Did you know that Kristen Stewart made history a week ago? The 24-year-old actress became the first American woman to win a prestigious Cesar Award, France's own version of the Academy Award. She also won it for an English-speaking role. Think about that for a second. This honor hasn't been bestowed upon Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, Sigourney Weaver, Natalie Portman, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon or any other globally acclaimed American actress over the past 30 years. No, it was Kristen Stewart who broke the French's reticence to reward anyone but their own. Stewart, an actress who continues to (mostly) put studio work behind her following a string of acclaimed performance in indie films over the past year. That career path continues with her next endeavor, the “Untitled Kelly Reichardt Project,”
In case the name is unfamiliar to you, Reichardt is an acclaimed director whose movies include festival favorites “Night Moves,” “Meek's Cutoff” and “Wendy and Lucy.” Her latest project is an ensemble piece set in Montana. According to Deadline, Stewart is on board to play a young lawyer from neighboring Idaho who takes a teaching job within the state and discovers an unlikely friendship with a local. Laura Dern, the aforementioned Williams (who reunites with Reichardt after “Wendy and Lucy”), James Le Gros and “Mad Men's” Jared Harris have also been cast. For all of Reichardt's critical success she's a talent whose films are marginally commercial, at best. When you make a movie with her it's about the art and nothing more. And, lately, that's what Stewart has been all about.
After years of being contractually stuck in the “Twilight” series and attempting to launch another franchise with “Snow White and the Huntsman,” 2014 saw a sea change in Stewart's career with the release of Sundance Film Festival selection “Camp X-Ray,” Cannes selection “Clouds of Sils Maria” (for which she earned her Cesar) and “Still Alice,” which debuted at Toronto and went on to earn an Academy Award for its leading lady, Julianne Moore. Granted, Stewart has always tried to fit in an independent here or there between her studio obligations, but her recent choices are very reminiscent of the career path Matthew McConaughey began in 2011 and we all know how that turned out. The increasingly prolific Stewart has three films set to debut in some capacity in 2015, “Anesthesia,” “Equals” and “American Ultra.”
Tim Blake Nelson's “Anesthesia” is an ensemble drama which also features Glenn Close, Corey Stoll, Sam Waterston and Michael K. Williams. It's been almost a year since production wrapped on the indie, but it didn't land at either Toronto or Sundance so it wouldn't surprise us if it earned a Tribeca debut (probably not a good sign).
“Equals” is the latest from Drake Doremus (“Like Crazy”) and finds Stewart and Nicholas Hoult as a couple trying to keep their romance secret in a future where emotions have been purposefully eradicated. The high profile project, which is still without U.S. distribution, also features Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver and Bel Powley (“Diary of a Teenage Girl”). If not Cannes than perhaps a Toronto premiere?
Lastly, Stewart reunites with her “Adventureland” co-star Jesse Eisenberg in Lionsgate's “American Ultra.” This action comedy from the director of “Project X” and screenwriter Max Landis (“Chronicle”) made a slew of most anticipated lists, but still hasn't been dated by the studio.
Many have tried to dismiss Stewart's talents because of the “Twilight” films (hey, she didn't write the books) and her body of work is slowly starting to outweigh the negative after effects of that franchise. Moreover, no one bats 100% when it comes to picking projects (see Jennifer Lawrence and “Serena”), but Stewart has shown to have excellent taste over the past few years. Before you know it she'll be thought of more for her gutsy indie choices than anything else.
Just you wait and see.