latest, she plays a Hollywood film studio secretary in the 1930s who blossoms into a wealthy, glamorously-gowned socialite.

In Personal Shopper, meanwhile, she's the one buying the gowns in her role as a scooter-riding stylist whose life is unsettled by a mysterious texting stalker.

Together they represent a new career chapter for an actress previously best known for her work in the Twilight fantasy series.

It is, she admits, "really cool" to be clutched once more to Cannes' bosom.

"The fact that there is a little place for me here makes me so proud," she grins.

Paparazzi perils

"I look at the other actors from the [United] States who have had a place here and they're all people I identify with and idolise.

"It's a good group to be a part of. I love festivals, but this is the best one."

Stewart is being self-deprecating when she refers to herself as being "huge in France". In truth, though, this 26-year-old is pretty huge everywhere.

And with that comes a negative - the media's obsessive interest in her personal life and a constant paparazzi presence shadowing her every move.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Stewart says her experience of being in the spotlight is different to Allen's

We speak shortly after Allen has told reporters at Cannes that the lack of privacy some actors endure is "not a life-threatening problem" and that "the perks outweigh the downsides".

Perhaps understandably, Stewart - whose relationships with her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, director Rupert Sanders and French performer Stephanie "Soko" Sokolinski have been well documented elsewhere - regards the situation differently.

"Woody is 80-years-old," she says of the veteran director of Annie Hall, Manhattan and too many others to mention.

"He was famous at a very different time.

"We've had entirely different experiences with fame and the way we consume the reality show that is the entertainment industry.

"It's like I've been cast in a comic book as a character that is fully developed by everyone but me.

"He has had very different experiences with the paparazzi and being able to walk outside his front door. He's right, it's still worth it, but it's not that simple."

Perhaps it's the trappings, good and bad, that come with being in front of the camera that has made Stewart crave to be behind it.

"I wrote a short (film) a couple of years ago and this is the right time to do it," she confirms. "I got it financed recently and I'm going to do it in June or July."

Although reluctant to say more about a personal project she hopes will "speak for itself", Stewart expresses a strong desire to be a lightning rod for talent.

"When energy gets put into a project right, it's like holding onto this really breakable little object that is very precious," she explains.

"That's what I want to do. I want to be the catalyst."

Cafe Society opened the 2016 Cannes Film Festival while Personal Shopper will premiere at Cannes on Tuesday. Both will be released in the UK at a later date.

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