MoviesOnline recently had the pleasure of chatting with Kristen Stewart at the Los Angeles press day for her new movie, “Twilight,” an action-packed, modern-day love story between a teenage girl and a vampire.
Bella Swan (Stewart) has always been a little bit different, never caring about fitting in with the trendy girls at her Phoenix high school. When her mother re-marries and sends Bella to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, she doesn't expect much of anything to change.
Then she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a boy unlike any she's ever met. Edward is a vampire, but he doesn't have fangs and his family is unique in that they choose not to drink human blood. Intelligent and witty, Edward sees straight into Bella's soul.
Soon, they are swept up in a passionate, thrilling and unorthodox romance. To Edward, Bella is what he has waited 90 years for – a soul mate. But the closer they get, the more Edward must struggle to resist the primal pull of her scent, which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy. But what will Edward & Bella do when a clan of new vampires – James (Cam Gigandet), Laurent (Edi Gathegi) and Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) – come to town and threaten to disrupt their way of life?
Kirsten Stewart is a delight to talk to and we really appreciated her time. Here’s what she had to tell us about her exciting new movie:
MoviesOnline: Had you read the books?
Stewart: No. I hadn't. I was sent a synopsis. I had a read a synopsis because I was working on another project. I wasn't interested in looking at other things yet because I was really close to the end. I was like just give me two weeks to finish my movie and I swear I'll read all the scripts that exist in the world. This one was like forced on me. I read this thing that summed up the movie, and I was like, wow, that's not what I'm into doing. I don't want to be a part of something that's presenting this ideological idea of what love is to such young girls. I just didn't like that. It was very shallow and vain to me. So she's in love with this guy because he's the hottest thing she's ever seen. That's not what I'm into. Then I read the script. I had no choice. And I begged for the audition. I didn't know about the books. I go to used bookstores.
MoviesOnline: What did you see in the script that you didn't see in the synopsis?
Stewart: That Edward isn't perfect at all, which is always the perfect thing for a girl to have because we're like saviors, like maternal beings. Not that the synopsis meant anything; it was just to get the word out or whatever. What I got from it was a really, really unhealthy, difficult, impossible love that should be ignored if possible. But it can't be. I'm interested in unhealthy, neurotic people. That's what I found in both of the characters. The power balance is interesting because you have this one really perfect but he's the one who's really afraid and tortured and not confident. He really thinks he should protect this girl and just go away, and she's the surefooted, strong woman who at the same time is willing to subject herself and give up power which is the most powerful, strong thing you can do is to relinquish that, and I think it's an innately female quality is to say OK, I don't need this but you can have it, big man. So I just found it interesting.
MoviesOnline: Did you find vampires interesting?
Stewart: No. I haven't had a particular fascination with vampires.
MoviesOnline: Did you grow up watching vampire movies?
Stewart: No. I mean I grew up watching vampire movies but it never occurred to me that I wanted to.
MoviesOnline: Ever have that moment where you looked across the room and saw a guy that you went, whoa? Ever fallen in love?
Stewart: I've never gone out with someone-I'm 18 years old, whatever-but like, I've never been interested in anybody I ever thought was attractive when I first looked at them. It happens like a second later. If they're not looking at me, I'm like pshh. When somebody looks at you a certain way, it's like it's indescribable. I've never been the type of girl who has looked for this unattainable thing that isn't aware of you. I've been fixated on anything that wasn't like fixated on me. (Laughter.)
MoviesOnline: What pressure do you feel from the fans?
Stewart: It's important to me. I don't want to upset people. People are so passionate about the book. The responsibility I feel that overpowers that is something that I've got to put down because I'm done with the movie. I've done my job and all of the responsibility was self-inflicted; it had nothing to do with people who loved the book. I had tunnel vision in Portland when I was making this movie. I didn't even know. Then I come home and go to Comic-Con and it's like what? People care about this as much as I do. Why? I know why but it’s funny when you become this little figurehead. I don't take it personally because I know how they feel. I would put the same amount of pressure on a character I held in, you know, (unfinished sentence).
MoviesOnline: What's been your weirdest fan encounter?
Stewart: I don't get many... The screaming... The crowds of people screaming. I know Rob's been quoted infamously. I don't know if you know it but he said it’s something like the Gates of Hell. Yeah. But it makes you want to cry. It's like a natural instinct. That energy pushed at you like that is really overwhelming. It's loud and blinding. I've had girls move down autograph tables and look at me with the most severe amount of disdain. That is a little unnerving. [They say] just your name. Can you not write anything besides your name? I'm like, yeah, sure.
MoviesOnline: You're signed on for two more of these so the fan base is only going to get bigger. Are you prepared for cult-like status?
Stewart: Yeah. Because it doesn't touch you. It doesn't feel like anything. You can go online and cry about what's posted on IMDB or you can just not read or read it and get a kick out of it.
