Shutting down an acid-tongued critic with wit and charisma is one of life’s most satisfying pleasures; Doing it while clad in a fabulous wig, however, is a next-level spectacle, as Kristen Stewart proves in EW’s exclusive sneak peek at her new movie J.T. LeRoy.
The clip from Justin Kelly’s reality-based drama sees Stewart playing the titular character — a sexually ambiguous, manufactured persona conjured by real-life author Laura Albert (Laura Dern) who fooled the literary industry into thinking his personal “memoirs” were based on real-life experiences for nearly six years.
After fielding inquiries about his work during a press conference, J.T. and his long, blonde wig confront an inquisitive journalist who raises issues about the writer’s identity — particularly calling him out for his feminine voice.
“Fiction is sort of a lie, but can be more true than the truth,” says Stewart’s Savannah Knoop (the woman behind the ruse) before the attendee raises the issue. “It’s not really my responsibility to help lead you through your own discomfort on how I make you feel. I can be whomever I want to be. And, as for sounding like a woman, I’d say: ‘Thank you!’”
The film, which premiered to positive reviews at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, also stars Diane Kruger as an actress-filmmaker seemingly inspired by Asia Argento, who befriended J.T. in real life before going on to direct the 2004 movie The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things from a script based on one of his memoirs.
J.T. LeRoy hits VOD and digital HD this Frida — the same day it releases to a limited number of theaters around the country. Watch the exclusive clip above.