Blast from the past

Kristen Stewart Is Playing Jean Seberg…. Who Is Jean Seberg Anyway?


You’ve probably seen the photos. You’ve probably heard the news. Kristen Stewart is currently on the set of her upcoming movie, Against All Enemies in which she’s portraying Jean Seberg.

IMDB’s synopsis about this Benedict Andre’s directed biopic/thriller states that Against All Enemies will portray an ambitious young FBI agent is assigned to investigate iconic actress Jean Seberg when she becomes embroiled in the tumultuous civil rights movement in late 1960s Los Angeles.
Jack O’Connell is playing the FBI agent Jack Solomon while Anthony Mackie is African-American activist Hakim Abdullah Jamal. Yvan Attal on the other hand is playing jean’s ex husband Romain Gary.

All of this prompts the question… Who was Jean Seberg actually? Well her life and subsequent career are something out of a Hollywood movie. It’s unbelievable, sad and tragic and I’m glad that Hollywood is making a movie about this woman who was actually very much ahead of her time. She stood up for human rights of the oppressed minorities and paid the ultimate price.

Jean Seberg was born in USA, but lived the other half of her short life in Europe, where she worked as an actress. She appeared in 34 films in Hollywood and in Europe, including Saint Joan, Bonjour Tristesse, Breathless, Lilith, The Mouse That Roared, Moment to Moment, A Fine Madness, Paint Your Wagon, Airport, Macho Callahan, and Gang War in Naples.

Seberg made her film debut in 1957 in the title role of Saint Joan, from the George Bernard Shaw play, after being chosen from 18,000 hopefuls by director Otto Preminger in a $150,000 talent search. Her name was entered by a neighbor, and with that lucky move, she started her career in acting.

During the filming of Bonjour Tristesse Seberg met François Moreuil, the man who was to be her first husband, and she then based herself in France, achieving success as the free-love heroine of French New Wave films.

Most notably, she appeared in 1960 as Patricia in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (French title: À bout de souffle), in which she co-starred with Jean-Paul Belmondo. The film became an international success and critics praised Seberg’s performance, François Truffaut even hailing her “the best actress in Europe”
At the time of her death she was working on the French film La Légion saute sur Kolwezi.

She had scenes filmed in French Guiana and returned to Paris for additional work in September. After her death, the scenes were reshot with actress Mimsy Farmer. Her private life was tumultuous, scandalous for that that and her associations with the Black Party made her a target in the eyes of the FBI and the US government. They conducted a smear campaign that ultimately left her paranoid and psychotic, which contributed to her possible suicide, although it’s not entirely proven.

She was one of the best-known targets of the FBI COINTELPRO project. Her targeting was a well-documented retaliation for her support of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.

The FBI operation against Seberg used COINTELPRO program techniques to harass, intimidate, defame, and discredit Seberg. The FBI’s stated goal was an unspecified “neutralization” of Seberg with a subsidiary objective to “cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the public”, while taking the “usual precautions to avoid identification of the Bureau”. FBI strategy and modalities can be found in FBI inter-office memos.

In 1970, the FBI created the false story, from a San Francisco-based informant, that the child Seberg was carrying was not fathered by her husband Romain Gary but by Raymond Hewitt, a member of the Black Panther Party. The story was reported by gossip columnist Joyce Haber of the Los Angeles Times, and was also printed by Newsweek magazine. Seberg went into premature labor and, on August 23, 1970, gave birth to a 4 lb (1.8 kg) baby girl. The child died two days later. She held a funeral in her hometown with an open casket that allowed reporters to see the infant’s white skin, which disproved the rumors.

According to her friends interviewed after her death, she reportedly experienced years of aggressive in-person surveillance (constant stalking), as well as break-ins and other intimidation-oriented activity. These newspaper reports make clear that Seberg was well aware of the surveillance. FBI files show that she was wiretapped, and in 1980, the Los Angeles Times published logs of her Swiss wiretapped phone calls.

Tragic right?


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