tv Charlie Rose PBS March 14, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
welcome to the program, i'm robert costa of "the washington post" filling in for charlie rose. we begin this evening with david brooks. op ed columnist for "the new york times." >> was' odd to me about this health care pln which is really much more ryan than bannon is that it introduces more risk into people's lives, and it takes away social support. and so as we sit here we don't know how many people are going to be denied insurance, but it will be millions, maybe eight, ten, 15 million and so that's the trump base. and what's odd to me about this health-care plan is it's declaring war on people who voted for the republican president, by denying them security of these insurance plans, by taking subsidies that would go to them and using it for tax cuts for the rich. >> we conclude with the new film "personal shopper" stephanie zacharek of time magazine talked to the films director olivier
assayas and its star kristen stewart. >> i'm trying to make a movie that's certainly narrative but also has some kind of poetic or dream-like dimension. and i want the film to be open to interpretation. i want the audience to day dream about the film. so whatever they're imagining, it's valid. it is totally valid. >> david brooks, olivier assayas and kristen stewart when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications
from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> good evening, i'm robert costa filling in for charlie rose. david brooks is here. he has been an op ed columnist for "the new york times" since 2003. his writing spans the worlds of politics, culture and the social sciences. his books include bobos in paradise, on paradise drive and the social animal. i'm pleased to have david brooks join me today. welcome, david. >> good to be with you and with you in wishing charlie's best healing. >> exactly. where are we in this moment in president trump's first hundred days or so in office sth. >> you know, i think we're a bit at a pivot. the one thing i give trump credit for sunday stand wag debate we're having in this country. you and i grew up in a world where it is big government, small government, the market versus the state. that debate is over.
now the debate is open versus closed. those who have the tailwinds of globalization blowing at their back to greater opportunities an those who have the 4ed winds pushing in their faces and want closed trade, closed borders. we see in our country the dutch are about to have an election, the french are about to have an election. and it's the same set of issues in all these places. we're at a moment where we have a new political debate and that creates not necessarily new a inlooments but the parties take new positions and sometimes swap positions. we're sort of in the middle of that, i think. >> where are we in this realignment. because when we see the health care debate, speaker ryan is taking the lead, he says he's working in coordination with president trump and in many ways it's a mainstream republican health-care plan it doesn't have the flashes of pop lism that we may have imagined. is trump moving towards the mainstream gop, the orthodoxy he has rejected? >> yeah, i think he's a transitional figure. and my colleague and my friend have written that he is more like jimmy carter in that you had a certain-- a democratic
party and then you had a democratic president with a democratic house and democratic senate, you would think a lot would get done but they weren't quite the old george mcgovern democrats but not quite the bill clinton democrats. they were in the middle. as a result there is incoherence. i think trump is a sign of that incoherence. if you take the two power centers here in washington right now who i what say are paul rye be-- ryan and steve bannon. paul ryan grew up through empower america which was a republican organization here in town. and pretty of the reagan republican worldview, less government, more freedom. steve bannon represents a nationalist worldview, the people at the working class people, the heart of our society are being hurt, let's give them some security. and so one wants to reduce government tone hans freedom and embrace risk. and the populists want to tighten down to increase security. and what is odd to me about this health-care plan which is really much more ryan than bannon is that it introduces more risk into people's lives, and it
takes away social support. and so as we sit here we don't know how many people are going to be denied insurance but it will be millions, maybe eight, ten, 15 million and so that's the trump base. and what's odd to me about this health-care plan is it's declaring war on the people who voted for the republican president. by denying them security of theetion insurance plans. by taking subsidies that would go to them and using it for tax cuts for the rich. and then increasing risk in their lives. and i happen to be a guy who likes the idea of tax credits so people can buy insurance but there's no question it increases risk. it puts the onus on us as individuals and family members to make those choices and shop in that market place and bear those deductibles. and so i just don't think the bannon wing of the party wants risks, wants to be deprived resources and wants to live in a more uncertain world. so to me we're sort of the health care reveals a party that is neither here nor there. >> so as bannon is really the soul of the trump presidency in terms of his pop lism and nationalism why is it speaker
