Personal Shopper Director Oliver Assayas mentions Kristen Stewart with Screen Daily!


French director Olivier Assayas will touch down at Zurich Film Festival (Sept 22 – Oct 2) this year to receive the event’s tribute award and present his metaphysical thrillerPersonal Shopper, which is screening as part of a retrospective of his works.

Starring Hollywood actress Kristen Stewart as a psychic young woman trying to connect with her dead twin brother in Paris, it was one of the most anticipated titles at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year where it played in competition.

It is the second time Assayas has worked with Stewart – after Clouds Of Sils Maria – and rumours abound about a potential third collaboration.

“For now there’s nothing in the pipeline,” Assayas toldScreen. “Today, I don’t have a project to propose to her although I would love to have one. I don’t rule it out for the future.”

The director – who has worked with a roster of top actresses over his 30-year career including Juliette Binoche, Maggie Cheung and Chloe Sevigny – describes Stewart as “the best actress of her generation”.

“Kristen has an infinitely larger range than many actresses of her generation. She has an inner depth coupled with a spontaneity and naturalness that sets her apart. She also has an innate understanding of cinema that makes me believe she could succeed at directing too.”

Assayas wrote the screenplay for Personal Shopper to get over the frustration of the shelving in 2014 of his US-financed action thriller Idol’s Eye just as it was due to shoot in Toronto with Robert Pattinson and Robert De Niro in the lead roles.

“I had to turn the page and move on. After a series of films set in the past such as Carlos, After May and Sils Maria, which was sort of out of time, I wanted to do something set in contemporary Paris, capturing the city today,” explained Assayas.

He has not given up hope of eventually getting Idol’s Eyeoff the ground. He reveals that his long-time producer Charles Gillibert, whose recent credits also include the Oscar-nominated film Mustang, has secured the rights to the project.

“I hope it will be my next film,” said Assayas. “If things advance I’d like to shoot it in Toronto before the end of the winter.”

In between times, the film-maker recently collaborated with Roman Polanski on the screenplay of his upcoming feature Based On A True Story, a psychological thriller about a writer who is hounded by an obsessive reader.

Polanski — who received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Zurich in 2011 – is due to start shooting in November, which his wife Emmanuelle Seigner in the role of the writer opposite Eva Green as her tormenter.

“He proposed it out of the blue. I hesitated at first because it’s been 20 years since I’ve written a screenplay for another director. The last time was for André Techiné (Alice And Martin). I think it ended up being a satisfying experience for both of us.”

Zurich’s Assayas retrospective features 12 of his works, ranging from his debut feature Disorder, to the recently restored Irma Vep and his 2010 bio-pic Carlos.



Kristen Stewart attends The Chanel N°5 L’Eau Dinner!





Director Olivier Assayas talks with Crave on Personal Shopper and working with Kristen Stewart!


French filmmaker Olivier Assayas has been directing acclaimed dramas for decades, but few have been as divisive as Personal Shopper, a horror-drama that stars Kristen Stewart as an assistant to a professional model who makes contact with the supernatural. Personal Shopper premiered to standing ovations as well as loud “boos” at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where Assayas ultimately earned the Best Director prize (which he shared with Cristian Mungiu, who directed Graduation).

After a reaction like that there was no way I was going to miss Personal Shopper at the Toronto International Film Festival, and sure enough, I found the film to be a wise meditation on our relationship with death and anxiety, propped up by at least one of the scarier scenes in recent memory. Later, I sat down with Olivier Assayas to discuss the film’s controversial reception, the connections it makes between technology and spirituality, and why – for the second time in a row, after the acclaimed Clouds of Sils Maria – he has cast Kristen Stewart as a personal assistant.

Crave: This might seem like an odd question but I want to start here… what made you want to make a movie about shopping?

Oliver Assayas: [Laughs.] I don’t think… I don’t think I made a movie about shopping. Maybe one day I will make one. But you know, it’s a movie about the tension between, obviously, the kind of day job people have and their longings, which are much more, possibly, a little bit more ambitious or complex. I think I wanted the character of Maureen to have, not exactly the most stupid job, but certainly the most alienating job. I don’t think that just shopping for a celebrity, I don’t think there’s something that’s much more alienating than that.

