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Intense Physical Intimacy and a Riveting Cinematic Challenge: A Departure from Twilight for Actor’s Most Grueling Film Yet

Kristen Stewart on February 18, in Berlin; defiant sensuality, the actress’s hallmark – Credits: @Monika Skolimowska

BERLIN.- Sitting in the reception of the grimy gym she runs in the middle of the New Mexico desert, Kristen Stewart seems to dream of a life far from such a painful place. Hairstyle with an asymmetrical cut mullet -short in the front, long in the back- and dressed with studied unkemptness, she appears on screen for the first time to unclog a toilet. Around her, sweaty bodies submit to the dictatorship of the fitness and they inject themselves with anabolic cocktails to comply with their dogma: without effort there is no reward; you don’t gain muscle without suffering. “Pain is the fragility that leaves the body,” reads a poster hanging on the wall. It happens in the United States in the late 80s, the Reaganism late, but it could take place anywhere in the world today.

These are the first seconds of blood on the lips (Love Lies Bleeding), the surprising noir lesbian starring a Stewart who no longer looks like the one we used to know. Other actresses would have been scared by this violent and excessive material, which includes rough sex and serial murders, doses of pulp fiction and many others of body horror. She had no fear. “I was amused by this sordid nightmare, even if it’s not just that. When I read the script, it seemed to me that it contained multitudes,” she responded at the end of February in a suite from a Berlin hotel, passing through the German capital’s film festival. “In every interview they ask me: ‘What do you want people to take away after seeing the film?’ I suppose they want me to answer that my projects aspire to change the world, to make us better people. But we don’t make films for that, but to ask ourselves questions about who we are, to recognize ourselves in them. I liked that the movie was morally ambiguous. As women, we are always asked to do the right thing. It doesn’t happen to men.

Kristen Stewart at the premiere of Blood on the LipsKristen Stewart at the premiere of Blood on the Lips

Kristen Stewart at the premiere of Blood on the Lips

Stewart plays the daughter of a local mobster (Ed Harris, creepy), who senses an escape route to a better future when she meets Jackie, a beautiful bodybuilder whom she plays. Katy O’Brian, former martial arts fighter with the face of Maria Schneider and the body of the Hulk. Her goal is to reach Las Vegas (the best end of the journey for wandering souls, with permission from Los Angeles) and win a competition. bodybuilding that makes her rich and famous. What follows is a tale of bloody revenge, peppered with humorous violence and fantastical realism. Produced by A24, the fashion studio, the project is a strange artifact within commercial cinema, which draws on the B series, but nourishes it with messages about the cult of the body, toxic masculinity and indomitable desire. It is directed by the British Rose Glass, who debuted in 2020 with Saving souls, applauded story of religious and cryptolesbian horror. In this case, the director fills her film with cinephile references, Thelma y Louise a Half an hour more with you –the work of worship queer which Donna Deitch directed in the eighties – passing through Attack of the 50 Foot Woman although Glass manages to take the result to its own and deeply original terrain.

blood on the lipsblood on the lips

blood on the lips

“In today’s cinema everything is a mixture of quantities known from films that have been successful. If there is no equation that guarantees that it will work, it is very difficult to get a budget. We work in an industry that wants to make money, which makes it difficult to introduce a bit of novelty, which is what attracts me,” says Stewart. He knows that it is not always in his hands. “I’m just an actress, I’m a hired gun. Finding a bit of risk is not very common. I have done a lot of commercial cinema and I have not enjoyed part of that experience. I don’t want to make films that are just entertainment. Making movies is a lot of fun, but having to make the same movie over and over again is demoralizing, dehumanizing and horrible.”

Have you chosen to film only what scared you? “Before it was like that, I chose only what was imposed on me, but I’m getting over it. “It’s fun to take risks, but it’s also nice to work on a movie and then like the result,” she says with her characteristic cornered smile. “In any case, I realize that my instinct has worked so far, so I plan to continue using it.”

The actress always attracts attention with her challenging looks; here in New York on March 12The actress always attracts attention with her challenging looks; here in New York on March 12

The actress always attracts attention with her challenging looks; here, in New York, on March 12 – Credits: @Getty Images

Bella Swan is already a distant memory. The teenager of the saga Twilight It made her an international star 15 years ago (and then, a plagued one when her infidelity was revealed; Donald Trump even dedicated eight tweets to her and recommended his partner, Robert Pattinson, leave her). She now seems like the role she has built her entire career against, full of choices that have made her the undisputed star of the most audacious American cinema. Since the saga ended in 2012, Stewart has worked with David Cronenberg, Woody Allen, Kelly Reichardt and Ang Lee. She earned an Oscar nomination for playing Lady Di under Pablo Larraín and won a César thanks to Olivier Assayas and Sils Maria, in addition to being one of the few openly gay Hollywood stars, as are some of his roles. Do you aspire to make a film? queer? The actress, sincere but not candid, dodges the bullet: “It’s exciting that they let Rose make this movie.” She hits all the boxes: she embodies the fluidity of the present, the new feminist awakening and the demands of auteur cinema, but she also masters the language of social networks and the importance of impact images, as demonstrated by her low-cut legs in some recent photos.

Another image of Kristen Stewart in New York, wearing a black leather biker jacket, fishnet bustier, miniskirt and black stockings and matching heelsAnother image of Kristen Stewart in New York, wearing a black leather biker jacket, fishnet bustier, miniskirt and black stockings and matching heels

Another image of Kristen Stewart in New York, wearing a black leather biker jacket, fishnet bustier, miniskirt and black stockings and matching heels – Credits: @Grosby Group

In her latest roles the difference between actress and character is diluted, as happened with the great Hollywood stars of the past. Katharine Hepburn always played a role, but she was also always herself. She was just like Bette Davis in the forties or Jane Fonda in the seventies. Or, in the idolized French cinema of her, actresses like Isabelle Huppert or Juliette Binoche. “She’s a huge compliment,” blushes Stewart, who agrees. “I like there to be continuity between my roles. It’s a particular philosophy that I don’t think many actors follow today. Playing only one character is a way of self-protection, of separating your life and your work, of taking everything with great professionalism,” adds Stewart, using the word in its worst sense, as a synonym for a civil servant attitude. “I believe that you can’t be anyone but yourself. And even if there are stories that enlighten you about aspects that are buried in you and allow you to unearth them, you can only dig in your own sandbox. I feel like when I walk away from myself I’m failing, like the goal is always to dig deeper and deeper until I find something real. Yes, it’s me in all the movies. And all of them are part of me.

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