PROFILE: "KRISTEN'S CHOICES"
~ Did SWATH choose Kristen Stewart or did Kristen Stewart choose SWATH? ~
Kristen Stewart a.k.a. "KStew", "Kris", "Stewy", no matter which nickname you use, has at the ripe old age of 21 chose to be an actress. Jodie Foster, the Oscar winning actress who starred in the 2002 movie 'Panic Room' with then 12-year old Stewart, did not think she was interested in acting.
“I just love Kristen Stewart, but I didn’t think she’d choose to be an actress.”
Stewart has appeared in more films than she has had birthdays. Twenty seven. That's 27 movies. Most actors that are and were at her age would have been lucky to have had one film much less twenty seven.
Quietly done without a shred of boasting, Stewart's films have a lifetime domestic box office gross of approximately $1.040 billion dollars. If the world-wide box office is added, its gross would be at least two billion or more and this does not include DVD sales and all of the movie related merchandise sold.
Skeptics may say that this is mostly due to her 'Twilight' movies but the same can be said for Daniel Radcliffe's 'Harry Potter' films as well. However, in Stewart's case, she has more going for her than one mega film franchise. With 27 films in her back pocket, this could give anyone something to boast about but she would never do that. It can also be safely said that being a part of a blockbuster franchise was not in her plans when she first read the script because 'Twilight' is an indie film.
Stewart was never provided the proverbial "heads up" nor had the luxury to be "prepped" for something big when it came to being part of a major movie franchise. At least the three lead actors in 'Harry Potter' (Dan Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) had an idea that they were part of something special.
Stewart does not select projects based upon what kind of box office it will generate or its popularity or how much money she can make. You know the type: The film budget is $4o million dollars with $20 million dollars going towards the salary, in addition to other costly perks, to an A-list star who was bought in for "name recognition only" and whose script is not worth the paper it is written on just to generate box office.
Stewart selects a film based on instincts and guts. What compels her...what moves her. It is not planned. In this 'Extra' interview, Stewart explains how she chooses her films at the 2:32 mark:
Although Stewart has appeared in mainstream films, she has chosen to make her mainstay in the gritty but intellectual world of indie films. These modest to low budget films have interesting stories and characters that are rarely seen in the "big budget-big studio-blockbuster-copycat filmmaking world of Hollywood. A film like 'Transformers' is fun to watch but it is not known for its intellectual content.
In an Interview Magazine feature, where Stewart discussed her current role at that time for the indie film 'Into the Wild', IM described Stewart's film choices as follows:
"In an era when a vapid teen sex comedy seems to be the plat du jour for adolescent actors, 15-year-old Kristen Stewart is charting her own much more interesting path through the system. The toughness and maturity of her performance four years ago as the diabetic daughter of a recently divorced woman played by Jodie Foster in David Fincher's claustrophobic thriller Panic Room (2002) was enough to put the world on notice."
Indie films are not the films that the big Hollywood studios go near for money making ventures. Generally, producers are usually in a fight to have these films distributed. Some indie films are sometimes never seen on a big screen or not seen until years later which may be in limited release or go directly to DVD if it is lucky. Stewart understands the challenge of having an indie screened but chooses to continue to make them regardless. She is an artist.
An example of this is the distribution of Stewart's 2008 film, 'The Yellow Handkerchief'. It had difficulty receiving distribution with its projection heading straight to DVD until Stewart's popularity with 'Twilight' came into effect. This resulted in a theatrical release and a red carpet premiere on February 18, 2010.
Occasionally, however, an indie film can hit a major jackpot as 'The Hurt Locker' did in 2010. It was the David vs. Goliath, Story vs. Hype and Special effects, Low budget vs. Blockbuster, Ex-wife director vs. Ex-husband director. A soap opera which a Hollywood writer could only dream about.
It proved that an indie film with a good story could hold its own against one of the most successful and powerful directors who had one of the largest budgets in Hollywood history. 'The Hurt Locker' crushed 'Avatar' by winning several Oscars and BAFTA awards and in particular for the Best Picture.
Then there was a script that had been ignored by Paramount Studios. It was based on a beloved bestselling book about a girl who fell in love with a vampire. Paramount's script had perverted the story into a "teen exploitation film" so badly that the story was unrecognizable as compared to the book. One can safely say, "Thank goodness for rewrites".
A little known indie company (Summit Entertainment) obtained the rights, rewrote the script to be more in line with the book, hired director Catherine Hardwicke who was familiar with handling the teen indie genre ('Thirteen' and 'The Lords of Dogtown') who worked to obtain Stewart who chose to read the script. The rest as they say, "is history".
"A compulsion absolutely fills you,” she says of finding a good part.
Because of Stewart's choices, she has given us some of the most intriguing characters on screen today: Mallory and Georgia and Tracy and Martine and Em and Joan and Sarah and Melinda and Lucy and we will soon see Marylou and a kick ass Snow White.
