Looking terrific in a tiny skirt and a punk platinum hairdo, Kristen Stewart was the main attraction at the New York Film Festival press conference for “Certain Women,” the seventh feature by Kelly Reichardt, which also stars Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Lily Gladstone. (Of the four women, only Williams wasn’t at the press conference.)
“Certain Women” is a female-centric drama adapted by Reichardt from stories by Maile Meloy, set in Montana. The movie focuses on women whose lives may not necessarily cross but somehow connect. Reichardt, best known for “Meek’s Cutoff” (NYFF, 2010), said of the countryside and theme, “I came upon her (Meloy) stories and it was a new landscape to investigate. All the characters were really part of the environment they were in, and so it seemed like an endeavor with all these great women characters that were sort of alienated from the people who were closest to them but somehow making connections to people who were strangers. So those sorts of things were the threads of the story.”
Although it is very much an ensemble work, Stewart, who has three films in the NYFF, is in a particularly good place in her career at the moment and is obviously the biggest name. Her other films in the festival are Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” and Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper.”
The 26-year-old actress seemed to be comfortable and enjoyed talking to journalists about her career and movie choices. She said she realized she was fortunate in her recent movie roles and run of good parts.
“I’ve worked recently with a lot of people I’ve grown up really loving, which is a great thing,” Stewart said. “I feel super lucky, and it’s super conducive to making good shit and because I think I have good taste,” she laughed.
“At the same time, I really love not knowing that something’s going to be good and spending a few minutes with someone and going, ‘Shit you’ve never done this before?’ Well, let’s do it now. So there’s no formula. That’s so not how you’re ever gonna make anything worthwhile. It’s like, ‘Yeah!’ I’m really not precious about it. I’ve just gotten super lucky lately.”
An interesting aspect of Stewart’s career is how she mixes Hollywood features with independent films where she gets to demonstrate her range. Recent stand-out performances include “Café Society,” “Equals” and “Still Alice.” She’s phenomenal in Tim Blake Nelson’s “Anesthesia,” in a small but pivotal part in a good film that few people have seen.
To a journalist’s question about whether independents are more satisfying to make than Hollywood films, the “Twilight” actress replied, “Totally the same thing. I would never draw attention to the distinction between doing a big movie and a small one.”
She added, “I guess you could technically draw distinctions because you have more money to play with and it naturally affects the dynamic a little. But at the end of the day, I’ve never approached anything going, ‘Oh, well this is bigger now; therefore, I’m less entitled to something meaningful.”
“Certain Women” opens October 14.