When we spoke last October during the New York Film Festival, Kristen Stewart had not yet become the first American female actor to ever win a Cesar — France’s equivalent of the Oscar — for Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria.” But she was still ecstatic about it. In the film she plays Valentine, the harried but cucumber cool personal assistant of Maria Enders, a Juliette Binoche-like superstar played by Juliette Binoche. That allowed her to mock the film industry and the gossip machine from a safe remove. The two actresses paired together to talk about their rapport, and, in Binoche’s case, to whip out one hell of a laugh.

Juliette, your breakthrough, 1985’s “Rendez-vous,” was written by Assayas, and you reunited for his 2008 film “Summer Hours.” You instigated this project. What was your original concept?

Juliette Binoche: I wanted him to deal with the feminine. I didn’t know exactly what it would be, but I was imagining these characters exchanging roles. I talked about Bergman. I said, “C’mon, you love Bergman! You made a book of interviews [from 2008]!” And I was a little frustrated on “Summer Hours,” as an actress. I thought he was shy and hiding. I said, “I was missing you!”

Kristen Stewart: It’s like, “I want to know you!”

JB: “I want to know you,” yeah! And he said to me, “Give me two weeks and I’ll tell you whether I like it or not.” Then he called me and said, “I have the subject.” A year and a half later he gave me the script

It’s pretty honest about what goes on in the life of a middle-aged actress. What was your reaction to it?

JB: I was shocked! I didn’t expect it to be that way at all. I was provoking him [big, hearty laugh] and I got slapped back!

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