Inside Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian’s Sapphic Fever Dream on Steroids

Later, Stewart elaborates on the potency that sexual narratives carry: “We’re all in our heads, it’s all fantasy. That doesn’t mean it’s a lie, but we need to believe the stories we hear about ourselves in order to then reckon with a body, put it out in the world, and allow it to be touched in the way you’ve decided feels good.”

The thing is, sometimes the stories we tell to turn ourselves on leave us with pieces missing when morning comes. Jackie and Lou learn this the hard way. About halfway through the film, after a night of bitter fighting and transcendent sex, our lovers wake up to a brutal twist, sending them down a bloody path of retribution.

Contrasting countless timid movies about unrequited yearning, Love Lies Bleeding actually lets its dykes fuck around and find out, subverting what it even means to be a “lesbian” film. “To imply that ‘our’ experience can be in a genre of its own is dangerous. I don’t want to perpetuate that,” says Stewart. “We have so much unearthing to do — so much unabashed self-exploration and self-touch. We need to touch base, dude. It’s the only way to tell stories: from the inside.”

Amid the beauty and chaos of rippling muscles and exploding cars, Glass finds subtle ways to continue the sapphic coding. Notably, as O’Brian points out, Lou pulls up to a crime scene in a curiously specific get-up. “She puts on her murder outfit,” the actor giggles. “She’s got this red jumpsuit with short sleeves. It’s stylish, but a murder cleanup outfit? It’s hilarious.” (I guess if we can have farmers market chic, we can have the perfect little fit to dispose of a dead body.)

In truth, Jackie’s just getting started. Yet even as the film descends deeper into violence, it still traces the textures of codependence woven through relationships we can actually recognize. Yes, the stakes have been played up for dramatic effect. But who among us hasn’t chased the promise of love into the jaws of infatuation?

Back in Altadena, Kristen and I are talking about blood. Specifically, she’s describing the sensory inspiration for her upcoming adaptation of The Chronology of Water, Lidia Yuknavitch’s stunning exploration of grief, kink, and adolescent ambition.

“I love the book. I love how it’s written — I can smell it. I can feel it pulsing, I can feel it leaking, and that needs to be seen,” she tells me. “The first shot in the movie is just blood seeping out of the body.”