Kristen Stewart: 'I'm obsessed with people'
Cafe Society star Kristen Stewart on why she became an actor
For five decades, Hollywood auteur Woody Allen has made a movie almost every year.
Fans expect the signature black-and-white opening credits over the jazz track, the hyperintellectual leading man as an Allen alter ego and a young, beautiful woman (or two).
In Allen's latest film, Cafe Society, a romantic dramedy set in the 1930s, Jesse Eisenberg embodies the Allen character Bobby Dorfman who goes to work for his talent agent uncle Phil (Steve Carell) in Hollywood.
And this time it is the unlikely Kristen Stewart who plays the love interest, office assistant Vonnie.
Cafe Society opens here tomorrow.
We met Stewart at the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City.
Dressed in a white T-shirt and black jacket with messy blonde hair artfully arranged, the 26-year-old US actress seems much less guarded than back in The Twilight Saga days.
After all, post-Bella Swan and Snow White, she has deliberately moved on to indie films like Camp X-Ray, Clouds Of Sils Maria, Still Alice and Equals.
CONTRAST: Kristen Stewart says her character in Cafe Society is very 'different' from her. PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION
Now she is back in Hollywood as Allen's latest muse, following in the footsteps of Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz.
Most actors love working with Allen.
The 80-year-old is famous for his non-auditions, minimal direction on set and very few takes. Stewart is no exception to the fan club.
"Like many of my favourite directors, he allows you to own your part. For somebody who makes movies with such a particular tone, his casual approach was really surprising to me," she said.
There was an audition of sorts where she read a couple of scenes on tape after a phone call with Allen.
"He thought I was good for the part, but he had never seen me play someone so light and buoyant, and that it was probably all going to work out perfectly. He just needed to make sure. It was so nonchalant."
She had worked with Eisenberg twice before - in Adventureland (2009) and American Ultra (2015) - and loves him.
She said: "He is just a wonderful person. His intelligence is not off-putting; it's like something that you want to keep up with. So he makes me feel good.
"I feel confident around him. And considering Vonnie is so tonally different to me, he was the perfect person to do this with because I could never be embarrassed around him.
"I could fall on my face, I could just be the stupidest person around him, and he still likes me."
She loved the "beautiful" period costumes in Cafe Society, but did not manage to take any home.
As for her own closet, she has kept a few "more important" dresses, like those for the Met Galas.
She said: "But typically we give all the stuff back. It's like, lent. I have an entire wall probably that's just sneakers, and then a rack of T-shirts.
"I have one little section for Chanel, but you would really not be impressed by it probably."
We talked about whether she looks back on her Twilight years and the first frenzy of fame and whether anything is different.
"I totally approach why I make movies the same. It's calmed down. It's like that fervour isn't really there any more, which is nice.
"I just ran into Catherine Hardwicke (who directed the first Twilight film) the other day, and that sent me back. It definitely brought back memories. But I don't think about it a whole lot."
What would she do if she was anonymous again for a day?
She said: "I'm not sure. I think I would probably just walk around. I'm not super sad about not going to malls.
"I would probably just people-watch. I want to be able to stare at everyone and not have them stare back at me because I want to observe... That's why I'm an actor. I'm obsessed with people and why they do stuff."
The next step for the former child star is to direct a movie she wrote, Come Swim.
"I'm so excited about it. We're ready to go. I'm crewed up, I'm cast, I'm storyboarded, I'm shot-listed.
"I've wanted to make movies since I was nine years old, and I don't think there's a huge divide between acting and directing."
Still looking lively
Blake Lively, one of the requisite beautiful young women of Cafe Society, plays divorced socialite Veronica who is romanced by Jesse Eisenberg's leading man.
The period piece is lovingly filmed with wonderful production design and, of course, gorgeous costumes.
And who better to wear the gowns than the fashion-forward Lively, who is in her element with this character.
During our interview at the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City, the 29-year-old US actress lives up to her name despite being heavily pregnant with her and Canadian actor-husband Ryan Reynolds' second child, and confessed to being tired.
What was it like working with Woody Allen?
Woody does most scenes as one shot, and also like a play. You have his beautiful dialogue, but he also asks you to fill in with a lot of improvisation.
Woody never said to me, "Okay you are the other woman and we are not supposed to root for you as much."
He was like, "Be as effervescent as possible. Break our hearts, make us feel conflicted over what (Bobby's) heart feels. And whatever he chooses, make us feel disappointed as an audience. If he chooses her, make him feel as disappointed if he didn't choose you. And if he chooses you, make us feel disappointed he didn't choose her."
And that is nice, to be able to play a woman who gets to not be any one defined role.
GLAMOROUS: Blake Lively plays a divorced socialite in Woody Allen’s Cafe Society. PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION
What has this pregnancy been like?
I think it is easier the second time because I know what I am getting into. And a little more challenging doing press with it, because it is hard to zip your clothes, but otherwise, it's nice.
I am lucky to be in a profession where I had my baby (two-year-old daughter James) on the set and it's nice being a woman who gets to work and have a family.
This must be a happy time in your life.
I live a very, very fortunate existence - I acknowledge that - and one that I haven't earned fully. My mum and dad earned it for me with their struggles.
There are challenges that I go through. But I am grateful for what I have every day and I don't take it for granted.
It's a combination of luck and also being raised in a way where you are, reminded of how grateful you are, and you choose to live on the bright side.
How is Reynolds as a dad?
He is an amazing father. He is my best friend in every way and that has continued through parenthood. I am lucky to get a good one.