ryan who is driving the process. >> we were talking before, i want to ride a colume let bannon be bannon. at least it would be incoherent. i don't agree with the guy, find him a little obnoxious but st coherent world view and he knows who his people are and he is going to defend them. the ryan-bannon mixture is an incoherent mixture and that's why this bill is just like on all wings of the party, neither hither nor there. and so the reason i think the ryan and the congressional plan is taking over, a they've been asked to come up with various plans for years now, and b, and more importantly there is just no functioning white house apparatus. the administration has not even, they're not even nominating people for the whole host of jobs. you just can't do, the white house, the principles, the four or five people making decisions and all these scads of deputies, an those deputies are not there throughout the administration so you go to the state department, the treasury, the defense
department and the secretary, secretary, the big bosses, they probably making coffee, sweeping the floor because there is no one else sweeping around, you can't run a white house with four people, you can't get anything done be. >> you wrote about how this health care proposal can cause disruption and you look at the medicaid aspect of the plan. and it phases out the medicaid expansion by 2020, some conservatives want to move that date up. trump is someone who said early on he wants to provide coverage for everybody. he doesn't want to have this kind of disruption. but dealing with the republican congress, it seems to be moving in that direction. what is the political consequence for this new president? >> i think for the whole party it's going to be onerous. the basic logic is this, the republicans want to cut taxes and there's things called the net tax cut which would only apply to people making over $1250,000. top 1 percent sort of deal. they want to get rid of that. the more you cut those taxes, the more you have to reduce benefits because you have to be
budget newt ral in theory. you have this basic pend lum and so the tax cuts are bringing down, going to bring down benefits whether it's medicaid or the size of the tax credit for people on those working and middle income voters. and to me the thing to do is to embrace the tax credit approach, a market based approach but do it at sufficient levels so that it actually provides support, increased support for everybody, which is what the trump goals were. it will keep people protected. we understand that the capitalism is not basically working for people. we're going to do it through livery but to provide benefitsto to people. but the current republicans whether rand paul or ted cruz, the main problem is still in their mind, is too much government, too much government. and i would just ask them where have you been for the last 18 months. did you not watch this election. >> you keep writing about how the republican party has to meet this moment. but it seems like whenever i'm at the capital talking to
members of the house and senate, they almost feel pulled by there tie, they have been running against this health care law ever since it was enacted and they feel compelled for base reasons, from pressure from the right to just repeal and replace and not really think through the full moment. >> yeah, there is a saying that intellectual progress rides in a hearst meaning people don't change their mind, they just die off. >> i think there is some element of that that the republican or the docks is so baked in that the people go along with what they have been saying all along. it is hard to change your mind mid life. but i do think you've got to look back and say hey, what just happened in american politics? and you know my basic rule about trump is he's at the wrong answer to the right question. and the right question is that capitalism isn't working for people. and our social fabric has decayed to a degree that we're unfamiliar with, at least at the bottom income levels of society. and we can't just leave people on their own any more. there is a guy in town who i'm sure we both know named grover
norquist who used to be an advocate for something called the leave us alone coalition. >> that's right. >> where all conservatives agreed disagreed on things but agreed government should leave us alone. but that's not working any more. the social fabric is too fraid. too many people lack the skills to get jobs, too many families have broang up, opoid addiction is too rampant. you can't just leave people alone any more. republicans have to adjust and say i've got my method to help people along. ople access to the new jobveid market. >> you think republicans and president trump may have made a mistake by beginning with health care, looking to tax reform, they didn't start with infrastructure, they didn't start with some of the more populist sides of his campaign. >> that's my letdown on steve bannon. i would have started with infrastructure. a you get a chance for bipartisan support and that's so important early in an administration. and b, have you looked around at american political history for
the last 20 years, clinton, o bma pretty much every administration taken on health care tended up biting them in the rear. so one of the things for those that covered administration after administration their first selection of policy is always the product of hubris, george w. bush decided the first thing i will do pie second term is social security privatization reform. and that was a big mistake because it mudied the water for any bipartisanship and introduced more risk into people's lives that they did not want. i would say frankly the 15eu78 thing of bam blanca did he the stimulus package first, necessary taited by events. but if obama said what political moment are we in, what i really worry about sin equality. and so every program i'm going to focus on is going to go after those working class voters in michigan and pennsylvania and ohio and wisconsin, if he had done that, democrats wouldn't have lost the house, they wouldn't have lost the senate or the white house. but instead he did health care which was a legitimate problem. but given our political moment it was a secondary problem, not a primary problem.
