Charlize Theron And Kristen Stewart For Interview, June/July 2012

Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron appear in the latest issue of Interview Magazine for Snow White And The Huntsman and as usual, the photos are spectacular but the individual sit-downs with the two actresses are even better.

Even after picking and choosing answers, I’ve included less than half of the questions.

Elvis Mitchell does a brilliant job of exploring their careers and getting a very fluid and intelligent perspective into their craft and personal lives…

MITCHELL: When was the first time you remember working with a woman who you instantly connected with?
STEWART: Well, Jodie [Foster, in Panic Room]. But actually, the first person who hired me for a movie was a woman: Rose Troche, who directed The Safety of Objects [2001]. 

MITCHELL: The Safety of Objects is a pretty female-oriented film, too, which covers women’s stories and their points of view.
STEWART: It is. It’s weird, though, talking about the whole woman thing—especially now with Snow White, Charlize, and everything. I have this weird aversion to people going, “It’s a nice, strong female movie. It’s really strong. Are you trying to do stuff like that?” I get asked that constantly.

MITCHELL: Tell me about Charlize.
STEWART: She is unlike anyone I’ve ever encountered. She is one of those people who walks into a room and everyone knows it…She’s a fucking movie star. It’s funny, too, because she always says, “I’m not really a performer.” But I’m like, “Yeah, not at all.” [laughs] She’s an actor and a performer.

MITCHELL: It’s funny you mentioned that because she said the same thing to me.
STEWART: Well, I think that’s the actor in her. I think she loves being an actor and is so true to it that she might not acknowledge everything she’s capable of. But she’s so real all the time. She’s not the type who is easily rocked on a set. She’s very much in control of her thing.
MITCHELL: It seems like every year you have these two wildly different pulls between the bigger movies that you do, like the Twilight films, and then the smaller ones that you’ve done. I remember a couple of years ago when you had both Welcome to the Rileys [2010] and The Runaways at Sundance.
STEWART: I just happened to have enough time to be able to take other parts between those first few Twilight films. But it wasn’t about proving to people that I had something else to give.

MITCHELL: With a film like Welcome to the Rileys, I wonder how you walk away from being that character. [In the film, Stewart plays Mallory, a teenage stripper who develops a friendship with a man, played by James Gandolfini.] 
STEWART: Walking away from that character . . . It probably still hasn’t gone away completely, but for the first little while afterwards, I was so sensitive and touchy in a way that my character would never be. I was so protective and defensive of young girls, and sex in general.

MITCHELL: It seems like Joan [Jett] would be another hard habit to shake.
STEWART: She was. I went to do Eclipse right after, and I think the director of that movie might have said to another cast member that he had to beat the Joan Jett out of me. [Mitchell laughs] For a while, I just walked kind of hunched over. Joan has great defensive tools, and I became a bit attached to them.
MITCHELL: The Runaways, though, must have come at an interesting time, because at that point people were just starting to have certain expectations of you. Do you feel like that gave you a perspective on it that you might not have had if you’d done the film before Twilight?
STEWART: Joan was so protective of me with the paparazzi. They were hounding our set like crazy. She was so concerned and emotional about it, and I was always like, “It’s fine. I’m fine.” But it bothered her a lot. We grew to know each other so well, so she knew that I wasn’t the type of person-even though a lot of people think of me like this—to not care.

People think that I’m really untouchable, and that’s also translated into a lot of people thinking that I’m super-ungrateful.
_______________________________________________________________________________

MITCHELL: I think that it’s interesting that you went from doing Young Adult with Jason to doing Snow White and the Huntsman, because you could almost say that your character in Young Adult was somebody who is living in a fairy tale of her own devising. It’s almost like you’ve done two fairy tales in a row, in a way.
THERON: Oh, yeah. And they’re both somewhat twisted. I mean, isn’t this all a metaphorical life? Some fairy tales are incredibly dark.

MITCHELL: What made you want to do Snow White and the Huntsman in the first place?
THERON: It was a combination of things. I saw a great challenge in taking something that was so iconic and turning it upside down and shaking it up a little bit, which I’d never done. And then I also saw a character that was such an emotional wreck and has never truly been explored in that way.

MITCHELL: So what was it like to make it feel like those words – “Mirror, mirror, on the wall” – are being said for the first time?
THERON: You can’t, and you almost have to give in to the fact that it’s never going to happen. Those words have been said a billion times. So I had to find a way to say them where I could feel like they were at least coming from a specific place.

There are a few layers in there of madness and addiction and fear and sometimes even a kind of parental appeasing. The mirror is almost the only thing in Ravenna’s life that she has this somewhat pleasing relationship with, but it’s very abusive and it’s not a very healthy relationship.

MITCHELL: This idea of Ravenna being trapped in a cage is interesting, because I think that you’ve played a number of characters who are essentially, in some way or another, trapped—and very often isolated and lonely.
THERON: Well, I heard this amazing quote the other day. I don’t know who said it, but it really kind of hit me hard in the stomach: “The only difference between all of us is that some of us were loved and some of us weren’t.”

And that’s really kind of just breaking it down to the most bare-bones idea. Our mechanics are engineered so that we can survive quite a lot, but I think our need to be loved is so great that it’s the thing that damages us the most. I think that’s something we can find in any person, though some people are more in tune with it or accepting of it or have moved past it and dealt with it or have a healthier thought process about it than others.

MITCHELL: It is kind of a through-line in your work, though—these characters who, in some way or another, crave a certain kind of contact.
THERON: I know that I’m very attracted to characters who don’t necessarily make it easy to be loved either. It’s not a judgment—I just don’t find that there’s a lot for me to explore with characters that are easy to get along with or who have these amazing attributes and are just easy to be around.

I think I am definitely attracted to characters that make you work for it. They don’t just roll over. They’re tough, and you have to break through that exterior. I think that they’re the kinds of characters that society sees in broad strokes and kind of gives up on. They’re definitely harder to get through. But I’m fascinated by how you can find those broken bits inside of somebody like Ravenna or Mavis in Young Adult or Meredith Vickers in Prometheus.

MITCHELL: I just recently saw the director’s cut of That Thing You Do! [1996], in which you have a few scenes, and there’s a lot more to your character in that film than in the cut that was released. Have you seen the director’s cut?
THERON: Yeah . . . I got a call from Tom Hanks, who directed That Thing You Do!, when he was done cutting that film. I was like, “Oh, my god. Tom Hanks is calling me. This is amazing!” And then, of course, he was calling me to tell me that I was barely in the movie…

He was like, “Charlize, I have some good news and I have some bad news. The bad news is that I have to cut some of your scenes. The good news is you are like Marilyn Monroe in All About Eve [1950].” [both laugh] I was like “What?”

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