Kristen Stewart covers Interview magazine’s March 2015’s Fashion Issue, and it is amazing for so many reasons. For one, Kristen looks gorgeous in the cover shoot (shot by Steven Klein), and for another, she is interviewed by the eponymous singer, poet and artist Patti Smith.
Two great women in conversation – is there anything else you need in life?
Stewart, 24, and Smith, 68, speak about culture and their careers, the Twilight franchise, Stewart’s latest role in Clouds of Sils Maria, and harnessing their creativity without letting others get them down.
On wanting to be an actress as a kid growing up on movie sets (her parents both work on film crews), Stewart commented, “I think by default I wanted to be an actor because, on a movie set as a little kid, the only thing that you can do is be an actor. And I was really enthralled by the whole process. At that point I just really wanted to be on sets, going to a thousand different places, and work as hard as my parents work.”
Smith added, “When I was a kid, I used to dream about playing Jo in Little Women. Or I wanted to play Joan of Arc. It was daydreaming. We all daydream as children. You had the drive and were in a position where you could realize these dreams and projections.”
I was really lucky to work with her at such a young age because I’ve had some serious self-persecuting … People sometimes actually get me to think I take things too seriously and maybe I’m too earnest and it’s coming across like I’m better than them. But working with people like Jodie—we are quite kindred. There’s just something when people look at you and go, “Listen, I know it’s awkward, but just keep being honest.” I could have gotten really unlucky and compared myself to another kind of actress and felt inadequate. I can’t, like, put on the show. I’m not a performer. And it’s hard for people to accept a serious tone from a kid without thinking they’re sort of stuck up.
Kristen has recently spoken out about people thinking she has a “gives no fucks” attitude, saying that her attitude is quite contrary and that no one gives more of a fuck than her.
Smith complimented her work in the Twilight series, saying “I loved your work in those films. I thought the commitment of everyone in those films was true. Like The Hunger Games—if you accept the world that you’re entering, and if the people deliver that world, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Stewart added, “Right. I mean, it was a long process…We ebbed and flowed. I will definitely acknowledge that. But the intention is so fucking pure in a weird way. Anybody who wants to talk shit about Twilight, I completely get it, but there’s something there that I’m endlessly, and to this day, fucking proud of. My memory of it felt—still feels—really good.”
She then likewise vibed with Smith on Just Kids, saying even though she’s done a lot at 24,
I still have not harnessed something that you wrestled down with serious vengeance. It was just so natural to you, the willingness to allow yourself to explore and create and be free, and not know where you were going…Just Kids made me want—you know, it’s super-romantic and cheesy—but I genuinely started making paintings because of you…And one thing that makes me feel completely okay with my lateness is the fact that you are so influenced by other people. You have such a deep love for other people.
What I did suffer when I was young was because I was sort of a hick coming into New York City. I was made fun of by a lot of the Factory people. Even Andy Warhol thought I was a hick. I met these people and I had to be strong. I had to either be crushed by these people or chop my hair up like Keith Richards and say, “Fuck you.” But that scrutiny is hurtful, and the rumor mill, the constant bullshit, speculations about your personal life must be very difficult. But in the end, all of that is peripheral. What will remain 20, 30 years from now—all those people and their snarky comments and their projections will be forgotten—but if your work continues to grow and you do great work, that’s what will be remembered.
To which Stewart agreed. As for some of her other movie roles, Stewart said playing free-spirited Marylou in On the Road was “probably the hardest for me—to just let go and show a little exuberance.”
And in Clouds of Sils Maria (in which she plays Juliette Binoche‘s assistant), Kristen added,
[My character] looks up to her, like, “You have genius. There’s something about you that’s just magical and absolutely undeniable and sort of untouchable, and I’m enthralled by it; I want to get as close to it as I can.” But there’s a distance between them that they’re obsessed with, but they can’t close. One is a fan of art and one is the artist. There’s this desperate need to understand one other—that’s the attraction—but at the same time, I think the reason they’re so attracted is they won’t understand each other.
Stewart was the first American actress in 30 years to be nominated for the French equivalent of an Oscar, the César, for her role.
But her work is grueling and she doesn’t let her critics get her down. Smith commented,
I would say that of all the arts, acting is the most grueling, thankless. Never apologize for your work. If people don’t accept the Twilight series for what it is, well, fuck them. Millions of people loved that series. It gave them something. It said something about love and honor. And acting is a really hard job. It’s not a romantic job. I’ve watched the hours in makeup, hours sitting around waiting for the lights, or because you lose your light, or it starts to rain, or whatever…
Stewart agreed, saying honestly “It’s funny because all that shit is what I like most. [laughs] I love that feeling, sitting around on set and being like, ‘Ugh, it’s another fucking four hours until we can go do what we’ve been planning to do for months.'”