>> you wrote recently that president trump's address to congress was trumpism at its best. if that was trump itch at its best what is trumpism at its worst in terms of perhaps the president's behavior, his allegations about some kind of surveillance of trump tower. what is the worst if that's the best. >> at least there are so many worsts, there is the succession of worsts but the worst i'm disturbed by at the moment, and trump's character is him at his worst. the thing i liked about the speech was his character was sort of off to the side and just the subject and policy areas. but the thing that i think i worry about the most this week, i will have a new worst next week, is delegit miization of our institutions. and so we live in washington, i live inside the beltway. and so maybe that's suspect but i spend a lot of time with people who work in the federal agencies. i went to the congressional budget office recently a year or two ago and was there and met all the economists. and they work really hard.
and the bureau of labor statistics they work really hard. intelligence agencies they work really hard. most of them are not big political thinkers. they believe in what they are doing. they are trying to serve the country, they want clear direction. let them do their jobs. they are not superidea logical-- what i think trump is doing is delegitimizing the job numbers that come out of the bureau of labor statistics. the studies that come out of the cbo which are excellent. sometimes wrong, we all get things wrong. and then all the basic institutions of our government. and if people lose faith in that, i don't care what your agenda is you can't get anything done. you have to have some basic faith in our institutions. one of the reasons the country is great is that we have a basically functioning government. basically noncorrupt compared to everywhere else around the world. basically accurate in its good faith service to what the jobs are. >> the legitimacy point is so pornlt. if you looked at most of the republicans who ran in the primary, they want to take an tax to the federal government and cut a lot of these agencies
but the way trump and his associates talk about them as delegitimizing we keep hearing this teemple term out of the white house, the dep state, a way of framing the intelligence community in an almost con spir tor yal tone. >> it's paranoia. stand sort of an intellectual po us loo. republicans have always wanted cut the size of government, fine. but if you ask people in previous republican administrations, reagan, bushes, even very conservative people, what do you think of the career people you worked with, the career bureaucrats, civil servants, they normally say they are surprisingly good. that is my experience when i sit in a meeting off the record with somebody off the agencies, i say these people are pretty impressive and they're not making a lot of money. they do it maybe because they like job security bah they also believe in the mission of their agency and believe in the country. and so you can have more of them or less of them. but to say they're rigged, to say that the jobs numbers are rigged, to say that president obama meant obamacare to fall
apart in 2017 to say that the cia, the intelligence agencies are mall ef lently out to get somebody is just inaccurate and it is a form of cor rossive cynicism that just tears at the social fabric. >> you have written about how president trump has gone after some of these core tenants of the republican party including the hawkish consensus on foreign policy. how is the president revealed himself if in anyway so far in foreign policy. >> i would say he's threatening the liberal world order, this has been an article of faith in the party, both parties really that the main threat is either communism or fascism or author tairianism. people without don't play by the rules. and what we have to do is create a set of world order which is based on nato and the eu and our asian alliances and the wto. and they sound tech no krattic and unspiritual. but it is a set of world order and we're all going to play by the rules. and by the way we're not going
to pick and choose what rules we play by. we're going to cooperate and all play by the rules. some of those rules are you don't invade your neighbors and you know, and so that order has sort of held us together. an i think that order has been one of the great historical achievements mostly and it was lead by the u.s. what trump embodies is a different mentality. the people who created this world order, the big institutions, george marshal, dwight eisenhower, those guys, they thought it was not us versus the world it was us amplifying our power by cooperating with the world. and those things like nato they were expansions of american power. trump has a much more zero sum worldview, if they are doing well, we're doing badly. and therefore we have to do well and make them do badly. he made that speech at the joint session special, i'm-- i'm not president of world. i'm president of the united states. that wouldn't have occurred to dwight eisenhower because that did not exist. first he is weakening american
power because is he getting us out of these institutions which enhance it and he's letting more room for the people like vladimir putin to do their. >> how deeply invested is president trump in this worldview. is this coming from steve bannon or is this something you think the president himself is committed to? >> i don't know for sure but i have heard people in the real estate business in his sort of real estate business say every deal is zero sum. that if you are buying a property or something, if one side of the deal does well, the other side will do badly. it's not like a lot of realms of business where we cut a deal and both do well, that sort of zero up worldview per vaids the thinking. >> where is the relationship with russia in putin's stand, in your view? >> yeah, i-- well, to me the crucial fact is what does russia have on us, why are we talking about russia so much. russia is a significant country but it hasn't dominated american foreign policy for the last 15 years but suddenly everything is