“I choose things that are so overly ambitious, and if I can’t do stuff like that, I don’t want to be doing this [acting]."
Kristen Stewart has honed her craft in the indie world where actors go to act for the love of acting. Stewart has made interesting choices not only with the films she selects but how she chooses to approach the character as well. An example of this can be seen in 'Welcome to the Rileys' where Stewart plays a troubled runaway stripper; however, you never see her strip.
"I can't make something work that doesn't completely speak to me." (Source)
Universal Pictures is not known for indie films but had a script about a well-known character which had a twist. The character needed someone who could convey it in a new way.
Instead of a Nick at Nite/Disney Channel type, they dipped into the no nonsense gritty indie world for a different kind of girl. This girl who goes by the beat of her own drum. A girl who can wear Chanel everyday but chooses to wear skinny jeans, a tee shirt and a hoodie with a pair of keds. A girl who wears a "Get of my D*ck" tee shirt knowing she does not have one. Message received.
"There's a road I'm going down now, and I'm aware that there's not as much of an audience for strange movies—for different, eclectic movies—and I totally accept that." (Source)
Snow White is one of the most beloved characters in literary and film history. In the Disney version, she dances and sings and plays with forest animals without a care in the world while having a prince enchanted with her beauty. A fairy tale.
So how can a story that is known to be "fluff" fit into the world of Kristen Stewart? At this point in time in her career, this is what is called an "oxymoron". However this new version of Snow White called 'Snow White and the Huntsman', affectionately nick-named 'SWATH', is different. A beautiful but tough-fighting Snow White has Kristen Stewart written all over it.
Snow White will learn the "art of war" as the Huntsman teaches her how to fight. 'Snow White and the Huntsman' is described in the press release as follows:
"Snow White's life is turned upside down when Ravenna [The Queen] discovers that Snow White is about to become the fairest. She's driven from the castle and Eric is sent to kill her. Eric is a huntsman who is haunted by the death of his wife, Sara. He was deeply in love and cannot silence the pain caused by her loss. He drinks heavily and spends his days hunting for the White Wolf that killed Sara. He is purely mercenary, taking the money Ravenna offers to bring the most beautiful maidens in the land to the castle. However, when Eric discovers that the White Wolf works for Ravenna, he escapes with Snow White to the Dark Forest and begins preparing to get his revenge."
Based upon its description and becoming familiar with Stewart's criteria for selecting a film, we now understand how and why she chose it. It spoke to her. It was a compulsion that filled her. Stewart took a look at it and it fit into her "Stewyistic" style. 'SWATH' was different, interesting and even strange because Snow White fights back. This will not be our mother's Snow White, it will be Stewart's.
Universal needed that actress who could play Snow White differently than anyone has ever seen before. They searched and searched but had one choice in mind. Kristen Stewart.
In initial reports, The Hollywood Reporter indicated that Universal kept returning back to Stewart although others auditioned. THR reported the following:
"Is Kristen Stewart the fairest of them all?
The Twilight star is on the list for the role of Snow White in Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman.
The movie, being directed by Rupert Sanders, is in deep casting mode, with Viggo Mortensen entering negotiations to play the Huntsman earlier Wednesday. Charlize Theron is in negotiations to play the evil queen.
Stewart is a name that Universal has kept coming back to since acquiring the project even as it went through a series of screen tests with actresses such as Riley Keough, Felicity Jones and Alicia Vikander. Emily Browning tested this past weekend (Stewart has reached a point in her career where testing isn't required).
Stewart, arguably one of the biggest stars in the world thanks to the Twilight movies, has focused on indie projects in between the vampire romancers, and this could become her first studio project since becoming a name. It also would put her in the shoes of an iconic character."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, SWATH producer Joe Roth discussed the casting of Stewart:
"As for casting Stewart in the role: “Frankly, what we did, we searched high and low for an unknown. Which was my want after Alice,” he says. “As we went through it, it just became evident to me that Kristen occupies a space in the universe where she’s a terrific actress only known for one part. I hope this is a movie that will appeal to those who find Twilight appealing, but also [Stewart] is someone who has some piss and vinegar in her.”
If the “fairest of them all” is described that way, imagine how the Evil Queen will be..."
The fans may want to consider giving Roth a mulligan for stating that Stewart was only known for one film because he did say that she is a "terrific actress". Stewart was well known for her role in 'Panic Room' way before 'Twilight' came about. However, if Roth is stating that Stewart is not known for being in large studio movies, that would be true. Mulligan not required.
Regardless of the number of blockbuster movies one may think Stewart was in or how many actresses Universal auditioned, both Universal and Kristen Stewart found what they were looking for and then made it happen by coming together...because of a choice.
Profile written by: Dancerone
(Updated on July 11, 2011 to include the producer's quote made in EW's article on July 1, 2011. Thanks to our readers for the update.)