So yeah, it’s not that I have [something] bad to say about the fashion industry, but still, it’s become the epitome of something that has to do with materialism and money and a culture of fame and this and that. So I think it’s fairly easy to understand why someone like Maureen, like her character, has an uneasy relationship with that job and that world.

She seems somewhat allured by it, but do you think that’s symptomatic of her anxieties about living her own life?

I think we all have an ambivalent relationship with the modern world. We describe it as materialistic, we describe it as obsessed with superficiality, sure, but at the same time we are attracted by it. We don’t have a full rejection of it. We somehow are part of it. And it’s the same for her but we are dealing with a character who is… she did not just lose her brother, it’s more like she lost half of herself, and she’s trying to become one again. So she’s kind of searching her own identity and including her gender, in the sense that she’s on that thin line between androgyny and womanhood. I think that the stupid job she does, buying clothes and glamorous clothes and this and that, is something which also attracts her in the sense of experimenting her own relationship with her own womanhood.

She lost her brother. She lost a part of herself. But she has the same condition her brother had and death at any time. This is a fear I myself have a lot, just in general. Why was it necessary to set that story in a world where ghosts are real? Unequivocally real?

Because… I think it’s just to make something a little abstract, real. Because we call ghosts, forces, presences, things that are around us, that are ultimately part of us. They are part of our distortion of reality around us, in a certain way. But we should not be blinded by the name “ghosts.” It’s all about, really, connecting with another dimension of the world, and we know that there’s another dimension to the world because [touches various objects around him] the material world is not the end of it. So we all try to explore that in a way. Here we give it a name. We give it the name “ghosts” and yes, I kind of used the materiality of it, which ultimately in the film is more like an hallucination, but somehow it helps. It allows me to bring in a few genre elements which make the whole process just a little bit more exciting. It adds tension, let me put it that way.

Do you feel you’ve worked properly within the horror genre before?

Well obviously no, I have not, and this one is certainly not a straight genre [film]. You know, it’s the story of Maureen, which involves a few genre elements here and there.

What appeals to you about that genre though? What made you want to play with it?

It’s because I’ve been incredibly influenced by genre filmmakers, that’s one part of it, and I think that the superiority of genre filmmaking is the relationship it has with the body of the audience. I think a lot of serious filmmaking has a hard time connecting with the physicality of the audience, whereas genre, it just goes through the whole body. You react, you can’t control reaction sometimes to genre filmmaking. So yeah, I think that the filmmakers who were ultimately the strongest influence on me, if I want to be totally honest about this, they are genre filmmakers. John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, Wes Craven, a few others.

There’s a conversation Maureen has – I don’t want to give it away – with the person on the other end of the phone, and they talk about horror movies and what scares her about them. The theory goes that she is scared of being scared. That’s an element of the horror genre as well. I know a lot of people who won’t watched horror movies because they don’t like being scared.

You have people who overreact to them. You know, we all have different relationships to horror filmmaking, but a lot has to do with the love we have of being scared. I have a small daughter and even when it’s about looking cartoons or whatever the first question is, “Is it scary?” because she wants the stories to be scary. We also love that. We fear it and we love it.

Tell me about the scene where Maureen takes her phone off airplane mode. Where did that scene come from? It’s such a great scare.

It was pretty much in the screenplay as it is, but the issue was to get it right and it was very difficult to get it right. I redid that shot like a million times.

Just for the timing…?

Yes, it’s the timing. To get the timing right was just absurdly complicated, to get the timing, and in the end it’s the only one… I finally felt what I wanted to feel in that shot when we slowed it down. It’s the only phone screen in the film that’s actually slowed down because it gives this kind of weird vibration, and you know, I remember the special effects guy. He came to me, “I’m sorry there’s this kind of vibration, we will fix it, we’ll get it right,” and [I said] “No, no, no, no, no, just keep the vibration. It’s great!”