russia russia russia. and you know, so this aide has russia ties, that aide. they're mystery, paul manaforts with a guy, a formal figure in the republican party with strong russia ties. suddenly out of the blue he becomes chief of staff of the trump campaign. >> champagne chairman. >> how did that happen. >> and they changed the platform to make it more prorussia. >> why is russia so dominant in trump world. i want to know why that happened. >> everyone does. >> and it could be because at a time when he was post bankruptcy he couldn't find anybody to invest and there were a lot of russian investors or russian buyers. but we just don't know what that is because of the tax returns because they're not public. and it's hard to know what our foreign policy toward russia is until we know the source of the obsession with russia, within trump world. >> who are the moral arbiters within the republican party right now? if the president in your view is delegitimizing institutions and changing world order who are the voices to counter it. because one colume sticks out is
your colume about the faustian bargain that so many republicans have made, that they will get health care and taxes as long as they just kind of go along with the rest of the trump plan. >> yeah, i'm not sure they are getting any of that either. but they go along because they see opportunities for their agenda which is fine. they go along because trump has terms of character n terms ofuh foreign policy. so when i look, what i am beginning to season capitol hill in particular in the senate is a bunch of republicans who i think are behaving pretty well fsm they were like me, they would be all anti-trump and hammering. but they're not going to be like me. i'm probably to their left on a lot of issues. and i don't have to have republican voters vote for me to keep my job. so but i would say they're trying to improve trump, they're trying to respect him, they're trying to move him. they're being brave enough to criticize him. some people who are the expected ones like lindsey graham and swron mccain and susan colins,
some who are expected and who are really outstanding human beings without do it out of conscience and because they're good senators and citizens, rob portman of ohio, but even some i tended to disagree with more, ted cruz i think is behaving in a role that i find responsible. he's not just a showman any more. he's trying to move things substantively. i think marco rubio is doing a very good job. he's been tough on russia but trying to helpful and cooperative. and this has been something we see all the time in american politics. and this goes back to the iraq war. there are some people who were critical to get on the sunday shows but some people are critical in order to be helpful. and that spirit of helpfulness is something i'm beginning to see in a lot of republican om the shadows.people emergegs >> what about ryan, speaker ryan and leader mcconel. >> i think they're in a tougher position.
you know, i guess i wish paul ryan had-- we've got a party that has got a lot of different factions. and like it or not, i just got to pick one. >> now they did with tax credits in the health-care bill. but, but it seems to me he has not settled upon a top to bottom philosophy. where we are as a country, and what we need, in the way that steve bannon does have a top to bottom philosophy. so i just wish paul ryan is working t-- in wisconsin i would like him to say okay, there's a new situation facing my people. and the government has to be a little different than it was when i was working in washington in the 1980s. and i'm not sure he's gotten there yet. he is very respectable, intellectually wasn't doesn't see the coherence in a lot of other people. >> you have been traveling a lot more since the election. and when are you out there in different staits, different towns and cities, giving talks or teaching, how are working
class americans of both parties reacting to this first two, three months of the trump presidency? is this something they want to see succeed? are they alarmed in anyway? >> i have become a little hesitant to like speak on behalf of. >> but give your anecdotal. >> anecdote 58ly i would say i see a the lo of people want him to succeed. and even a lot of people who didn't vote for him. they don't want to give up on this presidency. and so they would like to see some success. and i feel a lot of realism, you know, how many times have we heard somebody in the coffee shop or i go to a bar, i call it reporting, others call it drinking. and say you know, i wish that guy would put away his tweet, his phone, and so they are realistic, people are very good at desegregating the nonsense, the surface part of trump for what they hope from him. so i would say i see not many people who were protrump who have given up on him.
and not a lot of hostility. i see a lot of realism that we kind of knew we were getting this package. we are still getting it. i'm waiting to see how it shakes out. the people who were protrump are still protrump for sure. >> the president later this week will be going to nashville and he's going to be paying some kind of tribute there to andrew jackson. i think this comes back to that bannon influence. what do you make of this continued association the white house is making with andrew jackson? >> it is, to me it's a bit of a-- i guess donald trump is no jackson to me and jackson wasn't the greatest thing either but what trump's nationalism strikes me as, much a closer than the nationals we are seeing in holland, in austria or the u.k. or and thases' not a typical american nationalism. the trump nationalism is the good-- the simple folk of this country have the purity and virtue and wisdom. and it's very backyard looking. it's very historisis.
