Kelly Reichardt on how she got to Kristen Stewart

The writer/director reveals how she landed the Hollywood megastar for her new film Certain Women.

As told to

Sophie Monks Kaufman

To mere mortals watching from the sidelines, all directors and actors whose films make it into cinemas have achieved a flicker of immortality. But behind-the-scenes personal icons are tiered according to mainstream appeal.

Kelly Reichardt works resolutely outside of the Hollywood system, making integrity-fuelled art, and so money and industry reach are not her currency. Meanwhile, despite an ongoing foray into fascinating indie projects, Kristen Stewart’s post-Twilight glow is like a lighthouse beckoning all comers. So how did the former sidestep the crowds around the latter in order to cast her as Elizabeth Travis in Certain Women?

“Some friends of mine made a film with Kristen, Still Alice, so they gave the script [for Certain Women] to her. Her response was, ‘If it happens, let me know, and I’ll come do this’, but right up until the day she arrived on set, we were like, ‘Is Kristen Stewart really going to show up?’ And then there she was. It was like, ‘Oh hey, here you are.’”

Read our full interview with director Kelly Reichardt

“I had worked with Dakota Fanning and with Jesse Eisenberg [on 2014’s Night Moves] and they are two of her closest friends, so they put in a good word. I had had really fun experiences with both Dakota and Jesse, so I think because of that Kristen was game for it. But she was completely unperturbed by the size of the part. She’s not the lead. She plays a supporting part in the movie, and she made so much of that character.

“She let Lily Gladstone’s character set the pace and be the focus. She was so generous – a really generous actor, I thought. She helped give it some shape, because Lily’s a really different kind of actor, really intuitive and Kristen, likewise, is an intuitive actor, but she’s also been doing it a long time and she’s a technical actress. I thought that it played well in terms of who the two characters are. She had a barbecue for the crew on the day off and was just totally easy and not at all demanding.

“I loved her in The Runaways, that’s really what I loved Kristen in most. It’s an imperfect movie but all the women in it are really… I loved the real Runaways so I really did not want a movie of The Runaways, but she’s really good in it!”

Certain Women is released in cinemas 3 March. Read the LWLies Recommends review.

Published 3 Mar 2017

Tags: Kelly Reichardt Kristen Stewart

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