Love Lies Bleeding: Is the Kristen Stewart Movie Fictional or Real?

With Rose Glass occupying the director’s chair, ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ is a romantic thriller movie that revolves around an electric love story during the decade of 1980s. When a reclusive gym manager named Lou crosses paths with the ambitious and determined bodybuilder Jackie, sparks of romance fly for both of them. The latter is a temporary guest in town as she is heading towards a competition in Las Vegas in order to make her big dreams come true. However, romance is not the only thing that they get involved in as Lou’s criminal family plays a part in igniting an equal amount of violence in the lovers’ lives.

Led by the compelling performance of Kristen Stewart, the crime drama film also features other talented actors in supporting roles, including Katy O’Brian, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov, Dave Franco, and Ed Harris. The hidden criminal world and the intense love between Lou and Jackie are a couple of many things that are associated with the real world, making some of you ponder about the authenticity of the tale and whether the film takes any inspiration from reality or not.

Love Lies Bleeding is Not Based on a Real-Life Event

‘Love Lies Bleeding’ is not inspired by true events but is an original creation of the director Rose Glass, who also served as the co-writer, and Weronika Tofilska. It was during the post-production process of ‘Saint Maud’ when the two talented screenwriters began writing the script. The idea of making a movie about a female bodybuilder had always sounded intriguing and psychologically rich to Rose, who then began taking it seriously during the lockdown after ‘Saint Maud’ was released. Actively trying to make it different from her previous work, she worked with Weronika.

The filmmaker and co-writer admitted and elaborated on writing the screenplay with Kristen Stewart in mind, during a conversation with Screen Daily. She said, “It was less to do with characters I’d seen her play and more to do with the little I knew of her and how she comes across in real life. It just felt like fairly close to how this character was shaping up anyway.” At first, the film’s premise was meant to be set in Scotland but as the two creative storytellers weaved the intricacies of the tale, they realized that America would serve as the right setting. While the pair of writers didn’t have specific movies in mind for inspiration, Rose said that she recommended some erotic movies, such as David Cronenberg’s ‘Crash’ and Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Showgirls,’ to the cast for studying.

Instead of being consciously inspired, Rose and Weronika were focused on creating some interesting characters, crafting an interesting plot, and setting the right tone for the film. Rose further spoke on the subject when asked by The Hollywood Reporter. She said, “When I was doing Maud, me and Ben Fordesman, my DOP who shot this film as well, were giving each other long lists of films to watch. Because so much of the DNA and ingredients of (‘Love Lies Bleeding’) is so easily connectable to so many other films — ‘Wild at Heart,’ ‘Thelma and Louise,’ and ‘True Romance,’ anything with two lovers with guns and murder in extremity — I was wary about not wanting it to (revisit them). Instead, it was more about the feel of it than having lots of visual references. There’s something heightened and melodramatic about it, but texturally I knew it needed to be icky and sweaty.”

However, writing the script for ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ was quite isolated and stressful, as per Rose’s claims. When asked to elaborate on that further by a representative of The Hollywood Reporter, she said, “I had never written a feature-length script before, and I felt quite out of my depth. Probably a lot of first-time filmmakers are plagued by this awful fear, this question hanging over your head the whole time of whether you’re ever going to get to make the film. You feel a bit like you’re writing into a void.” That was when she decided to include Weronika Tofilska and collaborate with her. They already knew each other quite well.

“We locked ourselves in a room for many months, coming up with these characters. We thought let’s create Lou and Jackie, get them to fall in love, and then throw as many problems their way as possible,” she said. “We went into it in an open, unpretentious way, led by wherever the story felt the most exciting.” In the same interview, Rose revealed that she had “always been interested in the relationship that people have with their bodies, and the opportunity to say something external about what’s going on inside.”

She admitted that she hardly knew anything about bodybuilding when she began writing the screenplay. “I’d seen a photo of a ‘strong woman’ from the 40s or 50s, billed as a sideshow. As a professional sport, female bodybuilding didn’t come about until the ’60s or ’70s, so seeing a woman that muscular was always a freak show attraction,” she said. Taking into consideration all the above-mentioned factors, we can conclude that the two talented writers — Rose Glass and Weronika Tofilska — derived some inspiration from the reality around them to weave a fictional and gripping tale.

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