it existed in the past. it was in the peasants as they would say in russia. and that it's being corrupted by outside forces. globalists, daf os people, and that is just not the way americans have defined their nationalism. >> you have written for years about how you would like to see the 308 particulars of this country move more forward national greatness and the idea of american greatness but are you saying there is a real difference between kind of john mccain style, republican of a few years ago american greatness and what trumps articulating. >> the first thing to say is i really defend nationalism amount of lot of people are against nationalism but that is like against religion it can be used in good ways or for bad political ways. if we don't have nationalism, if we turn into a bunch of brussels people or dafos people you get this disenchanted a moral politics am you have to have a unifying national idea. the american idea was not based on looking for the past. it was based on a forward united dream of the feutd it was, the
religious dream was the belief in the end of time. and whether it was alexander hamilton or the founders or abraham lincoln or thee door roosevelt or john f kennedy, or ronald reagan, the definition of american is what we were shooting toward and the future, we saw the president in the vantage point of the future. when people were crossing tennessee, one of the things foreigners noticed, the observers noticed. they would come to a valley which had great farm land but they kept going west because they assumed there would be something even better on the other side of the next valley. that was the american spirit, that it was future looking. not backwards, so we weren't so much tied to the past. and that created a culture in which we moved more, we started companies more, we created industries more, because it was always dinic-- dynamic moving forward. and what has been interesting to me at the same time you have this backyard looking nationalism of bannon and maybe
trump, we've also become a culture where we move less, entrepreneurial rates are down, and so we've become less dynamic. i think we have become less american. and i support a nationalism that rekindles that sense of we have to be on the move. >> how are the democrats responding to all these swirling forces in the trump. >> well, they are a little off to the side right now. because the fight is within the republican party is on health care. i think they have not yet found their voice either. the people who are farthest along are the progressives who have a coherent worldview. and what you don't have on the left which i think i'm waiting for is a group of people who are going to say okay, this guy donald trump is for closed trade, closed borders, no ethnic diversity. so we're going to be for open, unabashedly going to be for open, ethnic diversity, open social morees, open trade, relatively open immigration. we're going to embrace global
capitalism and because we believe in it, dynamism, we'll make it work for everybody. you haven't seen that. you haven't seen a modernization. clinton paradigm which will be proopen, progloballization, but in a functioning way. and i'm waiting for that person to emerge. hillary clinton could have been that person if she said no, i'm for ttp, i'm for trade, have i been for trade all my life. i believe we need the dynamism but we'll make the rules different. but she couldn't quite get herself there because it would have caused this fracture on her left. >> no one in either party seem totion want to make that kind of pitch. i was reading through bobos in paradise the other day wondering what happened to this country that david wrote about, not too long ago. it was so about the ascended america, embracing technology, embracing globalization. and now if you even talk in those terms politically, democrat or republicanan, are you the past. >> yeah. i mean it is still there, hopefully in restoration hardware they still exist but
the spirit is totally different. the post world war spirit, i wrote that book tbl the '90s, 2 thousand, silicon valley was booming, and we had just won the cold war, the american model looked like it was on the march. and i guess what i would say has happened is that the 2 1s century happened. and 29 1s century started on 9/11. and it has been marked by 16 or 17 straight years where the number of democracies in the world has gone down. the number of author tairian governments has gone up. the ethnic separatism and nationalism has risen and you've got people trying to build walls, trying to build walls around this country, trying to build walls in europe. you have got religious fanatics in the middle east. you've got terrorism throughout the world. and so it's been an ugly start to the century. and as a result, the spirit of hope and the spirit of optimism and spirit that history marchs toward progress has been lost. and everybody thinks things are
going in a bad direction, everybody is in a bad mood. >> let's talk about the ethnic nationalism for a minute. a lot of republicans i talk to in my reporting don't ever really want to broach that topic. then you see congressman like steve king of iowa had a tweet over the weekend where he alluded to ethnic-- ethnic nationalism, even white nationalism, it's there, out in the open on the republican side, maybe on the democratic side too. what are we to make of all this, this flurry of ethnic nationalism within the trump movement. >> i don't know how much of it is in there it's there clearly. and i would again differentiate between racism and nationalism. you can be proudly proamerican and not be a racist. but there clearly is a lot of racism. and there is clearly a lot of fear which drives fear of the other. and a sense of contamination. you know, the dutch are going to have these elections, i keep mentioning. and there you've got a party and candidate who is explicitly, more explicitly than americans,
actually, saying we have to have more people like us, and fewer like them, meaning fewer muslims. and that is just, we've got to preserve our ethnic purity, our cultural purity. and america has never really believed in that because we have always been a pretty ethnically and culturally diverse nation. but you are beginning to see this european style of ethnic nationalism exist here, as people want to preserve, want a country that looks like themselves or at least white people do. and on the one hand i sort of get it. it is revolutionary that we've gone from a country where large swaths of it were largely white to a country where the it is minority majority. and or majority minority, whatever. and so i get the fact that this is a radical social experiment. but what i don't get is the intense sense of pessimism about this experiment. because as we become a more diverse country, i think we become a safer country, crime
rates have plummeted. we've become a more interesting culture. we've become a more tolerant culture. and so what interests me about the trump worldview is how fear-driven it is. how the assumption is the crime rates are soaring when in fact crime rates are fawming. the assumption that opportunity is plummeting and everyone is getting screwed when the fact is a lot of good things happening in this country. and so it's fear and enforcement. so what strikes me about the trump worldview is it is a, fear based and b, the remedy is always intimidation. it's never compassion. and so it's just this dark angry view of the world, which then manifests it self in an ethnic nationalistic form. >> david, as we all navigate this new environment you wrote recently that think being politics in the age of trump means relying less on the knowledge of political science and more on the probes of dh lawrence, david foster wallace and carl jones.
