The Sundance Film Festival starts next week, where Kristen Stewart will be front and center on opening night as the recipient of this year’s Visionary Award. Ahead of the fest, she’s featured in Variety, talking about Sundance, about trying to scrape together money for her feature directorial debut, about Twilight, and coming out.
It’s a reminder of two things, 1) now in her 30s, KStew has fully come into her own as a person, a celebrity, and an artist, and 2) it wasn’t easy, and she had to figure out who she was on a world stage and have her personal life blasted across tabloids even as she struggled to unpack her own identity.
Clea DuVall said she “wanted to stay small” as a queer woman in Hollywood because she knew people were trying to out her, Jodie Foster says Stewart made “the leaps I didn’t think I could ever do”. Kristen Stewart, however, of a younger generation than these women that benefits from the doors they opened, represents actual progress because she came out in her SNL monologue in 2017—after years of “gal pal” reports whenever she was photographed with her girlfriend—and her career didn’t skip a beat. Things aren’t great, but they ARE better.
As for that career, Stewart is mostly talking about her upcoming Sundance films, queer love story Love Lies Bleeding and straight love story Love Me, or, well, as straight as a movie about two AIs falling in love after humans have abandoned Earth can be. Still, it stars Stewart and Steven Yeun as both the voices of the AIs and their human avatars, so it is a hetero coupling on screen.
That is part of Stewart’s appeal as an actor, though, she’s a queer woman who plays both queer and hetero romantic roles. That framing of her in this profile, written by Adam B. Vary, brings to mind Matt Bomer, Andrew Scott, and Jonathan Bailey, all of whom have played sexy hetero characters and sexy queer characters.
Also, in an accompanying video about her most famous film lines, Stewart says she “hated making” the 2019 reboot of Charlie’s Angels.
Fair enough, but probably that movie doesn’t get made without her, and then, in turn, Elizabeth Banks probably doesn’t get to make Cocaine Bear. Or she’d still be scrounging money for Cocaine Bear. Movies don’t exist in vacuums, they’re links in chains. Charlie’s Angels may be a broken link in KStew’s chain, but for Banks, it was a necessary step to making the films she really wants to make.
And that’s the one part of this profile they don’t dwell on—that KStew is still struggling to finance her directorial debut. She’s a huge star, a recent Oscar nominee, I guarantee if a dude in her spot wanted to direct a movie, he’d get financing. There is tangible progress for queer representation in cinema, for queer actors building their careers in the entertainment industry, but women still struggle to get financed as directors. I wish they had dug into that a little, because it’s the intersection of Stewart’s identity and it’s an intersection where Hollywood still struggles to direct equitable traffic. But maybe Sundance will do what it’s supposed to and help her make the connections—the “friends”—she wants to make who might, in turn, help her put her movie together. We know who Kristen Stewart is as an actor, I want to know who she is as a filmmaker, too.
Live long and gossip,