V122: Calling All Angels
The anything-but-angelic heroines behind Charlie’s Angels take a dip into resort’s most heavenly looks.
The anything-but-angelic heroines behind Charlie’s Angels take a dip into resort’s most heavenly looks.
Photography: Carin Backoff
Styling: Karen Langley
Text: Marissa G. Muller
V122: Girl Power is available for pre-order now. The issue hits newsstands on November 7.
The latest recruits for the feminist-utopian Charlie’s Angels franchise, Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska bring serious muscle to winter’s biggest action-comedy.
Here, they spill intelligence on their superempowered characters, which include a tech-company whistleblower, an ass-kicking humanitarian, and the Charles Townsend Detective Agency’s first-ever queer heroine.
NAOMI SCOTT Hi Kristen! First question…How did you get involved with the film?
KRISTEN STEWART [laughing] Well, you already know this. Like, why are you asking me this weird question that you know the answer to?
NS I actually don’t know!
KS You really don’t know? Ok, well a few years ago, Liz [Banks] and I met at [a party at] the Venice Film Festival—she was on the jury, and I had a film there. I was with [actor] Nicholas Hoult, who’s a raucous good time, so we were, you know… dancing. Not my default setting, as you know.
NS Oh? I thought differently... [all laugh]
KS Right, so she saw me at a moment where I’d run out of dancing steam. It was late, but it wasn’t that I was tired. I was...You know when you’re dancing, and suddenly you think, “What am I doing?” I had just stepped out of my body—that perspective of being glaringly self-conscious. It might have not been obvious, but she came up and was like, “Hey, chill, just have fun…” She saw it, even though we’d never met before. She basically said, “Everyone else is an idiot, too. And also, you’re wonderful and I love you.” So we became such fans of each other in that moment. To be visible to someone, and have them highlight you in that way, in that kind of environment, is like a tender act. And subsequently, she hit me up about the idea of doing a Charlie’s Angels movie, when the script was very [different]. She said, “I don’t exactly know what this is going to be, but I know that I want your energy in it.” And just so everyone knows, [Elizabeth] really possessed the story [after that]. She made it completely her own.
NS To piggyback off the script originally being different...I actually taped for [Charlie’s Angels]…Maybe three years ago? Before I knew that [Elizabeth Banks] was attached.
KS [Our characters] weren’t really in it, at that point…[Luckily] I really trusted [Elizabeth]—I am a huge fan. But the thing about me and Liz is that we are so different. I’m shocked that she even likes me, or can relate to me in any way. Because we’re opposites.
ELLA BALINSKA I definitely [always] knew both of you were on [the project]…Like, you had been announced. I got an email, via my team, about the project‚ but not with the actual name of the project…
NS Yep! What was it?
EB “Silver Cloud”?
KS For a long time, I thought that something called “Silver Cloud” was going to be [involved in] the movie, and was like, am I missing a detail?
EB Sorry Kristen, I know you’re going to hate me for this, but quick question…Did they have a code name when you guys were making Twilight?
KS Oh, I don’t know…
NS You can’t remember?
KS To be honest, when we were doing Twilight, they were just calling it “Twilight”.
NS [laughs] Because they had no idea what would come of it…
KS Yes…So, you both made it through to “Silver Cloud.” What happened next?
EB Yeah, I found out I’d gotten [the chance to audition for] “Silver Cloud,” and then at the bottom of the email, it was like, “Oh and by the way…It’s Charlie’s Angels.” Like, let’s cut the bullshit [laughs]. Then I pretty much just sent my tape off.
KS Which I saw.
EB You saw it?
KS Oh, yeah.
EB Oh my god…
NS I can just imagine her watching it, going, “She’s so fucking cute!”
KS Actually I went, “Wow!” I was really impressed with your tape because those are so hard to do. The scene[s] [are always] utter crap. But I was like, “Wow, she’s really owning this shit.”
EB Thank you. You’ve seen me in a very vulnerable place. There you go…Anyway, then I flew out and met Elizabeth, very naughtily…I was shooting something else at the time.
NS Gotta do what you gotta do, girl.
EB I would do it again. Elizabeth and I had a great meeting.
KS You can’t hire someone that you don’t vibe with, even if they’re a brilliant actor. If you don’t like the person, you’re just setting yourself up for four months of bad vibes. Ok, next question…
EB Out of all of the roles you’ve played, does one stick out as your favorite?
KS Absolutely not...it’s too hard...That’s like picking your favorite stuffed animal.
NS My girl [Kristen] over here... She’s like, “Of the twenty roles…”
KS ...It’s [more] like fifty. [all laugh] ...If I wasn’t amongst the very best of like sister-friends, I would never have been such an asshole [just] now.
NS And let’s be honest, I’ve got like three [roles] to choose from! I haven’t had enough serious roles to [answer] this question...
KS But what’s your fave?
NS Well my fave would be, 100 percent, Princess Jasmine.
KS Aw! Well that makes sense. You’re playing a Disney character…And you’re such an unbelievable singer. For me, to be seriously honest though…in terms of having a true affection for a character—one not based off a real person—I genuinely love Sabina, my character in Charlie’s Angels, so much.
NS I love your character so much, too.
KS She’s the nicest person.
NS She’s a version of you though, Kri.
KS Yeah, for sure.
