Kristen Stewart’s Debut As Director ‘Come Swim’ Arrives To Cannes

Stewart Assures She’s More Than Honored To Be Given Such An Amazing Oportunity

Kristen Stewart brought her directorial debut ‘Come Swim’ to Cannes after debuting at Sundance.

The Twilight star couldn’t be more excited to be showing her first project as a filmmaker at the French Riviera festival. While she’s been there several times – with Olivier Assayas’ ‘Personal Shopper’ and ‘Clouds of Sils Maria,’ and the film adaptation of Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ – it’s a completely different story to go to Cannes as a director.

“Oh my God, I’m like tripping out. It’s crazy,” the 27-year-old actress said in an interview at the Cannes about her short film. “I mean, honestly, I think Thierry [Fremaux, the festival’s director] is being nice to me or something. He’s just like, ‘OK, you can show your little movie here.’ I’m like, ‘Thank you!’”

Image Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Stewart said that ever since she performed in the 2002 David Fincher’s ‘Panic Room’ when she was 11 years old, she wanted to be a filmmaker. “I was working with Jodie Foster and I was like, ‘I’m going to direct. I’m going to be the youngest director that like exists,’” she recalled.

Better late than ever! Now Stewart is the proud owner of a 17-minute short film. But she’s not leaving it there. While she’s already developing several other projects, the now-director plans to turn ‘Come Swim’ into a feature-length film.

She said in the interview what was Foster’s reaction when she told her that she finally stepped into filmmaking. “She was like, ‘Dude, the first thing you’re going to realise is that you have nothing to learn.’”

Stewart didn’t want to say much about her short film

As the protocol dictates, Stewart had to step to the stage to introduce the film she wrote and directed, but she was visibly nervous and anxious and wanted to be as brief as possible. “I’m fully allowed to be like, ‘It speaks for itself! I don’t have to do anything,’” Stewart said. “But thank you for letting me be here. I’m on the floor. I can’t believe it.”

“That’s it,” she answered when asked if she wanted to say more. “Let’s watch the movie,” she said just before exiting the stage, with an awkward smile on her face.

After ‘Come Swim’ was showcased, it all made sense. The experimental film tries to emulate the overwhelming oppression of heartbreak and grief, displaying a man – played by newcomer Josh Kaye – submerged in the ocean. A woman, voiced by Stewart, is heard in the background, talking him through his emotional pain. An unsettling sequence shows the man’s body slowly deteriorating, followed by the man returning to swim in the water, this time with a more optimistic look on his face.

The film says a lot about Stewart and her emotions

Later, in the interview, the actress opened up a bit more about her short film, which she describes is about “aggrandized pain” and says its imagery has haunted her for four years.

“You don’t realise when you’re trudging through that water, you feel so alone,” she said. “We’ve all been there. But when you’re in it, you feel like you can’t participate in life.”

It’s been said many times that Stewart has a special, deep connection with her emotions – which she has shown in almost all her roles –, and she’s really aware of it. “I am so sensitive it drives me crazy,” she said. “It’s funny [that] the first movie I wanted to make was basically just a movie about somebody who is like, ‘You don’t get it! It’s horrible!’”

She also experimented with being behind the cameras and becoming the director she herself appreciates – one that favors discovery over heavily scripted control. “The worst is when directing becomes correcting,” she said. “It’s like: ‘Do it all yourself then. Why are you even making movies?’ I don’t want packaged and delivered ideas.”

When asked about where does she leave acting, she said she’s looking forward for more directing projects. “I mean, I love acting, too, though. Like, I don’t want to trade one for the other. But acting in movies is so time-consuming that I need to sort of be like, ‘No.’ I need to sort of allow myself to not be greedy or something.”

“I look at it and it’s its own thing and it’s like, ‘I’m so proud of it.’ It’s not even like I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of it,” she said about making ‘Come Swim.’

The visceral film will later debut on the women’s website Refinery 29.



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