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Olivier Assayas: ‘Kristen Stewart inspired me during writing of Personal Shopper’

Director Olivier Assayas used Kristen Stewart as his reference point when writing new thriller Personal Shopper.
The pair previously teamed up on 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria, in which Stewart played an up-and-coming actress who falls in love with an older, established movie star, portrayed by Juliette Binoche.
Praising the Twilight actress for bringing the tale to life in a magical way, Assayas knew he wanted to work with her again, so she was at the front of his mind when he penned his latest film about a young woman who can connect with spirits following her twin brother’s death.
“I was writing this story about a young American girl, and my reference in terms of young American girls was Kristen in terms that we just worked on Clouds of Sils Maria,” he recalled to Slant magazine. “I wasn’t sure she would do it, so I didn’t want to lock myself into that one option. But she certainly inspired me to write that story, and she was obviously the first person I gave it to. And she read it and wanted to do it, and all of a sudden this movie became like an extension of Clouds of Sils Maria, which it would not have been if it had been another actress.”
Continuing to discuss her involvement in the project, Assayas noted that the 26-year-old made some of the film’s scenes a lot more sexy and “daring” than they had been in the script. Admitting he hates asking actresses to perform something they’re uncomfortable with, the filmmaker was surprised by how open Stewart was in her role – especially when stripping off in front of the camera.
“I always leave the door open for actors to tell me, ‘Okay, so this is the limit, I won’t go much further than that.’ I’m okay with that,” he added. “In the case of this film and Kristen, she established, instantly, that she was willing to go all the way. She would just do it (disrobe) as simply and obviously as any other scene.”
Personal Shopper hits cinemas later this month (Mar17).

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