Seberg: Benedict Andrews’ Biopic of Jean Seberg, Starring Kirsten Stewart

Seberg, directed by Benedict Andrews, is inspired by the real life of American actress Jean Seberg, the star of Otto Preminer’s Bonjour Tristesse and Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless.

The movie world premiered last September at the 2019 Venice Film Fest.

In the late 1960s, Seberg was targeted by the FBI through its illegal surveillance program, Cointelpro, in retaliation for her support of the Black Panther Party and her romantic involvement with the civil rights activist Hakim Jamal.

As an actor, Stewart is fearless about voicing openly her artistic and political opinions: “It’s not hard for me to wear my politics.  It shows up in the work I do, in public conversations that I have, in interaction. I’m so lucky to have it!”

Stewart came out as bisexual in 2017, while hosting Saturday Night Live. On that occasion, she lashed out against President Trump, who had criticized her in a tweet, saying: “Donald, if you didn’t like me then, you’re really probably not going to like me now, ’cause I’m hosting SNL and I’m like, so gay dude.”

Speaking about her celebrity, Stewart, who burst to worldwide stardom in the Twilight saga and has worked in a wide range of movies since, from Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper to “Charlie’s Angels” – said that “it kind of frightened me a lot, when I was younger, and a little more unsure.”

“But now, it’s great that I have this position where I can be totally open about communicating with people.” Stewart said that she’s not “entirely engaged” on social media,” but I feel like I’m not hiding.”

Early on in her career, Stewart thought: “I have to protect myself. I’m so completely unguarded.” Now, however, “it’s a beautiful feeling, in stark contrast with how I felt then, when you are initially exposed to something. The onslaught of that type of attention can really put you in a hole.”

She elaborates: “It’s not like I’m going to start a public Instagram and start yelling at people about what I think.  But I feel like I kind of do that anyway, in a different way.”

Describing Seberg, Stewart said: “She had this hunger behind her eyes that made her jump off the screen, and she was a really compassionate humanitarian at a time when people didn’t want to stomach that.”

Director Andrews noted that Seberg died in Paris 40 years ago, due in part to the trauma of being harassed by the FBI.  The police ruled her death a probable suicide.

Stewart is not worried about how a new wave of celebrity expected from her roles in upcoming blockbusters “Underwater” and “Charlie’s Angels” and her politically outspokenness could impact her life.

“I’m ready for all of it!” she said. “I’m so proud of the people that I’ve worked with recently, and I really want other people to see that in an expansive sense. I’m not intimidated by it at all.”

“I would really like to reach new heights, but at the same time, I’m not really thinking about it in that way,” she said. “It’s the coolest thing…I’m ready for all the people in the world to see that – as long as it feels natural.”

Amazon’s Seberg opened in limited release on February 21, 2020, earning $60,487 from three theaters, averaging $20,162 per location.

The movie got mostly negative reviews, but Stewart received praise for her bold performance.

Amazon is expanding the film to 300 venues next weekend, but I expect the movie to be a commercial flop.