Stewart, Kristen (Twilight)
Kristen Stewart is intense. Wading through a weekend of interviews as the lead of the film Twilight, it's clear she's bracing herself. She's fully present and ready to discuss anything, not like some rom-com girl just trying to look pretty. With the first movie based on Stephenie Meyer's vampire books hitting theaters, Stewart is ready to set up Bella Swan for the whole epic.
Dread Central: How's it going?
Kristen Stewart: It's going and going.
Dread Central: Had you read the books before you got cast?
Kristen Stewart: No. I frequent used book stores. I didn't.
Dread Central: Did you have any idea what you were getting involved in or was it all brand new?
Kristen Stewart: It was all brand new to me until like halfway through shooting. I didn't realize that people cared about it as much as I did, and that people would have something to say about how I did this. So no.
Dread Central: What was your first moment when you realized people had an opinion about your casting, or how you portrayed Bella?
Kristen Stewart: It was mentioned in the beginning of filming. I mean, Rob had gone online and seen that people were outraged at his casting, and mine too. So we were like, "Wow, why?" It was a really slow progression because I didn't believe everybody. I mean, I was like yeah, okay, don't celebrate until you've really got something to celebrate about. I hate it when people are like, "We've got this big movie!" And then they all stop working and you end up with this really lame attempt at what you had when you started. So I was never into that. I mean, the first time I saw it in person and was actually like okay, yeah, this is a big deal, was at Comic Con. It was crazy.
Dread Central: Do you approach it as a metaphor for other issues or just play the vampire love story?
Kristen Stewart: It sort of represents everything that you go through when you are at that age when everything is like entirely heightened for some reason. I mean, what he wants to do is rip her apart and eat her. She feels like he's just looking at her like this devil, and that could be some girl projecting on somebody. Because it's a firsthand narrative, how you experience the story, it's very detail oriented in terms of what she's thinking at every second, it can really be mistaken for all a fantasy and she's just reading into things. Also with Rob's character and the fact that he's not this perfect man, this perfect vampire, confident ideological idea of this dude, the vampire thing could be anything hanging over him. The fact that he's a vampire is really difficult and really impossible but it could be something else, so yeah, I think it is representative of that.
Dread Central: Do you still worry about fan reaction?
Kristen Stewart: I really have to say I feel very proud of the movie and I couldn't have worked harder so I would be pretty gutted if everybody hated the movie, especially those who really cared about it before started. But there's really nothing more I can do. What I do is a very personal thing and I've never had to experience this critique. My thing doesn't usually affect so many people. So no, actually, I have to say boldly that I really don't care.
Dread Central: Have you had any interesting fan encounters yet?
Kristen Stewart: No, not really. I know some girl knocked on Kellan's door one day. He's been talking about that. I don't know. I've had sort of strange [ones]. We've done a couple autograph signings at book stores and stuff like that. When you get to see 150 of them all walking by at the same time, and you get to see them individually one by one, I love it when they come by looking at me with like disdain, like they just want to… or at least get across like, 'There's nothing special. I know oh, you're sitting behind your little autograph table like you're something special but your not. All I'm here for is his autograph." I'm like yeah, I know, it's perfectly fine. I get it. Just go. Other than that, I've really not had any.
Dread Central: Music is so important to the film, especially the prom when you're dancing.
Kristen Stewart: I chose that song.
Dread Central: If you could program the DJ, what five songs would you personally pick to slow dance to?
Kristen Stewart: Well, I picked the Iron and Wine song because it just made me cry. I played it in a rehearsal and that scene, I'm fine in the scene but we rehearsed it and I couldn't get through it. Rob was like, "What's wrong with you?" I was like, "No, I just, we can't listen to this song anymore." So I don't know, maybe like, probably not the Astral Weeks version of Beside You by Van Morrison but the one that was on like the New York Recordings, like 1960-something. Cul de Sac by Van Morrison. I can't think of five.
Dread Central: Three's fine.
Kristen Stewart: I know, I'm already pretty proud of myself.
Dread Central: Chemistry is so important, what was it like working with Robert Pattinson and what's your off screen dynamic?
Kristen Stewart: If Rob didn't get the part and if they didn't think I was right about who we should cast, I couldn't have done the movie. I probably would have done it if he never came in and just sort of made it work with someone else, but he was the only guy who came in feeling like [the right one]. I mean, he looked terrified and he looked like you could feel pain from him. He wasn't just concerned about standing in a statuesque way posing. He had the right things going on in his head and at the same time, he was very responsive. Like he didn't have a set thing he was doing. Depending on what I did, he changed his performance. I hate it when people are so structured that they've got what they're doing down. But we looked and we could see each other. It was a responsiveness thing and I didn't have that with anybody else and I was just thinking like God, everybody's lying to me. Why are you all lying? Just go ahead and have the balls to do it for real. I'm not saying like live the story, but be there while you're there. He was the only one that did that. He's really a hard worker. I like that. I don't like lazy actors. Me and Robert are cool, good friends. I'm not saying that we're really close. We've both been really busy after the movie but you go through something like that with someone, like spend three months with this common goal and just can't think of anything else for so long that we're pretty good friends. He can take credit for my little obsession with Van Morrison too.
