“Camp X-Ray” stars Kristen Stewart as a guard at Guantanamo Bay. She develops a complex relationship with one of the prisoners (referred to as detainees). The strength of her performance and the way she embodies the character makes the movie intriguing. Parts of it are slow and repetitive but overall the story is compelling and for Stewart fans it’s worth it.
I had the opportunity to speak with the director Peter Sattler about why he chose Stewart and what she is like when she’s not working.
Dorri Olds: Can you talk about the instant chemistry you saw between Peyman Moaddi and Kristen Stewart?
Peter Sattler: It happened in a heartbeat. We cast Kristen first. Her casting director suggested Peyman Moaadi play the detainee Ali Amir. To audition him we did a video chat between the two of them. Kristen and Peyman fell right into their characters. They were just being themselves but they were acting just like their characters would. Their chemistry was so perfect I gave him the role before we hung up the phone.
She often seems quiet and sullen in her roles. Is she that way in life? Or does she joke around?
Both. If you can get her unguarded and at the right moment she can be super talkative and jokey. She’s actually a very funny person and she’ll talk a mile a minute if she’s got something to say. She’s also very deliberate about when she does and doesn’t speak. She’ll very thoughtfully sit and listen. I’ve also been in the same room [with her] when the paparazzi are chasing her and yeah, she throws her guard up and doesn’t say anything.
Did you research how Muslim extremists don’t respect women?
We definitely had conversations about Islam and women. We had an Islamic consultant and discussed that with her. It is less of a religious thing and more cultural.
What are you working on next?
I can’t really work on two things at once. I kind of just need to go all in on something. So it’s only now that the movie is completely finished that I can start to purge the old film and make room from a new one. Ironically, the film I plan on writing next is, in many ways, a two-hander like “Camp X-Ray.” I’m not sure if that’s by design. I think it’s just hard for me to think of a character without thinking of the other character they’ll be in opposition to. No character can exist in a void.
“Camp X-Ray” opens Fri., Oct. 17. Drama. Rated R. 117 min.
Watch the “Camp X-Ray” trailer:
Article by Honeysuckle’s Dorri Olds