Whether or not you like the way Kristen Stewart has explained why she chose to work with Woody Allen on his new movie, Café Society, you have to at least give a nod to the give-no-fucks way she’s maneuvering through the Cannes Film Festival. From wearing sneakers to the black-tie opening night dinner — essentially joining Emily Blunt in giving the finger to last year’s High-Heels-gate, in which sweet old ladies with ankle issues were thrown off the red carpet for wearing fancy flats — to refusing all attempts from reporters to have her justify who she makes movies with, Stewart has shown an impressive streak of rebellion in an environment so famously steeped in tradition. And that’s not all! She’s still got another movie, Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper, to premiere! Just how punk did KStew go on Cannes so far? Let’s break it down:
Dress code, schmess code. She blatantly defied the hard and fast Cannes rule that women wear high heels and a gown to all gala events.
When Stewart walked in to the incredibly exclusive Cannes opening night dinner, escorted by none other than Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux, I heard several audible gasps, including one woman, who, gape-mouthed, whispered, “How did she get away with those shoes?!” On her feet were black and white checkered sneakers, to go with her ensemble of a knit (likely Chanel) skirt, crop top, and leather jacket. So I asked Stewart. “Oh, I just changed,” she said, and took a very comfortable walk to her seat.
The next day, at a press luncheon for Café Society, seated with HitFix co-founder Greg Ellwood and Deadline’s Pete Hammond, Stewart elaborated. She’d changed, knowing the rules full well, but getting into the Palais hadn’t been easy. “I had a man physically try to bar me. Arm bar!” she said, demonstrating. She’d maneuvered past the scrum of people trying to get in and tried to sneak under a rope. “I’m small, so usually people don’t notice and I can slip in and out of stuff really easily,” she said, “but I stood up and this guy, literally, I had an arm like in the chest. I was like, ‘Oh fuck, I’m so sorry, can I just sneak in there?’” The opening dinner, after all, was in honor of her movie. “And he was like, [French accent] ‘Yes, you can pass the line, but you cannot wear those shoes!’”
She said she’d read about the high heels issue last year and gotten outraged. “It’s just so archaic,” she said. “Nowadays you simply cannot ask [that of women].” She gestured to the men at the table. “If we walked in together and I wasn’t wearing heels and they asked me to, I’d be like, ‘Does he have to wear heels?’ There simply cannot be a divide and if you ask us, that’s so fucking offensive and I’m leaving.”
But she also doesn’t apologize for her footwear, period.
If Stewart is so staunchly against the dress code, then why did she wear heels with a transparent Chanel gown to the Café Society red carpet earlier that evening? “I liked my shoes for the actual thing,” she said. “It was a personal choice as well.” Basically, being punk doesn’t mean being anti-heels, just pro-choice.
If you don’t like why she decided to work with Woody Allen, that’s your problem.
Ronan Farrow’s Hollywood Reporter essay chastising the media for not asking harder questions about Allen’s alleged sexual abuse hit the internet in the middle of the Café Society press conference Wednesday morning, and Stewart has gotten heat ever since — for agreeing to do the movie at all; for wanting to do the movie so much she auditioned for it; for seeming to equate Dylan Farrow’s accusations against Allen with tabloid rumors Stewart and Eisenberg have experienced; for saying she thought about the allegations and was troubled by them and talked to co-star Jesse Eisenberg about them and concluded she wasn’t going to condemn Allen without having proof that the allegations were true, and still deciding to do the movie.
It takes a particular kind of fortitude, then, to ignore enormous public pressure to constantly re-explain why she chose to work with Allen, or to come up with something polite to say whenever the question arises, which will be often. “I’m not going to talk about that,” Stewart said firmly yesterday, when I asked her what she thought of Ronan Farrow’s essay at the press luncheon. She gamely dove into every other topic we brought up, but on this one was letting her previous statement, and Allen, do the talking. Look, I had to ask, I explained. “I feel you,” she said. “Good job!” And then high-fived me for emphasis. “You did it!” I even threw in a Hail Mary, “my boss is going to kill me” plea, which usually elicits some sort of pity answer. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” she said, and let an uncomfortable moment of silence pass, daring anyone else to try.
Need further proof that she ain’t afraid of no reporters? Stewart and Blake Lively told a room full of them that they’re kind of pests.
Asked at the Café Society press conference if Hollywood is still “a dog eat dog world,” as described in the movie, which is set in the 1930s studio system, Lively replied, “I think back in the thirties, the studios were probably a bit more dominating than they are now. They owned actors and filmmakers. Now I think it’s more the media is more dog eat dog and invasive …”
“Yeah!” Stewart shouted into her microphone.
“People want access to knowledge,” Lively continued, “and if they don’t have access, they’ll just make it up.”
“That’s a good point,” said KStew, seeming like she would’ve leaped over Woody Allen to high-five Lively if she could.
Not that you were going to get text messages from her, but she doesn’t believe in adhering to rules of language, either.
“I am such a good text messager,” she said at the press luncheon as we talked about writing we do for ourselves. “I will put so much thought into the punctuation and the spacing and the words and the way that they’re ordered. I have my own punctuation language. Lots of spaces, spaces and then a period, certain capital letters. All of my friends have recognized the way in which I text. They’ve commented on the punctuation. They’re like, ‘I know what that means, but only you text like that.’ I’ll do a huge space and then ‘Yes!’ then return return return return, ‘Yes.’”
She called out Hollywood as a pretty shitty place to make your career, and she grew up there!
What’s Stewart’s impression of contemporary Hollywood? “It’s the most gnarly popularity contest in the world,” she said at the press conference. “It’s like you take high school and make it in the real world, and everything’s pretty intense.” And if you don’t accept those elements for what they are, then you’re going to have a tough time. “There’s definitely, undeniably an opportunistic, hungry, insane fervor that occurs,” Stewart said, “but it’s [also] really apparent when people don’t care about that kind of stuff and that what drives you is the things that get you up in the morning. You know, if you’re actually an artist who wants to tell a story, it’s a compulsion; it’s not something that you do because you want to entertain people or you want to make a bunch of money.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. “Most people want to entertain people and make a bunch of money,” she went on. “It’s not a bad thing, but if it also doesn’t hold hands with just genuine desire, if no one was looking, then yeah, that sucks.”
Don’t let your cell phone go off while she’s talking unless you want a public beat down.
Not once but twice, Stewart stopped in the middle of talking at the press conference to call out the heathens in the room who’d forgotten to silence their ringers — and still managed to come off seeming cute about it. “Who’s that?” she said, laughing and looking up, as a reporters’ ringtone interrupted her train of thought the first time. When it happened again, she stopped mid-sentence and searched the crowd with a death stare. “Really?” she said, before again dissolving in laughter. “I’m kidding. Sorry.”
At least now we know which celeb will come running over in her comfortable footwear next time we need to fight a boneheaded plan to allow cell phone use in movie theaters.