Dread Central: Have you followed any feminist criticism of the series and Bella?
Kristen Stewart: No.
Dread Central: They say she's a Mary Sue weak character.
Kristen Stewart: I'd love to talk to them. Really.
Dread Central: What's your take on why she's not weak?
Kristen Stewart: When I read little brief descriptions of the movie, I was like, "That's not what I want to do. I don’t want to be a part of that." I was not only working on something else and not wanting to have my focus stray, I was just focused, it was like I don't want to be part of this very set, unrealistic, ideological idea of love and push it on every little girl because they're never going to get that. The vampire in her story is entirely damaged. Bella wears the pants in the relationship. She is the surefooted confident one. She is naïve to the world of vampires and everything like that but she's not doing it for him. I mean, it takes a lot of power and a lot of strength to subject yourself to somebody completely and to give up the power and it has to start there. You'd be scrambling for it if you needed it, but the fact that she is that, the fact that she is so trusting of herself really has nothing to do with Edward and giving herself to him and just being this sort of weak damsel in distress. It's very courageous what she's doing. She's believing whatever is inside of her. It's strong enough to drive her to do anything. It's a very personal thing she's going through. It has nothing really to do with Edward.
Dread Central: You wouldn't agree it's an emotionally abusive relationship and he's controlling her?
Kristen Stewart: It's totally self-inflicted. Girls are like that. Girls take a lot of crap. They subject themselves to abuse. It's like they need it. It's totally self-inflicted.
Dread Central: What is that, that when he says, "You shouldn't be with me" it intrigues her more?
Kristen Stewart: Yeah, I don't know. Like you're the only one who sees through that, I understand, I'll help you. That's an innate thing. Things become clichés because they started out as truths. There's truth in all of that. Why would everybody mention it and notice it if it didn't actually exist and be rooted in something that's real.
Dread Central: Did you draw on any personal experiences to get into the story?
Kristen Stewart: No. I don't know, I didn't really need any.
Dread Central: Do you try to filter what you say to people so they don't get offended?
Kristen Stewart: Yeah, exactly. You don't want to be rash for no reason. I'm sure today I've made many, many offhand comments that are going to outrage the fans, but it is definitely a consideration. I have people listening to my every interview to make sure that I don't undermine the success of their movie. So yeah, it's fun. It's kind of annoying because there's never a point where you can just go back and say, "Hey, no, I didn't mean that. This is actually what I meant." Once you say something it's concrete. It all goes away. Concrete really corrodes fast.
Dread Central: A lot of people will only know Bella as you. Are you looking forward to the sequels and do you expect a major embrace of you? People already have shrines and tattoos.
Kristen Stewart: Maybe not of me but they will have them of Rob. Seriously.
Dread Central: They want to be you.
Kristen Stewart: Exactly, that's the problem. I am the vessel. So you don't really have reverence for the vessel. They're there and you use them.
Dread Central: Have girls who identify with Bella transferred that onto you? Do you feel a responsibility as a role model?
Kristen Stewart: Role model is such a funny thing. I've never had any real role models. I mean, there's been people that I idolized but yeah, I guess people now are looking for you to screw up, like make a mistake but people are people. A role model is like a little doll. I don't think people are going to look to me and see what they should do with their lives and like oh, Kristen Stewart does crack, I want to do crack.
Dread Central: That'll never get taken out of context.
Kristen Stewart: I know. No, I do crack. I smoke crack. Obviously, did you see me at Comic Con? So no.
Dread Central: So are you looking forward to the sequels?
Kristen Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. I felt an immense responsibility for the character and I've never had an experience of playing something for so long. This was one of the longest productions I ever had so now tack on two more. It'd be interesting to follow her, absolutely.
Dread Central: What will the non-Twilight readers get out of it?
Kristen Stewart: Probably the same things that the Twilight book fans get. They don't get to see something that has been in their dreams come to life but it's the same story. We didn't stray from the book. For some reason, and I don’t really know why, and I don't know if the movie does it but what I got from the book is it's a really dire, wrenching story because it's not an easy love. It's really quite impossible. It's self-reflective, to deal with the thought of living forever. Maybe just about how girls feel about themselves, it's powerful. It's just a powerful movie and besides all the moral aspects, all the things you could take from it and be like oh, I've learned from this movie, it's just quite engaging I think.
Dread Central: Would you want to be immortal?
Kristen Stewart: No. I can't deal with it. I would go mad. I can't deal with the time that I have now.
Big thanks to Fred and Ahmad for making this happen. Twilight opens in theatres this Friday.
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