Elizabeth Banks Says Kristen Stewart Is Charlie's Angels' Secret Weapon: Fans 'Will Be Delighted'
"We're reintroducing Charlie's Angels to new fans, and reminding [original] Angels fans what they loved about it," Banks tells PEOPLE about the new trailer for the upcoming film
When Elizabeth Banks set out to make a Charlie’s Angels movie for the modern era, she wanted a lead actress with a unique blend of talent, notoriety and individuality who could help carry the iconic property in a new direction.
Banks, who directed, produced and wrote the film’s screenplay, in addition to playing an important supporting character, says she found all of that in star Kristen Stewart.
“She’s a world-famous beauty, a style icon, but I think what she’s most known for is living authentically. Just being herself all the time,” says Banks. “I felt that I could surprise audiences with a Kristen performance. And I think that people will be delighted by just how much fun she’s having in this movie.”
The Pitch Perfect 2 director also praises Stewart’s willingness to experiment, try new things and to lead by example.
“She came to set super game, so excited,” she says. “[Kristen] is a great leader, took the responsibility of being number one on the call sheet seriously, took the other ladies under her wings, showed the way. She did all the training, worked super hard and was a total pro and leader the entire time. I couldn’t ask for better partner to make the movie with than Kristen.”
This new Charlie’s Angels revolves around three highly-intelligent and highly-skilled women (played by Stewart, Aladdin‘s Naomi Scott, and British newcomer Ella Balinska) who fight and solve crimes for an international security and investigative agency backed by the mysterious Charles Townsend.
“When the show came out in the seventies, Charlie’s Angels was an instant hit because of it’s blend of beauties with brains, kicking butt, in a job that few women had ever done before, which was detective work,” Banks explains of the mass appeal of the original ’70s TV show. “We’re taking that tradition and updating it for today. Putting women to work together to solve crimes, take down international baddies, and it has a lot of themes that I think represent some people’s anxieties about the moment we’re living in right now.”
Banks has high praise for all three of her leading ladies.
“I’m a huge fan of all three women I cast,” she says. “Naomi Scott, I’d worked with in Power Rangers. She plays Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin and I think you saw in that movie what I love about her, which is that she has a big, huge, open heart. She’s very relatable. And Ella Balinska is, I think she’s a unicorn,” the Brightburn star admits with a laugh. “Ella is someone who just has incredible physicality. She’s six feet tall in her bare feet and exudes elegance, charm, grace. Everything you want out of someone.”
Banks is also excited about the uniqueness of the film, an action movie starring three women, that doesn’t involve super heroics.
“I wanted to celebrate the everyday woman who is out there fighting for herself,” she says. “We kept it really grounded. The women do a lot of their own stunts. And they fight, not just with their bodies, but with their wits and their resilience and their grit. And that is something that these women are showing off in spades in this film.”
Not to mention some very beautiful-but-functional clothing and cool-but-practical gadgets.
“Everything came from a real sense of practicality. They wear clothes that help them in action set pieces,” says Banks. “It was important to me when designing gadgets that they felt like things that everyday women would actually use, so the lipstick taser that’s in the purse. But we also give props to a good set of fingernails and some brass knuckles. What are every day objects that these women can just pick up and turn into something dangerous.
“It’s spyware, but make it fashion,” she adds with a smile.
Charlie’s Angels hits theaters November 15.