No risk, no reward and all that. Actors making the transition from their day job to directing don’t always succeed—see Johnny Depp’s “The Brave” for an old example and Ryan Gosling’s recently critically-roasted “Lost River” for a more recent one. But everyone’s got to start somewhere, even an established celeb or actor. And yes, it can be a risky road to take, but nothing ventured, nothing gained of course. Plus most actors quickly learn that film is a director’s medium—an actor’s favorite takes, even their favorite scenes, can be left on the cutting room floor if the filmmaker wishes it—so wanting that control, plus trying to discover how the other half lives is understandably appealing.
A good, sometimes safe place to start for fledgling filmmakers is in the music video field. Shia LaBeouf has used the medium often to dip his filmmaking toe in the water, and the latest actor to try her hand is Kristen Stewart. Fresh off her critically-applauded performance in Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds Of Sils Maria” (read our review here), Stewart has unveiled her latest project, a co-directing music video gig (with David Ethan Shapiro of Starlight Studios) for the country rock band Sage + The Saints.
The song, “Take Me to the South," is a tune from from the band’s 2013 EP I Will Lie. And Stewart herself says she’s not a huge fan of country, but she is friends with the band leader Sage Galesi. “No, [I’m not into country]. This is what's so funny,” she told Rolling Stone recently. “This is something that Sage and I have not shared, and most everything in our friendship is. . .we have so much in common. So I was like: What? You want to do a country song?”
How’d it turn out? “The singer-songwriter was pleased. She was a natural. She was good at not over-directing, but making sure that certain beats were captured, and telling me which moments they were going for. Being friends just makes it easier, because she could tell me something very easily.”
Stewart’s worked with David Fincher, Jodie Foster, Assayas recently and more. Asked whom she learned from she told the magazine, “Everything that I've done has changed my every desire. It sounds ridiculous naming these people but [“On the Road”director] Walter Salles and Sean Penn [“Into the Wild”] work the same way I would like to work. It's about being able to always, always, always sniff out bullshit and refuse to eat it. You honor whatever you're working on so much that to make a mockery of it would be so principally wrong. That's the feeling those guys have. I feel so safe with them as an actor, because I know for a fact that I can try things and fully let go and they will never allow me to do anything untrue. I definitely want to explore this avenue of my life, and that's the way that I would definitely strive to do it.”
Will Stewart taking on more directing gigs? It’s unclear, the actress says she’s been working an insane amount and needs to take a break to “reorient” her mind. The video is part of denim/lifestyle brand Buffalo David Bitton's Blank Check Series where they give undisclosed amounts of money to filmmakers in exchange for their brand on the product. Anyhow, the clip is here, watch it below.