Juliette Binoche has made a living and a reputation on doing beautiful films, while turning down offers to do blockbusters. In her latest film, Clouds of Sils Maria, Juliette Binoche plays an aging actress who is having a tough time with an industry that is geared toward the young.
Juliette Binoche is joined by Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz in the film. She spoke about how the film was shot, which led to some very surprising revelations about her co-stars.
The premise of the film is that Juliette Binoche’s character, Maria, is asked to remake a film that she did when she was younger. But she will be joined by actresses who are in the young vanguard of the film business now. Juliette Binoche’s character heads to a remote location to prepare for her role. She brings along her assistant, played by Kristin Stewart.
Juliette Binoche tells how the film developed.
“Three years ago, I had an idea about a story, about three characters with three different points of view, that were daring to get into the feminine side of themselves, and I thought, Olivier. And I’ve worked together with him before [on Summer Hours] but back then, I thought he was frightened, frightened of women, frightened of me. He was staying in his little brood of technicians, and DPs and I felt he had no connections with me as an actor.
“So I rang him and said, ‘Hey, I have this story that would be good for you to get inside the subject of women,’ he said to me and said, ‘You know what, let me work it out.’
“And he came back to me two weeks later and said, ‘You know I can do something about this.’ It’s a great concept and we didn’t, we didn’t consult too much on it. It was his. He really made the subject his. And I loved working with him, it was really fantastic. He like to put the actors and DPs and technicians, into the abyss of not knowing.”
With this as the setting for working on the film, an estrangement between actors and crew, Binoche revealed another interesting approach to the film.
“We never rehearsed. It put us into an encounter between the technicians and the artists. That was challenging, very challenging. It was a special film.”
This approach was different for the younger actresses on the project.
“They were surprised that we worked like that, but they loved it they loved challenges. Chloë really prepares before. She has a brother who was around and helps her and she loves the acting and transforming. She’s very skilled.”
Kristen Stewart, on the other hand, handled things very differently.
“And then Kristen doesn’t prepare, just throws herself in, just looks at her lines, and learns it in two minutes. Genius that way. And being present in the moment.”
Whether this is Kristen Stewart’s typical approach to preparing for a role or not, she does not say. But it is how she did this role.