MoviesOnline: What do you do?
Stewart: When I go out for things like this and know that I've been exposed, then I go on and I'm like yo, is anything weird happening? Are people outraged about some stupid little thing I decided to say. I have to say genuinely it doesn't bother me.
MoviesOnline: You're suggesting the cult aspect of this is the most stressful aspect?
Stewart: No. Because like I said, it kind of hangs over you but it never touches you. Only when I go out to do things like this am I exposed to it. Only when I have to... like last night, I had to go to this mock red carpet thing where there were like 100 fans outside and a theater full of people and the Gates of Hell noise. That's very fleeting. It happens very rarely, and then I go back to work.
MoviesOnline: Is it a conscious effort to distance yourself?
Stewart: I understand the phenomenon. I'm moved by the story as much as they are. I've never been obsessed by a celebrity. I've never had. I think it's either in your or it isn't. It makes sense that this movie is attracting that, I guess. I really have to say I don't think anything about it; it just is. It's just there.
MoviesOnline: Can you talk about the rumors that you and Robert were so into the characters that that's all you talked about? Did you have fun?
Stewart: We had fun doing that. That's why we were there.
MoviesOnline: As an actor, that's should be what you want to do.
Stewart: It absolutely is.
MoviesOnline: How was it working with Catherine?
Stewart: She is incredibly smart in a way that is when somebody is incredibly simple. She expresses ideas in the simplest way. It's hard to explain this. What I'm about to say is going to sound negative. She's almost childlike in a way. Kids are skyrocket overpower when it comes to not overthinking things and taking it for what it is and understanding it, just on a fundamental level. I just feel it and so believe it. She is very wise. There’s something wise about her. There's something trusting of fundamental human emotion. I wanted to overcomplicate everything in this movie and take it apart and say you'd never say this and it's corny and it's crap, and I'm not going to say it. And she'd be like just give it a shot and she would put me in the right place. She doesn't lack in enthusiasm. She works 24/7 and never feels like she's leaving you alone. A lot of directors set you up and sit back and say, let's see what you've got. She never did that. She was always right there. She was like we're almost there.
MoviesOnline: Are you OK in working with that other style?
Stewart: Yeah. Absolutely.
MoviesOnline: Which is more comfortable?
Stewart: Neither. It depends on how they do it. It's hard to generalize how people deal with people. There are technical aspects of directing but acting is living. It's like saying all of you are no worse actors than I am if you could just get rid of inhibition and believed in something and wanted to portray it and wanted people to know it. You're not better at being human than I am. In the same way, it's hard to say how a director relates to you and communicates. It's hard to define.
MoviesOnline: You had a good experience?
Stewart: I did.
MoviesOnline: How was your experience with Barry Levinson?
Stewart: It was good. It was very quick. It was just about a week long but they were great. They made me feel like every character matters. They put a lot of stock in me. I was sort of expecting oh, they hired the kid in the movie, the girl, the daughter, and you come in and do your scene and leave. It wasn't like that. We had a rehearsal period and a chance to talk things through. It was very caring. It was gentle. And Robert DeNiro is entirely self-conscious and doesn't like meeting people. Especially when you meet Robert DeNiro you want to somehow in a non-weird cliché way get across, I'm sure you already know, but I don't want to say it now, this is a really big deal for me. I gave him this look like it's really, really good to meet you. And he was like, oh yeah (uninterested).
MoviesOnline: You used to play tomboy roles; this is more feminine. Is this turning your image around with this film?
Stewart: I'm getting older. You just have more complicated roles to play when you get older. That's why... I don't know.
MoviesOnline: It said in Entertainment Weekly you were dancing on a bar to prepare for your next stripper role.
Stewart: Yeah. I play a really broken little kid. 16. It doesn't matter how old she is though. She doesn't have her say. She's a liar. Everything she says she's making it up. But James Gandolfini comes in to pick up the pieces, and realizes that she has to do it herself. It shows she has the capacity to be a real person and not this shut down icebox that she's become. It's really, really good.
MoviesOnline: What's it called?
Stewart: "Welcome to the Rileys." Melissa Leo is in the movie as well and she's so good.
MoviesOnline: You're doing a movie with Nikki Reed that your mom is directing?
Stewart: Yeah. "K-11." "K-Eleven" takes place in a dorm of the LA County Jail. It's like where you go if you can't be put into general population. So it’s full of eccentric, crazy, off-the-wall characters, and me and Nikki play two of them. Jason Mewes wakes up in this place and doesn't know where he is and tries to break out for two weeks. He tries to integrate himself into the community. It's a really sweet but really screwed up little family in there.
MoviesOnline: A comedy/drama?
MoviesOnline: Did you vote since you're 18?
Stewart: Yes. I'm really fucking proud of it too!
”Twilight” opens in theaters on November 21st.