If the first installment of The Twilight Saga was a sensation, then the second is a phenomenon. At the center of the storm stands a young actress who has done a lot of growing up in public over the past year. As Bella Swan, Kristen Stewart also has a lot to deal with, between being romantically caught between a vampire and a werewolf, stalked by an angry female undead killer and potentially the fuel to start an all-out supernatural war, what is a girl to do?
Buzzine‘s Emmanuel Itier sat down with Kristen in Hollywood, CA to talk about what has changed for both her and her character since the beginning of the Twilight saga, the growth of Taylor Lautner as an actor and as a love interest and why there is absolutely no chance of her becoming a biker chick at any time in the foreseeable future...
Emmanuel Itier: A year ago, when we talked, you seemed to be a shy, sensitive young actor... How has this past year been for you in terms of this nonstop thing on New Moon and you and Robert Pattinson?
Kristen Stewart: I think I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with talking about myself and knowing that what you say, people are really going to take into consideration, and that always intimidated me so much that I minced every word that came out of my mouth. I couldn’t finish a sentence because I was so concerned about how it was going to sound. I didn’t want to come across as insincere about something that I really love to do.
So I realized that instead of refraining from saying I’ve put my heart and soul into this thing and I love it, that’s what I should have said instead of the really logical, over-analytical reason why I love it. I’ve gotten more comfortable with everything. And the whole rumor/tabloid stuff, it’s so obviously false to me. Even before I became sort of a star…it’s like a show. It’s like a ridiculous show.
EI: A soap opera with your name on it?
KS: Exactly - with false realism like a soap opera that seems real, but you’re not quite sure. It doesn’t bother me... I don’t take it personally. Luckily, because I’ve had so much experience, it’s gotten easier to talk about the work.
EI: So, what about the work on this one?
KS: I had a really good time on this movie. It was intense, just because of the nature of the story - it goes in a completely different direction. We undermine the first. We establish a very ideological of love and basically tell our main character - our main protagonist - that she was wrong, and it’s like, “Where’s our story? You’re going to be left if Edward’s not there." What I really love about New Moon is that you see this girl build herself back up, and by the time she makes this sort of rash decision to spend eternity with a vampire, she’s in a position where you actually believe her. You’re like; “Okay, you’re old enough, you’re mature enough to know. You’ve lived life.” She grows up.
EI: What has it been like working with Bryce Dallas Howard?
KS: Really good. Bryce is scary. She’s really oddly sweet as well, so it’s funny to see her switch back and forth. But Victoria for Bella is like an ever-present fear. Even when Victoria isn’t around, she’s scared that she’s coming back. Bryce is such a good actress, and it was easy to be scared of her!
EI: Can you talk about breaking in your new director? How did you work with Chris Weitz?
KS: Chris has everything. I think, to be a good director, you have to be a good person and you have to care about people. I don’t know a more compassionate human being. I couldn’t have done this unless I had such a believable environment - a comfortable and safe environment to be so vulnerable in. He provided that tenfold. I love him.
EI: Did he give you guys any guidance when he came in? How did that work?
KS: Chris did a very different thing that I’ve never had a director do. He put together like a syllabus, almost, of what we were supposed to achieve and how he was going to make it easier for everyone - sort of an introduction to how he likes to work. It didn’t only introduce the idea of collaboration; it was like inviting everyone onto this project and saying, “Please, everyone love it, and please, everyone be invested and work hard.” It was very encouraging.
EI: Taylor Lautner is emerging from this movie as a huge star. If you could wipe the slate clean and make a decision, do you really think she wouldn’t have gone with lovely Jacob?
KS: I know, trust me. I feel you completely.
EI: Can you talk about working with Taylor? Because he did an incredible job in the face of all the controversy going into the movie…
KS: I think that controversy has probably been made bigger than it was. We needed to be sure that whoever played Jacob was going to be Jacob in New Moon. He’s such a different person: He becomes a man. It’s not just a physical transformation, he really becomes an adult. I always knew that Taylor could do that, but we just needed to make sure because it was so important. So once he actually proved himself, which wasn’t hard to do… even seeing him walk around on set was like a different experience. He’s literally become a different person. He’s just grown up. He’s so confident and the nicest guy I’ve ever met.
EI: These films have come out so fast, one after the other. Can you talk about the intensity of that, and also if you think you’ll remember all of it in five years?
KS: There’s already a lot of stuff that I have to say, “Okay, Kristen, be here. Experience it. Make sure that this isn’t another fleeting situation that you’re going to barely remember.” You have to force yourself to be present, but I feel like the fact that I have the opportunity to pick and choose moments that I want to remember and I have to focus on remembering cool moments, that only tells you that I literally have an influx of them. I’ve had the coolest two years, and I’m so lucky.
