The 70th Cannes Film Festival begins today. Sofia Coppola’s new film, The Beguiled, will be screening in competition for the Palme d’Or before its theatrical release on June 23. In support of The Beguiled, Sofia and Kirsten Dunst are on the cover of the new issue of Variety. This is their fourth collaboration after having worked together on The Virgin Suicides (it’s been too long since I’ve watched it, will be adding to the long weekend to-do list), Marie Antoinette (underrated, in my opinion), and The Bling Ring.
There’s a lot of good Show Your Work content in this double profile. Both Sofia and Kirsten discuss what a challenge it can be, as female filmmakers, to be taken seriously, to get their projects financed, the opportunities and choices available to them. And then there’s this comment from Kirsten:
“I was getting depressed watching ‘Feud,’” Dunst says. “I was like, ‘I’m an aging actress!’ But they also had a lot more leverage because they had contracts. So even though they were stuck, they could also bully the studio back. Now you work for nothing on independent films, and you rely on the fashion industry to support your artistic endeavors.”
You rely on the fashion industry to support your artistic endeavors. Because the system is not equal. You push for change but also, in the meantime, you resourcefully find ways to circumvent the injustices. That was exactly my point back in March when I wrote about The Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful Stylist list:
Working with a stylist and collaborating on memorable looks is part of the BUSINESS of being a celebrity that can result in multimillion dollar deals with major brands. Which can in turn allow for increased artistic freedom. Michelle Williams can do more Manchester By The Seas and Certain Womens, consider smaller film projects with smaller budgets, because she can rely on her income from her deal with Louis Vuitton. Not to mention the negotiating power that fashion can give to an actress for the bigger budget films.
Does anyone want to pass that onto Blake Lively?
Last year, Kirsten was a member of the Cannes Film Festival jury. Earlier this week, she and her stylists, with whom she’s worked for 17 years, looked back at her 2016 Cannes wardrobe: 28 custom looks in 12 days. There was a pair of earrings worth $10 million. They prepared for THREE MONTHS. Three months! Because that’s part of the WORK too. The work is to be in Cannes to see the films. The work is also to be seen, to exploit every inch of those red carpets to create opportunities for work that can come after the festival is over. Fashion is one of the few advantages that actresses have over actors. And, when used strategically, it can, as Kristen says, support artistic endeavours – and other endeavours too… if you’re clever enough to see its power. So when Blake Lively decided to “pop off” on a reporter at Variety’s Power of Women event last month, well, she completely missed the power.
Yours in gossip,