Phones have created, in many ways, a lot of opportunities for filmmakers and also they’ve taken a lot of opportunities away. I see people in the horror genre often struggling with how to use a phone. Often the goal is to just get rid of a phone and say, “I can’t get any reception” so the phone is gone for the rest of the film.

[Laughs.] Yeah, exactly. I know.

And yet in your film it’s almost necessary, it’s this metaphor for connecting with another entity. Am I reading that right?

Yes! Yes, completely, completely. I’m playing slightly with this communication between two different eras. I mean this film is in this weird zone where you dialogue with the end of the 20th century, which is really the time when people were taking seriously communication with another world. There is this window in time between the middle of the 19th century and the early years or the 20th century when people just took extremely seriously the possibility of communicating with spirits. It was not something mystical or weird or whatever. It was connected with modern technology. It was considered on the same level as the invention of x-ray photography, or the invention of radio communication. So I used that period as an inspiration because I wanted the characters in the film to discuss the supernatural, or a parallel world, whatever you call it, as a fact. As something solid.

Why not just make the film a period piece?

Oh no, I was interested in projecting this in the modern world. I mean, using the past to question the present.

Why is it so interesting for you to make Kristen Stewart someone’s personal assistant?

Yeah, that’s a good question. I’m not sure why. [Laughs.] It just happened like that. I think she’s unlike a lot of movie stars. She is very… she’s so present. She’s straightforward. She’s so simple. With her, she doesn’t inspire many characters that are bigger than life. She inspires me [to write] someone who is part of the crowd, and I think that’s because she is beautiful, she has such a powerful presence, but at the same time she is grounded. She is normal. So I think it’s really interesting to de-glamorize her because I think she’s someone you relate to on a very simple, natural, human level.

What do you have planned for the third installment of the “Kristen Stewart is a Personal Assistant” trilogy?

[Laughs.] It should be a trilogy.

You don’t have to rush it. You have time.

I want to make a period piece. I want to make a period piece with Kristen.

Can you tell me what you have in mind…?

No, no, no, I have no idea. That’s the concept, yeah.

I’d pay to see that. Personal Shopper has had very polarizing reactions. Is that satisfying as a filmmaker? Is that frustrating?

It’s Cannes. It’s Cannes, you know? What can I say? I’ve been going to Cannes since I’m in my 20s or something, my early 20s so I’ve been going there for a while. [Thinks.] You don’t make movies to be consensual, you don’t make movies to be divisive, neither. But you don’t know what you’ve done. Now looking back on it I don’t think… I think it’s a movie that’s challenging. I think that’s part of what I’m happy with. So honestly I’m happier to have a movie that creates tensions because at least A) the film is alive, and B) it has an audience that is alive. There’s people that are not, like, sleeping through the film or something. [Laughs.]

But then you’re always happier when people just understand what you have been doing and care about it or some such. But you know, filmmaking is about taking risks, and I come from a culture where taking risks was something that was respected or appreciated, or it was a plus. Here, now, I think gradually that people don’t like you to take risks. You know, it’s more like, “Why don’t you do it the usual way? Why don’t you tell this story in a normal way? Why surprise us?”

But then we complain, “Oh, he’s doing the same thing he always does.”

Yeah, it’s Cannes. [Laughs.] It’s Cannes. You never know what will come out of that.

What’s next? Is it that period piece?

I have been, like a couple of years ago, I wrote and prepared a film that was kind of shut down like a day before shooting, here in Canada, which was like an expensive international film. It might be happening again so I’m kind of looking forward to that.



Kristen Stewart talks with Italy IO Donna Magazine!


When you stand in front of Kristen Stewart forget that only 26 years, not because it proves one more, but there are stars in their forties much less safe or more carefree about her. Maybe it is accustomed to move in showbiz since she, a child, began to be talked about with Panic RoomDavid Fincher (she was the daughter of Jodie Foster) and perhaps even earlier, with a TV producer father and a director and screenwriter mother ;It will be that for some years has had to manage the worldwide success ofTwilight , with crazed fans in every part of the globe.

