Kristen Stewart: I Had to Stop Being A “P*ssy” To Make My Directorial Debut
Kristen Stewart opens up about her upcoming directorial debut in a new interview with Rolling Stone.
The actress co-directed the music video for the Sage + the Saints track “Take Me to the South,” a feat that was years and years in the making.
“I’ve been saying I want to direct movies since I was 10 years old,” reveals Stewart. “And then I started making movies and working with such incredible people that I realized what I was up against.”
Stewart says that made her feel “like, no way, now I’m gonna get more attention than I ever should just because of who I am,” but a fateful conversation — and a grant from Buffalo David Bitton’s Blank Check Series — changed her mind.
“Basically, I’m grateful to Sage,” say the star, “because she was like, ‘I have this little thing, no one could tell the story better than you… Just do it and stop being such a p*ssy.'”
Stewart and partner David Ethan Shapiro helmed the clip over five days in Tennessee in February, with a focus on recreating Sage’s real-life journey from Los Angeles to Nashville to launch her country career.
The American Ultra star says of the film’s style, “Nobody wants their sh*t to be pretentious, but like, I didn’t want it to seem like we wanted to be cool at all. Country music’s not cool. It’s truthful and it’s sweet.”
Stewart admits she’s not personally a fan of country music, and so she “sat down and watched a lot of country videos” in order to prepare… and learn what not to do.
“I just didn’t really see anything that wasn’t trying so f*cking hard to be something,” she says. “And [Sage’s] story was so clearly in front of us, I didn’t need to look elsewhere to get inspired.”
Still, the shoot was not without its challenges for the movie star, who admits it was “such a different pressure than the one that I’m used to when I act.”
“It’s this very consistent strain that never lets up. Whereas with acting, there’s small bursts… You alleviate bits of tension for the camera and then you go off and, I don’t know, wait to stress out again. But there wasn’t one second that I wasn’t sitting with my head in my hands. It’s your responsibility to hold this thing together, and I was always concerned I was missing something. Missed opportunities are the most gut-wrenching, painful, nauseating thing. As an actor, your job is to lose yourself in the moment. Losing yourself is the last thing you want to do as a director, so it goes against my instinct. I had to harness my energy rather than let it explode all over the set.”
The Twilight star goes on to credit her On the Road director Walter Salles and Into the Wild director Sean Penn for impacting the way she works:
“It’s about being able to always, always, always sniff out bullsh*t and refuse to eat it. You honor whatever you’re working on so much that to make a mockery of it would be so principally wrong. That’s the feeling those guys have. I feel so safe with them as an actor, because I know for a fact that I can try things and fully let go and they will never allow me to do anything untrue. I definitely want to explore this avenue of my life, and that’s the way that I would definitely strive to do it.”
That said, Stewart isn’t exactly sure where she’s going to go from here, confessing that she’s “been working an insane amount recently,” and wants to “take a break and reorient my mind.”
“Because if I’m going to put that much time in, it needs to be something I’d die for,” she tells Rolling Stone, before further revealing, “There’s a couple of shorts that I’ve written that I want to do really badly.”
Stewart points out, “I’ll probably move forward and f*ck up a few times. Typically you’re allowed to throw stuff at a wall and see what sticks. You don’t have people staring at it, going, ‘K-Stew’s making a movie!’ It’s embarrassing.”
But the star is grateful for this first experience, which she says was more about a group of people “vibing” than anything else.
“A director is only as good as the people they work with,” says Stewart. “I gotta figure out who my boys are!”
And for now, this project is one the normally press-shy Stewart is more than happy to talk about.
“It’s so much nicer doing interviews as not what I usually am,” she says.
The “Take Me to the South” video will premiere on May 28.
Check out the behind-the-scenes teaser trailer below!