EI: Did you actually get to ride the motorcycle, and if so, were you into it, and how do you feel about the bike?
KS: I’m definitely never going to be a biker. The idea of riding…I mean, I’m scared of cars, so the idea of riding a motorcycle is just never going to be something I’m into. I was towed ridiculously. I was on the back of this truck, and I probably looked funny doing it. Taylor rode motorcycles really well. There’s this one part that’s undeniably him - he rides up and skids. I left that to him. I wasn’t about to do that. I don’t even think they would let me, necessarily. They would have more faith in Taylor to do that...
EI: Would you ride on the back with a guy though?
KS: Yeah, I did that, and I didn’t like it. It’s so precarious. I don’t know if you’ve been on one, but it literally feels like you’re going to fly off of it. I’m not into that.
EI: What do you find is the most rewarding part of being involved in something so popular?
KS: I think my favorite thing about this is the fact that I can keep it personal. It’s still something that if the saga didn’t become a franchise and it was literally just a series of movies that I had done, they would mean just as much to me. That’s also the best part of it - the fact that it isn’t like that; the fact that so many people are affected by it and are invested in it just as much as me, if not more. Like I said about Chris, if you don’t like people and if you don’t want to make movies because you care about people, then you probably are just wanting to be just rich and famous. So the fact that this is so important to so many people makes me so happy.
EI: Having such an avid fan-base, where and how do you draw the line between what the public wants to know and is allowed to know about your private life?
KS: I don’t know. I don’t think anyone can get a handle [on that]. As soon as I stopped trying to control everything that came out of my mouth and every picture that came out, that’s when I became so much happier and it was so much easier to deal with. It wasn’t like it was a turning point. I’ve just grown into not having to care so much and to not try to think that I’m going to be able to plan out the way that everyone perceives me.
KS: That was the scariest thing. I was almost as worried about messing it up as I was about what I actually should have been thinking about, which was the issues that Bella is dealing with.
I know what’s it like to get broken up with, but I don’t know what it’s like to get broken up with by a vampire who I’ve now been physically and chemically altered by. Suddenly, you take an addict, you take whatever they’re addicted to away from them, and there’s withdrawal. So that was the most intimidating scene in the entire movie.
EI: Do you see Bella as a role model for young women?
KS: I think Bella is such a good character for girls to look up to, because it’s not looking up. I think the most typically relatable thing is that she’s awesome and she doesn’t know it, and she’s very confident but also not arrogant. It’s a weird thing to be. I think she also has a lot of really innately female qualities that, for a character in literature, I think it’s awesome that so many girls can look up to her because she’s fickle and unabashedly so. It’s like, “I’m allowed to make mistakes and I’m going to do it, and I’m going to do it right now and I’m not going to be ashamed of it.” Bella is very much like that. I think she is a good example for a young girl.
EI: How attached have you become to Bella since starting this project?
KS: I’m very protective of her. I feel a shared ownership. It’s weird: If you were to talk about the character in a way that was not at all thought-out or flippant, I would be right there to say you didn’t know what you were talking about. I’m so defensive of her. So yeah, I feel like I like her a lot.
EI: You’ve talked about living in the moment, enjoying it. Is there a memory from the set of New Moon that you’ll always take with you?
KS: The one moment that really [stands out] throughout the filming of New Moon: We wrapped in Italy. The last thing I did, I was running through a square through a bunch of people just around this corner... There were so many people around and there was so much energy. You could feel everyone was expecting that we were almost finished. Then I remember the second that we wrapped. It was the most memorable moment for me because I literally fell apart. I literally went [gasp]. I almost couldn’t handle it.
EI: So while, for the world, we are at the moment where we finally got to see the second part of the saga, you are already in the middle of the third... Can you give us a taste of that by talking about a moment that stands out about making the next movie?
KS: Eclipse is just like New Moon in that it sort of starts and becomes a completely new movie. As soon as you think you’re going to get the same story, it suddenly completely changes.
Bella is much more back to herself. She’s content now. She’s comfortable and self-assured in a way that she wasn’t in New Moon. I think what I really love about Eclipse, what was interesting for me to explore, was different levels of love and acknowledging that the ideals that you maybe had a little while ago aren’t true.
There’s literally a scene where Edward and Jacob, who are mortal enemies, are in a tent with a sleeping Bella in between them. It’s a ridiculous circumstance to find yourself in.
We had so much to work with. So it was cool. I’ve always gotten to do things for really short periods of time. To follow a character this long surprises me every time. I can’t wait to do the fourth one because I’m sure I’m going to come in and say that everything I said this time was wrong, that I actually know Bella more now...
Summit Entertainment's 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' is in theaters now.