Here’s Kristen Stewart last night at the LA premiere of Spencer. The film opens next Friday and a solid box office would be great but at this point, given that the film has already screened at several film festivals and other industry events, even if it doesn’t perform commercially, that shouldn’t take away from Kristen contending for the Best Actress Oscar. Of course we still have months to go in this award season but right now, she’s considered one of the top candidates. And as Sarah and I have been writing the last few months, the fact that she appears to be going for it doesn’t hurt either.
In a new interview with The Sunday Times published this weekend, Kristen talked about her career and her choices, saying that out of all the film she’s been in, she’s “probably made five really good films”. That’s the headline that’s generating the most attention but it’s just one statement in a longer conversation about the experience of filmmaking. Kristen goes onto explain that, “That doesn’t mean I regret the experience. I’ve only regretted saying yes to a couple of films, and not because of the result, but because it wasn’t fun.”
It’s a deft answer, and one that probably most if not all of her peers can relate to. First of all, she was a child star. Next year will mark her 20th anniversary in the business. That’s a long career, and a lot of movies. But while actors are the most visible part of a movie, they’re actually just one piece of a huge production. Which I know people understand intellectually but I don’t know if they appreciate it practically. I think it was Jeff Daniels who said on the Smartless podcast recently that for an actor, when you wrap on a film, you’re done, apart from promotion. If you’re a director, though? The end of filming is only 30% of the work. The film still has to go into post where it’s edited and the sound is adjusted, and you need music and so much more. To go back to Kristen then, her performance is the only thing she controls and it’s not even in her full control because technically she doesn’t choose which takes make it to the final cut – and in some cases, with some actors, none of their takes make it to the final cut! (Did you know Paul Rudd filmed a scene for Bridesmaids?!)
Then, on top of that, for actors, of course you don’t go into a project thinking, this is going to be SO bad, that’s why I’m doing it. But for many of them, they agree to do it for more than just what’s on the page. Sometimes it’s the experience of working with a particular director. Sometimes it’s the experience of working with the other cast members. Sometimes it’s the opportunity to go on location! Sometimes it’s just because they’ve never done an action/comedy/drama movie before.
As Kristen explains, the experience itself is often the reason. And for her, even if she’s in a film that may not be received as positively as hoped, it doesn’t mean the experience is regretful. If it was fun, there are no regrets. And the ones she regrets often have less to do with the actual work than with the environment and what’s happening outside of the work.
Right now the work is the promotion of Spencer and the Oscar push. Part of the work at the premiere is the look – and being a Chanel ambassador is also one of her jobs too. This outfit is both distinctly Chanel and distinctly KStew. The bow and the tiers, those are Chanel signatures. The bra top, though, gives the look an edge…which is signature Kristen Stewart. This is why Kristen + Chanel has been such a perfect brand marriage all these years. And I’m sorry I have to say this again, this is what I mean when I say that I’m not seeing the same energy from the Margot Robbie + Chanel partnership. It doesn’t hit the same way.