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Kristen Stewart Says the ‘Era of Queer Films Being So Pointedly Only That Is Done’: I Shouldn’t ‘Have to Stand on a F—ing Soapbox’

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At the Berlin Film Festival press conference for her new film “Love Lies Bleeding,” Kristen Stewart said she thinks the era of queer films “being so pointedly only that is done,” adding that it’s time for films to focus on “sidelined perspectives” while “not making it all about the reasons that they’re sidelined.”

“Love Lies Bleeding” stars Stewart as reclusive gym manager Lou, who “falls hard for Jackie (Katy O’Brian), an ambitious bodybuilder headed through town to Las Vegas in pursuit of her dream,” the film’s synopsis reads. “But their love ignites violence, pulling them deep into the web of Lou’s criminal family.”

When asked if filming the gory and twist-filled “Love Lies Bleeding” had changed her perspective on how queer stories are centered in cinema, Stewart sounded off on the topic.

“I think we can’t keep doing that thing where we tell everyone how to feel and sort of pat each other on the back and receive brownie points for providing space for marginalized voices, and only in the capacity that they are allowed to speak about that alone,” Stewart said. “We’ve all been there the whole time. I think the era of queer films being so pointedly only that is done, it’s over. Maybe they’ll keep happening, but I think it’s sort of inherent to how we’re all moving forward.”

In 2020, Stewart starred in “Happiest Season,” which was the first lesbian Christmas rom-com produced by a major Hollywood studio. Though Stewart said she enjoyed that experience, now she’s looking for queer stories where the narrative dives deeper than the character’s sexuality.

“I was happy to do ‘Happiest Season’ because it was a gay old time, it was a Christmas movie, it was a completely commercial, straightforward, right-down-the-line, hide-the-vegetables type of popcorn thing that we’re never really allowed to have,” she said. “And I did that once, and now I’m really kind of into the idea of unearthing sidelined perspectives and not making it all about the reasons that they’re sidelined, but their actual experience. What they love, what their desires are, where they come from, where they want to go. And then not feeling like you always have to stand on a fucking soapbox and be everyone’s spokesperson.”

During the presser, Stewart also provided an update on her upcoming Susan Sontag biopic, which was announced at last year’s Berlinale, where she served as jury president.

“The Sontag thing will be made over such a long span of time,” she said. “The format is unique. It’s a hybrid documentary, research project, experiment, film within a film type thing. We started last year here at the festival. I don’t know when we’re going to finish it. It’s an open-ended process.”

Directed by Rose Glass, “Love Lies Bleeding” also stars Ed Harris, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov and Dave Franco. The film will have its international premiere in Berlin on Sunday night as part of its Special Gala section, and is set for theatrical release via A24 on March 8.