In recent years, Binoche has grown into that mentor role, guiding her co-star Kristen Stewart in their critically acclaimed Olivier Assayas collaboration, Clouds of Sils Maria, which earned Stewart a César.
“I was so proud of her, I have to say, when she got the César,” said Binoche. Since the win, Stewart has signed on to two additional French films, both with Assayas. And Binoche, as someone who has worked in both the American and French film industries, has a theory why Stewart and France have developed a mutual affection for each other in recent years.
“Kristen is a young actress, and it’s very touching [for the French] to see somebody who doesn’t need to be here, because it’s not about money, it’s not about fame, it’s about exploring different ways of expressing yourself,” the actress explained. “It is touching to us because there is a tradition here in France of making movies as an art form [rather than a business]. Final cut is given to the director, it is in the law here in France. A producer cannot have a final cut. It is in the law.”
“There is a protection of the arts here that is very strong,” Binoche continued. “I think Kristen understood that very quickly. She has the intelligence. She is quick. She has this need, this curiosity of exploring, and I think as you see young actresses, young French actresses wanting to go to America, I think more and more there are American actresses who want to be in more European films as well. So I think the exchange is really opening up.“