explain what that means. >> yeah, i'm about to get extremely charlie rose on us. so i do think things have deteriorated in some ways and mostly the social fabric has deteriorated. there's a guy rusty, has a phase crisis of sol darrity and to me that is what we are suffering from. we are less close to one another across class, within our communities, our social capital is down. and so we're more isolated, in fundamental ways. and so me that happened for philosophical reasons. we made mistakes. and here's where the charlie rose moment comes. and that's because we chose the wrong philosophers. we should, we chose john stewart miller when we should have chosen martin luber what i mean is miller sees us as a series of individuals or individualistic worldview, martin luber wrote a book about a bunch of relationships so we became too individual stksz when we should be a little more commune tarty
and we chose jeremy ben sen instead of-- he thought we were motivated by pleasure and pain, victor frankel felt we were motivated for a search for meaning, to want to lead good lives. so in my view our society has become too economic, too social sciencey and too utilitarian and not enough mar-- moralistic and we chose des cart when we should have chosen st. a augustin and des cart thought we should think with our ed hads, augustin felt we were emotional creators. so we have become too cognitive instead of more emotional. because we have turned into 14e8s of ourselve and that cut down on intimacy. the idea is to drive behavior i think we have some of the wrong #kwr-des. >> david brooks, thank you. >> thank you. >> good eveningk i'm stephanie
zacharek filling in for charlie rose. personal shopper is a new film from writer director olivier assayas. thethe film marks the second cod lab raitionz by assayas and kristen stewart following cloud a 2014 movie. stewart became the first american actress to win france's equivalent of an oscar for her work in that film nsm personal shopper she plays a woman determined to connect with her recently deceased twin brother from the afterlife. here is a look at the trairl. >> what ri doing in paris. >> is i'll a personal shopper. you're a very high profile. >> thank you. >> she can't do anything so i assist her. >> is there nothing better to do than. >> i'm waiting. >> what are you waiting for?
>> my twin brother died here. we need this. >> whoever died first ask on the other side within you're here. >> i had a sign. >> are you sure? >> do you think he was here? >> i don't snow. >> i'm just going drop these bags for you, okay? >> okay. >> he was murdered. >> what were you doing at her place. >> why are you asking?
>> i'm lost. i can't tell whether or not i'm going crazy. >> i'm pleased to have olivier assayas and kristen stewart at this tiebl for the first time, welcome. >> thank you. >> so olivier, this is the second film that you have made together. can you tell us what made you want to work with kristen stewart, and in the first place, and what made you decide to want to work with her again? >> you know, i hardly knew kristen when we made cloud of social maria, i just loved her work and have always loved her work. but you know, how much we would connect and how it would work between us was, you know, was a question mark for both of us. and i think the reason why i
kept on working with her after clouds, and hope to keep on working with her after personal shopper, it is because i think that you know, what the way we connected on the set of clouds, what i saw her do, the nuances, i realized that she was certainly one of the great actresses i have been privileged to work with. and i think we complement each other. i think we're very different but show we kind of, i think that kristen brings me a lot and i try to give her as much as i can in return. >> so your character plays a woman who is grieving. and she's trying to deal with the loss of her brother, did you draw on any personal experiences or did you just use sort of imagination which is a great actress tool? how personal was it for you?
>> i have had tastes of, you know, relatively speaking, sort of like crippling anxiety that wasn't really rooted in anything other than just grand questions that like are a little sometimeing. and i think like in retrospect all of those times in my life were kick started by some sort of loss, definitely insignificant compared to the loss of a twin brother. but i knew that feeling. i just-- even feeling sick sometimes, if you have a really bad flu, like that, just anything that sort of reminded you of mortality, and what there is in life to actually hold and grasp and know for certain. and that is actually very little. and so when you are reminded of that, it's kind of difficult to function in a normal kind of like flip ant devault-- default
setting. which is how we exist typically. i mean it's the only way to get through life in anyway that is productive. and so i knew that feeling but the depth in which that debilitating feeling affects her i have never come close. but i could like you say, i could sim pathize. >> it seems to me too that this performance, this role is almost like, it must have been written as a circle that wasn't quite closed. and i think your performance really closes the circle. did you, can you talk a little bit about the role and did you have. >> well, you know, it's pretty of the way i always write. i mean to me i write open screenplays as opposed to blocked screenplays. i think that something is just so boring to making movies if everything is finalized at the screen writing level. but of course it's scary.
