A stylish and versatile actress, Kristen Stewart has shown tremendous range by playing roles as diverse as Bella Swan in the Twilight Saga, a warrior Snow White, and now French film icon Jean Seberg, an American actress who spent half her life in France and tragically died at the age of Benedict Andrews’ Seberg, which had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival (out of competition), stands out, among other things, for the way it deals with a very topical issue in today’s world: the boundary between public and private life.
During a press conference held on the 40th anniversary of Seberg’s death, the American actress talked about her character with tenderness and respect, emphasizing her altruism, courage, and frailty. Stewart noted that the young star had a “hunger behind her eyes” which made her more than just a fabulous pixie cut.
How did you want to portray Jean Seberg?
“I wanted to show her as this woman who desperately tries to remain in contact with people, with real life, with the world. I too feel the need to maintain a healthy relationship with myself and withothers. The funny thing is that, before studying her films and other material to prepare for the role, I didn’t realize that all this hunger behind her eyes and just this excited, exuberant need to connect with other people is what made her jump off the screen.”
And what about her as a person?
“She was a really compassionate humanitarian at a time when people didn’t want to stomach that. She even sacrificed herself for others, which is really admirable and a courageous thing to do. We should definitely know her for more than the short haircut.”
In the film, Seberg is subjected to surveillance by the FBI due to her romantic relationship with a Black Panther leader. Do you think something like that could happen today?
“We live in a very public world, there’s no need to spy or read through someone’s emails to get information.”
You became famous at a young age. Do you feel better prepared for fame now than you were back then?
“I’m ready for all of it! Yeah! I’m so proud of the people that I’ve worked with recently, and I really want other people to see that in an expansive sense. I’m not intimidated by it at all. I would really like to reach new heights, but at the same time I’m not really thinking about it in that way. It’s the coolest thing. I’m ready for all the people in the world to see that – as long as it feels natural.”
There’s one line in the film where a character says, “the revolution needs movie stars”. Do you think political causes still need movie stars today?
“I don’t like social media, but I do like interacting with the audience and being totally open about communicating with people. It’s not hard for me to wear my politics. It shows up in what I say and in the work I do.”