Kristen Stewart Compares Her Activism to Jean Seberg's: "I Feel Like Vindicating Her"

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Kristen Stewart

The actor also discussed the Elizabeth Banks-directed 'Charlie's Angels' reboot, which she called "grounded in a way that feels united."

As the only American actress to have ever won a Cesar award, the country's equivalent of the Oscar, Kristen Stewart felt at home bringing the story of her latest film Seberg to the Deauville Film Festival after its bows in Venice and Toronto.

Speaking at a press conference, Stewart praised the upcoming Charlie's Angels reboot, scripted and helmed by Elizabeth Banks, for its female camaraderie. She grew up with the Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu version and said she always wanted to befriend them.

"I wanted to join that team. It was kitschy and fun, and there's a supportive power-in-numbers thing that is really reassuring and warm," she said. The reboot won't feel out of place in the post #MeToo world. "It's just a really nice time to tell a story that feels feminine and silly, but also really grounded in a way that feels united."

It's girl power with a gang to back you up, she said. "I may not be able to beat you in arm wrestling, but if I had my friends you'd be, like, screwed."

Still, the star said that while the #MeToo movement has changed Hollywood practically overnight, we should acknowledge the differences between the genders and create new opportunities. "This whole thing of, if we are all equal then why can't we be open about everything? Because we are not the same — men and women are not the same, like the way we communicate, our strengths are different — so to not acknowledge that distinction accordingly, mutually, to each other, it just makes for bad work."

But she gives a side eye to those that say it's gone too far, too fast: "It's really clear when people balk at the #MeToo movement that they probably have done something that they are feeling a little guilty about," she cautioned.

Stewart, who has said she's been warned by studio execs to keep her same-sex relationships under wraps in the past so she could score bigger roles, said she "wears her causes," counting gender equality among them. "But I'm not necessarily standing on a soap box screaming about it," she said, preferring to lead by example.

She compared her quiet activism to that of '60s movie star Jean Seberg, whom she portrays in her latest film. Stewart said she felt compelled to tell the story of how she worked with civil rights groups and was subsequently spied on and harassed by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

"She was really impulsive, idealistic, naive at times but always really well-intentioned," Stewart said of Seberg getting involved with the Black Panthers. "I felt like vindicating her and sort of validating her."

At an evening ceremony, Olivier Assayas, who directed Stewart in her Cesar-winning best supporting actress performance in The Clouds of Sils Maria, praised her in a scathing speech against Hollywood. Movie stars, he said, "exist under the microscope of media, suffer from the unbearable daily pressure of the Hollywood machine, its cynicism, its silly sentimentality, the brutality of its power and money relations."

The director said that Stewart has been able to create her own path out of sheer will. "She has never made a conventional choice, never sought anything other than to preserve her independence in her life, in her actions and in her art."

A nervous Stewart took to the stage and said she loves to talk about film "like a crazy person" but feels at home in cinephile France. "It's a rarity to find your people," she said. "In an environment like this where movies matter … I feel so right to sound crazy about it."