it's dangerous. and you have to do extra convincing when you try to sell that for your finances. but i'm convinced that film making happens on the set. i mean the screenplay, just like a trampoline, it's something that you use it to project yourself into something that sch more complex, much more lively. and i think that in that sense film making is like a magnet, you know, it attracts life. it, so it's a film should constantly be open, like the windows open, doors open, so everything, you know, you can channel everything into the same energy that will create the film. which ultimately, you know, it's pretty much about the screenplay. but the screenplay being more like a backbone, you know. and you gradually give flesh and blood to it. >> have you been working for a
long time, even though you're very young, you know, you started working as a child, basically. and you have worked in a lot of different types of movies, obviously the twilight movies made you famous. obviously this is a different way of working. how do you compare it to other types of movies that you've made? and at any point were you scared about the things that olivier was maybe asking you to do or looking for? >> even on a larger film that requires more finity in terms of what the result is going to end up being, like more predetermination, i always try and forget those things and sort of like allow other people to worry about them. because it's funny like what he was saying about keeping doors open and windows open, it is really the only-- it's really
the only way to do anything that doesn't just feel like an impression or an inimitation of life. i don't want to imitate life. i really want to like interpret it and allow someone to capture it. so and also i go out the windows and doors saying it is totally what personal shoppers is about too. if you think you know everything in terms of like, you know, the larger questions, then you're closing yourself off to so much that life can offer you. and then you really just live in the immediate see of every day practicality which is to a certain extent boring and empty. so yeah, even on a big movie, there is a certain job that an actor has to tell a story and hit certain emotional marks. and to be honest with you, i don't do very well in that position. i don't thrive. i feel like you know, even on a larger, like on a movie like
twilight, the moments that were written in the book or in the screenplay that everyone sort of like maybe were like people are you attached to, i felt like i messed them up. and in the moments that were-- the moments that just happened to bub ep you will on set that maybe wasn't a huge moment in the script or book, those were the things. the things that surprised me were the things that were always, like, oh, man, i think we just got to it. and i think that is a furthering the story in the right way. so that's how i do like to work as well. >> and olivier, many of your movies, not just this one, i'm thinking of boarding gate, demon lover, you are very open to the fact that we rely on technology, we need technology, we live with technology, but you are also kind of wary of it and wary of its limitations, can you talk aa
little bit about how that plays out? >> you know, when i was making like awhile ago a movie like demon lover, i think that technology, modern means of communication were not as much, you know, inscribed inside our culture. and at that point maybe i had ideas about it now i have like zero idea about it i just accept it as a fact. you know, there's no other way to do it but the only thing is that because i'm predigital and digits all at the same time, i have a different perspective of time and i can, and i'm aware in that sense how ultimately the way we communicate, the way, the way we explode the internet or the way our smartphones are hard wired in our brains, has changed the human experience. we th ve changed the human identity. so it's not so much that i'm
interested in gadgets. the thing is that i'm interested in how they are transforming human beings and it's really something that i realized when i was writing personal shopper. it's that i think if you want to describe the modern character, you also have to deal with the way that human being does communicate or use social media or not social media, whatever, because those end up being defining element in the psychology, maybe we should use another word now. like it's like there's some kind of external psychology to an individual today through means of communication. but you know, i don't think it's acknowledged how deep it goes. >> how would you approach the more mysterious element of the character that you're playing this role, where you have the phone in your hand, you're obviously texting all the time,
very comfortable with it but then at a certain point you start receiving these messages on the phone, that appear to be properhaps your deceased brother or from a person playing a prank or mall ef lent spirit. so how did you approach that? >> i think that there is a concrete answer. on who that person actually is that i'm texting. and i'm only aware of that as an actor, approaching the story as a screenplay that i had read. and so i know how everything plays out. but i think if i were to wipe that from my, you know, memory, the person or spirit or entity or whatever that she's speaking to is this ever-evolving thing. and i think that that, that
speaks to like the definition of one's own reality, if you believe it then it's true. and so i think that will are times when she's absolutely talking to herself. i think it's an internal dialogue and then there are times when she you know, assumes that it is another character within the movie which it is hard to describe because i don't know if people have seen this while watching this interview. but i think it's weird because your phone gives you an ability to live quite presently all the time. but then at the same time depending on how you use it, it does the opposite of that. so way, playing with the phone as a costar was kind of cool because at any moment that's a shift, it's a shape shifting costar. and so it's almost like i had, there were like multiple people that i was interacting with. and so it's really self-reflective and like a
