When Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart began working on the spellbinding new film Clouds of Sils Maria — in which they respectively play an aging actress and her longtime assistant — the pair turned to a few classic films for research and inspiration. Legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman was at the top of the queue, but not, as Peter Travers cracks in a new “Off the Cuff” interview with the pair, the Twilight saga.
Indeed, Clouds of Sils Maria features intense Bergman-esque explorations of human relationships, and the chemistry Binoche and Stewart developed on set is palpable as they speak to Travers about working together and their vastly different acting methods.
“I’m addicted to the first time,” Stewart says, after Binoche recalls watching the actress stroll onto set and briefly look at the script right before the take starts. “I’m addicted to that feeling that you’ve to constructed something, but that you’re really, truly discovering something. If something happens for me once, everything after feels like a false imitation.”
Binoche’s approach is more calculated, especially since English is not the Paris-born actress’ first language. “I don’t think I have the ability to just read and know the text,” she says. “I need to be totally free from it, and free means a lot of work.”
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Binoche then recalled a moment when their styles collided, when Stewart ended a particularly powerful scene by accidentally blurting out the opposite sentiment of the line she was supposed to deliver. The pair laugh giddily throughout the whole story, causing Travers to remark, “Well it looks like you’re really good actors if you’re faking the fact that you seem to genuinely like each other from this experience.”
“Nah,” Stewart says with a smile, “she drives me fucking crazy.”