Then the story with the co-star of the vampire saga Robert Pattinson , a bit ‘a bit true’ invented ( “Our relationship had been transformed into a product, something sickening,” said Kristen just a few weeks ago, four years after ‘ last film in the series, to T , the magazine of the New York Times ); the adventure with Rupert Sanders, director married Snow White and the Huntsman (she was Snow White); the voices (and photos) on his relationship with the producer and his former assistant Alicia Cargile, with French singer Soko, again with his former assistant. Never a real coming out, only phrases like: everyone has the right to love who wants.
Of her immediately notice green and perfect eyes made up perfectly as well. It is tiny, not high, simple – jeans, shirt. Smiles, if it happens, but the average serious and thoughtful air. In November will be released in the US on his new film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Ang Lee, from September 29 next be seen in the Café Society, the film is set in the Hollywood of the Thirties Woody Allen and his character is Vonnie, undecided secretary between a rich man much older than her (Steve Carell) and a penniless young man in search of glory (Jesse Eisenberg).

Vonnie is able to maintain a certain detachment from the Hollywood system, too, apparently. How can we, considering among other things that it is one of the highest paid actresses ?
Vonnie keeps his distance just beginning: as the film progresses completely falls into that world. Because it enjoys. It has something spontaneous and honest which made it easy to understand it myself. As for me, what I like is to tell stories; how to most actors, I think. Then of course, also the economic aspect is interesting, but if it were only that (maybe for some it is) this work would be meaningless. In Cafe Society is a secretary; inPersonal shopper by Olivier Assayas, which is coming out in many European pasi (not in Italy for now) in recent months has, in fact, the personal shopper of a star; even an actress was the personal assistant last year in Sils Maria : what effect does reverse roles and interpret people working for you every day? It’s funny, because it is a world that I know well. However I do not have a personal shopper: Usually we do not have players, clothes for the red carpet and the press conference we lend them and finished the event we have to return them. There is no one going out to buy skirts and pants for me. There is not even one who recommend? I have a stylist, the same for many years. From 2013 is one of the faces of Chanel. What counts for her fashion? I love it. You can also tell stories through clothes. For some fashion it is superficial or uninteresting, others have not defined tastes and rely on a consultant, but I feel that when I’m wearing the dress and the right accessories are the real version of myself. I do not want a nice look because they all look at me, I want it to feel good.To hear “me.” Personal shopper also has a horror side: ghosts, supernatural manifestations. Do you think that when I read the script I had not noticed … is ambiguous. The real subject of the film, in my opinion, is the pursuit of peace. She found her? Yes, they are very calm at this time.But the serenity is not to be confused with contentment. No point to that. I like to feel uncomfortable, question me on things, explore new territories: not a quiet, here, but in all this “do” I find a sort of inner peace. In the film his character sends constantly texting on his smartphone. She also uses it so much? Well ‘, you can work with your smartphone, design, keep in touch with friends. I am very interested the language we use: everyone has their own way of putting the punctuation, spaces, Accapi, each one develops a personal writing that says a lot about himself. He never tried to do without phone for a while ‘? Oh, no they are so dependent on having to detoxify.My only company profile is on Instagram, so to speak. But in fact sometimes I find myself picking up the smartphone without a reason, and then I ask, but what I’m looking for? Anything? If it’s just because I get bored I try to fill the time with something else. Like what? This summer I directed my first short film. I wanted to be a film director already nine years old … It’s called How to Swim, I shot in three weeks; to write it rather took me much longer. The protagonist is a friend of mine, Josh is not an actor but great.

Even Jodie Foster, with whom she began as a child, became a director after a long acting experience. As she began working as a child. Some critics noticed a resemblance between you even in the way of acting and speaking as if Jodie had given a kind of imprinting. You are very related?
Yes. We understand immediately and we still see each other. There is something that we recognize instinctively into one another. For me it has always been a point of reference. And it is an honor every time my name was mentioned next to her.