EB Sabina is so spontaneous, and that made it so much fun to just be with you on set, in general. It was [you], when you’re in that mood of being like, “Dude…”
KS Well, Jane has a very pragmatic and stoic [side], [which you see] before [the Angels] become a family; at first, we don’t rub each other the right way—until we all come together and realize that we need each other desperately. Sabina puts herself out there, [at the risk of] getting seriously smacked around.
NS [Sabina]’s like one of those friends who’s never fake—there’s not a bad bone in their body, but if you cut them, they [instantly] bleed. That’s what I loved about your character [at first], and then when I watched the movie, I felt a lot for you [and your] parents…
KS Because she was isolated [growing up]...
NS Yeah, exactly…The discovery of that vulnerability was lovely…
KS You think Sabina’s a hard-ass, but she actually just doesn’t quite know how to [connect].
EB I feel like so many people can genuinely relate to that.
KS Maybe not anymore, but my younger self could’ve related to that immensely. [Even now] I know how to hide, and not [be] in the center of things. But now I feel like I have this very solid, modest ‘square-one’ [in my life]—this [foundation] upon which to dance, radically...I know how to treat people and, you know, that sometimes takes a long time. Like, even just knowing how to really be open with the people in your life, or having them as close to me as possible... That is really important. I have family and all of my friends. My dogs are a very centering factor in my life. [So] my square one is very solid, but I [also] like feeling off-kilter. It’s not about creating chaos—I am just on a constant search.
NS I saw so much of Sabina’s mindset as being independent, like, “I’m all good, I’ve got this sorted—no help needed.”
EB Do you [Naomi] feel like you related to that as well?
NS Yeah, 100 percent... Do you know what’s so weird? You [Kristen] and I always say that we are very different [people]; like, “Oh, Naomi’s so responsible...” [But] there is another side of me, too, that’s [more like Kristen] and so intrinsic as well…
KS You’re a deeply questioning person, deeply, constantly searching.
NS What assumptions do people have about you, that you would most like to correct?
KS You know, this [question] is going to make me immediately angry. You guys will be like, “People think [you’re] this” and I’m gonna be like, “Who the fuck thinks that?” But no, for some reason I actually love how pathological this question is… Let’s just be really real about this… I think mine’s really obvious…I’m going to [say it] and then you tell me if it’s right: that I’m, like, over-serious. Because I can be over-serious!
NS No, you’re not though.
KS Ok, but [let’s just] get all our assumptions out there, and then we can go about dismantling them, one by one.
NS Well, one of my favorite things to do, when people ask, “What is Kristen like?” is to just say, “Let me tell you how cool this person is…” The frustrating part is feeling like you understand this person [in a way others don’t].
To be honest, I hadn’t seen many of your [Kristen’s] other movies before we worked together…but then I went back, and realized [just how] talented of an actress you are—which I know sounds awkward, because it’s not like I didn’t think so before. But I just didn’t fully grasp the depth [of your talent]. That made me go, “Oh shit, I need to come up a bit.” To meet you at your level.
EB But you bring that out of [your costars]—it’s empowering to be in a scene with you, in that way.
KS I require a lot of you.
NS I think that’s also partly because this character was so you—you were a part of its conception, and it’s so right for you. It was written around you and for you.
EB I don’t want to give too much of your [Kristen’s] character away, because I want people to be surprised, but I remember thinking, when I read the script, “I hope they keep your character [Sabina] this way.” I was like, please don’t compromise.
KS Liz wrote it [that way]. I was so lucky... Ok, this was a really gorgeous non-sequitur that I really appreciate a lot. But what do people think about you [guys] that makes you go, “I don’t think that’s true?” [Silence] Well, actually—I feel like you [Ella] have said a couple times that you don’t think you’re funny.
KS I’ve had this conversation with you a couple of times, like on set before, like early mornings when Nay wasn’t around. Where you’re like, “Yeah I just feel like, you know…”
EB That I’m a weirdo. I’m very analytical.
KS You think you’re a nerd and people aren’t interested [in nerds], but actually nerds are the most interesting. Sometimes, Nay and I can be a bit of a runaway train with each other, not even saying anything that funny, but laughing hysterically somehow. And then [Ella] will jump in and say something like, legit funny. [But then] you’ll critically assess yourself afterward, as if you’re not [funny]. I’m like, “No, you’re killing the game!”
NS [Ella is] so intelligent and there’s so much in her that has yet to even surface. Like, how old are you? Twenty...
NS And you have the makings of…[trails off] Sometimes, when you’ve been brought up among white kids, people might [fixate] on one certain thing about you. Like, “She’s beautiful,” or “She’s a gamer or a geek.” [But] you’re a mix of so many incredible things. You’re black, British, super-duper intelligent, incredibly beautiful and you’re nerdy and a tomboy as well…and you don’t even know it. Yeah, that’s what it is. You’re kind of like a fantasy, but you don’t even know it yet. For me, it’s probably just that I’m annoying. Something like that [laughs].
NS But here’s the problem: I am annoying.
KS Shut your fucking mouth. [all laugh] We’re in a semicircle, cross-legged on a couch and we’re expressing our feelings about one another, honestly. And that’s the position [we’re] assuming.
NS Can I be really honest? I am going to piss my pants.
KS We all genuinely did become, like, best friends on this movie. And, like, I cannot [tolerate] anything that is remotely judgmental or shit-talkie [about] one of my besties. So [Naomi is] not annoying at all. She’s just, like, a lot of energy. Because someone put a nickel in her...or more like 75 cents, maybe.