Charlie’s Angels star and queer heartthrob Kristen Stewart says she’s had one especially bad experience with a male director, who was so cruel to her on the set of one of her movies that he actually made her cry.
As part of Variety’s Actors-on-Actors series, Stewart and Honey Boy star Shia LaBeouf interviewed each other about their acting and filmmaking processes. At one point LaBeouf asked Stewart if she leads “with love on a set” or does she “lead with fear.” “Love all the way,” Stewart replied. “I don’t want anyone to be scared ever. I definitely don’t like the fear/intimidation thing.”
This led LaBeouf to ask if she has any scars from working with directors who might’ve seen things the other way. This is when Stewart opened up about her experience. “I’ve worked with wonderful, lovely, talented people, and then some people that weren’t so talented, that were not very nice,” she said.
“One dude made me cry on set one day, on the first day of a movie, but that was the last second that I cared about him anymore,” she added. “I was just like, ‘I’m alone and you’re terrible.’ He made a bad movie.”
Stewart didn’t elaborate, so we don’t know who the culprit is, but after looking back at her filmography, I think we have some good ideas.
In this writer’s opinion, these are the main suspects: Jonathan Kasdan, the writer/director of 2007’s In the Land of Women; Sean Penn, the writer and director of that same year’s Into the Wild; Doug Liman, director of 2008’s Jumper; Woody Allen, who directed Stewart in 2016’s Café Society; and non-director Max Landis, who wrote Stewart’s 2015 movie American Ultra.
Let’s take a look.
Suspect One: Jonathan Kasdan
When Kasdan directed In the Land of Women, starring Adam Brody, Meg Ryan, and Stewart, he was just 27 years old and the son of famous Hollywood director Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill). I saw ITLOW, and it indeed was not very good. Jinkies! Furthermore, in an interview with Hollywood Chicago, Kasdan made some very unflattering remarks about working with the titular women on the film.
“Making a movie like this and working with 12 actresses is exhausting,” he said, adding: “Whenever you read a magazine article about what women look for in a man, they never say looks. They say it’s a sense of humor. It’s bullshit.”
Real nice, Jon.
Suspect Two: Sean Penn
Sean Penn is a notorious a-hole and egomaniac, and he allegedly beat ex-wife Madonna (although the singer recently denied the reports). Now Into the Wild is arguably not a bad movie, but it’s definitely got its flaws. This theory really falls off the rails, though, when we take into account that Stewart recently said that Penn inspired her to get into directing herself.
Probably not him. Let’s move on.
Suspect Three: Doug Liman
Jumper was definitely a bad movie. And early in his career, Liman had a very poor reputation on set. In 2002, the Wall Street Journal described him as an “inexperienced, idiosyncratic, and self-proclaimed ‘paranoid’ director” while directing The Bourne Identity. Jumper was released just a few short years after that.
Suspect Four: Woody Allen
Now Allen might be an obvious choice — almost too obvious. He “allegedly” sexually abused his stepdaughter, Dylan Farrow, and even aside from his marriage to former adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, he is known to engage in predatory relationships with much, much younger women (see: Mariel Hemingway). He’s a clear scumbag and Café Society is definitely one of his weaker efforts, but Stewart also defended working with the controversial director. In an interview with Variety, she explained that she and co-star Jesse Eisenberg have been subjected to baseless attacks throughout their careers, which gave her some empathy for him.
“If we were persecuted for the amount of shit that’s been said about us that’s not true, our lives would be over,” Stewart said.
Allen is “terrible,” as Stewart said of her mystery director, but it’s unclear if the actress knows that, given that she has not publicly ruled out working with him again. We rule this theory complicated — and maybe unlikely without more information.
Suspect Five: Max Landis
Landis is a screenwriter, not a director, but he is a total jerk and loves yelling at women. Earlier this year eight accusers claimed the American Werewolf in London director’s son engaged in a pattern of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse dating back 10 years. One accuser described him as “a serial rapist, gaslighter, physical, and psychological abuser,” while several women claimed he would choke them during sex until they passed out. Another alleged that she woke up to him “performing oral sex” on her.
If that weren’t enough, Landis also writes very bad movies, including Bright and Victor Frankenstein. American Ultra is maybe his best screenplay, but that’s not saying much: It has a 43 percent critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a not-much-better 45 percent score from audiences. The stoner action-comedy was also a box office bomb.
We’ll let you be the judge.