little maddening, just as texting people can be. you can speak to someone and think that you're having one conversation and the other person can be having an entirely different experience. and that's in life too. we could, obviously that could be happening between us right now verbally. but it's more so when are you not actually in front of someone. so it allows you to sort of tail spin. and yeah, no, that's it. it was strange but like really, the one thing i was worried about was it would not be very engaging cinematically. that i might, that it might be boring or something. but those scenes had the most, for me absolutely the most tension. >> those scenes work, those scenes really work. and that's interesting to me to ar that you know who's doing the texting. because you know, i've seen the move year. i love the movie, i'm still talking to other people who have seen it who say we don't think
it's a person who is exiting. we think it's a spirit. so you have the answer, olivier, you came up with the idea. >> well, you know, you witness, you are witness to a car crash. and you ask ten people who were there what hatched. you will have ten versions. actually reality's only one version because it's obvious it's very toaz connect the dots i think 245 human perception and the way produce ses film based on your own preconceptions in a certain way is very interesting because i think that, you know, i think it has to do with the fact that i never feel like i'm making movies for-- for an audience. i'm making movies for individuals. for a lot of individuals, hopefully. but i know thatting every single person is going to absorb the film in a different way. and i'm not trying to-- i'm not
trying to resist that. a lot of film making is about resisting that. it's really about establishing things clearly and just controlling your audience. i hate the notion of controlling my audience. i think i'm trying to make a movie that's half-- that's certainly narrative but also has a kind of poetic or dream-like dimension. and i want the film to be open to interpretation. i want the audience to day dream about the film. so whatever they're imagining, is valid, totally valid because that is how your relationship with any given work of art functions. you know, when are you looking at a painting, you can say 30 seconds, five minutes, an hour in front of the same thing. you your gaze can travel in strange different ways inside
the canvas so ultimately everybody will have a completely different analysis of what is going on in that canvas. and it has to be acknowledged. movies are very much like that. so again, i have easy answers for everything in the film. i'm not sure that they are that interesting. it's really like when in clouds of character of valentine, that kristen played, she disappears at some point, right? and you know, i had so many times the questions why is she disappearing, so on and so forth. she disappears because it's much more interesting if she disappears. she could also get on a bus and go away it is a quick shock, it's done, it's fannish-- finished shevment has her suitcase and-- and the bus drives off and why not. but if she just disappeared, she remains a question mark. and she echoes through all the end being of the film.
so that is how i furntion. >> there's one moment in the film that i want to ask you about. and it happens late in the film, your character maureen has stayed overnight aa friend's house. and maureen comes downstairs and goes to the kevin. and there's an electric tea kettle on the counterment and i noticed that maureen tabs it on ter.hot before she pours theif >> i love that. >> and you know, as a viewer, when i'm watching a performer and i notice something like that, my first thought is, does she know that she's doing it. so did you know that you-- or was it just automatic, how much is instinct and how much is craft? >> it's pretty of all instinct. at that point i knew, i knew that i-- i walked downstairs thinking that i'm alone in the house. and i see that there is a kettle before i see that there is somebody sitting outside. and so i think that the whole thing was like yes, i would like
some tea but it's like, oh this is-- my thing was she's always wondering like who is around and who is watching. and so i think that was just like how long has he been there. has he been inside, you know what i mean. yeah, that's all. but so-- so that to be honest, to be deadly honest, i did think about that. but a lot of times like i've had questions, recently somebody asked me if i was like how i came to the choice of not unwrapping my silver ware before using the napkin on my face in a movie that i did. and i was like what? i didn't think about it and they were like that was just a brilliant choice, you know, you just didn't have time in your life at that moment to unwrap and it just says everything about your character and was your favorite part of the movie. and i was just like cool, didn't think about it at all. >> the other thing is that we didn't discuss this. it is interesting you would mention it, because it really struck me when kristen did t i
said wow, you know i thought it was just so good it was so real. and it is not something you can tell an act tore do that makes sense. doesn't come to your mind. and i think it's stuff like that that make, that the film and the character alive and that kristen constantly brings. >> so you two obviously have this kind of great chemistry and you know, great way of communicating. are you going to work together again, do you think? >> yeah, i'm writing a feature for him. >> that's the next step. >> is he going to be my star. >> that's the next step. >> okay. -- yeah, i mean, i would-- i not to, you know, not to put words in his mouth but i don't think, i don't think this is the end of it. but like. >> no, no, no. >> thank you so much for being here, olivier and thank you, kristen. personal shopper opens in theaters friday march 109.
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