At the end of a long day of interviews promoting Twilight, it might be exhaustion -- or high spirits -- that makes Kristen Stewart so blunt; asked if she's thought about walking away from the series just to mess with people's heads, she laughs: " Oh, God, yeah. I've totally had the thought; it would be so easy for me to send so many hundreds of girls into such a frenzy. It took a long time for me to admit that I was too bogged down by the first book, to admit to these girls that I wasn't as ... I'm just as obsessed as they are; I read it from an entirely different perspective and had to live it for three months. I can't start the next book unless I have the job to do, or I'm just gonna drive myself insane -- and even this, they don't get that. They're like "What? How could you not read the book ...?" Yeah, I have thought, many times. "What could I do?" It'd be so easy. ..."
Stewart spoke about coming to grips with a dedicated group of fans, getting into character, changing Bella's wardrobe, how she kept the natural in Twilight's supernatural story and much more in Los Angeles.
Cinematical: There's this great moment in Twilight where Bella's driving by the diner as her friends are walking out, and she's running for her life from vampires, and her friends are happy and she's sad ... Was it hard building a naturalistic character in this film, or was it a good place to retreat to, from all the special effects and supernatural stuff?
Kristen Stewart: It's funny; when we were doing the film, it didn't feel like a big effects movie. They were never around; we didn't have the money to pull it off; everything was in-camera. It always felt like a character-driven movie; it always felt like I may as well just be doing an indie, except there's like fifteen thousand more people sitting behind the monitor with opinions. In this case it was ... I feel like it's a very real world; the only little minor detail is that (Edward's) a vampire. And that could be very representative of any problem that a guy you're with may have, any sort of hang-up he may have; this is just a really sort of glorified extreme version of that. So, it was always so rooted in reality that no, that doesn't really apply.
Cinematical: I was talking with Ms. Hardwicke about the fact that Bella comes from a fractured family situation, and that she meets the Cullens -- who are aren't a traditional family, but are a very functional family, and if that's part of the appeal for (them) for Bella as a character. Could you feel that on-set, responding to the energy of the actors playing the Cullens?
KS: Yeah, absolutely; they are family ... I mean, not the actors playing the Cullens, but. ... When you meet (the Cullens) for the first time in the movie, you think 'Wait, so is he their dad? He's really young; so is she; how does that work?" I think ... you're not always born into your family, and that, for her, was sort of what she felt. ... Even though she really does love her mom and her dad, it's not the family she should have been born into.
Cinematical: When you stepped into those scenes, did those actors seem to have a connected vibe to them?
KS: Yeah! They absolutely seemed to portray people that have been together not just for however long a normal family would be together ... families don't always want to be together all the time; (the Cullens) have chosen to be together all the time; it's different when you choose that, and absolutely I think they portrayed that; It's something you see that's so admirable, and you want to be part of it.
Cinematical: I can easily imagine that this endless process of interviews is the worst part of making the film ...
Cinematical: ... What was the best part of making the film?
KS: Being done? At the beginning of a project, it's like, so daunting. A lot of people were very celebratory (at the beginning of filming) because they knew that this was gonna be, like, "Oooh, it's a big movie! We have a built-in fan base! You guys are doing great!" Yeah, but our job is so far from being done. I'm always incredibly stressed out in the middle of making a movie, and once I'm finished, it's like "Whew ... done." It's finished, and I don't have to stress out about it anymore; it's a done deal.
Cinematical: This is a silly, glossy question but. You have a green bowling shirt in the scene in the school lab; it's a great look. Did you get any input into that, or at the very least did you steal anything that you had in your wardrobe?
KS: (Laughs) I didn't take anything; I took very non-descript things, because I couldn't bring myself to wear any of Bella's outfits. But we really did want to make Bella -- as much as she is nothing special, she's very much a normal girl and really fits in with the rest of her schoolmates -- there's something unique about her, there's something kind of cool; she has a cool style. I mean, I had input on that, yeah; I decided to make that shirt green; it was red, and I was like "Maybe we shouldn't have a blood red shirt in the movie. ..."
Cinematical: There's almost no red in the film; it's got a really controlled color palate. ...
KS: That was (director) Catherine (Hardwicke); that was her.
Cinematical: What did you learn from working with Catherine? What did you see her do and go "Man, that's smart. ..." What did you pick up from how she works on the set?
KS: Catherine helped me to ... when you're expressing incredibly fundamental ideas that are so wrought and severe and intense, the best way to express them is the simplest way. Which is, sometimes, it sounds so corny; you're reading this script, and you're like "You would never say this? How could you. ..." (Catherine's) very child-like in this way that is wise; she doesn't have to over-complicate things, she's already done it, and she's able to get back to the basics and just understand things really for what they are, fundamentally. And so whenever I had moments of self-consciousness, she would push me through it and be like "You know what? This is just the way you have to do it." And I'd be like "But it's trite! And it's crap! And I refuse to say it!" (Laughs.) And she'd be like, "Okay, fine; say whatever you want, and as long as you're feeling what you should be feeling, the right things will come out. ..." And she would get me to a certain point, and the lines would be killer. They would kill me, they would gut me, and she really helped me with that. She expresses fundamental ideas; she's unabashedly human; she's really very accepting of people and individuals.
Cinematical: It's also very interesting in that it's a film where there's a female director and a female screenwriter adapting a female novelist's work; did that give the film a different feel than other projects you worked on?
KS: It's not like something that I noticed, it's not like I was "Wow, this is a real girl power movie." I feel like so many movies made by men about women have been oddly perceptive. ...
Cinematical: Panic Room, just for the most obvious example.
KS: Yeah, totally. So I don't think there's any way of generalizing about people like that; you don't know. I don't know what it would have been like having a man directing the movie.
Cinematical: When did the enormity of this sink in? Or has it yet? And I don't just mean the fan response to the book, or the potential success of it -- I mean, it's a film where you're in pretty much every scene, you're the narrator, you're the lynchpin character ... when did the enormity of that sink in?
KS: ComicCon. I've starred in movies before; I've carried movies. I don't know if (I've done it) very well, but I've had the responsibility of being the lead character in a movie -- even one that is in every scene; I did this movie called Speak, and I was in every frame of that movie. But I didn't realize when I signed on to do (Twilight) that it had the expansive fan base that it did. I knew we had an exclusive, highly devoted fan base, but I didn't put too much stock in (that); I kind of had to keep tunnel vision. My responsibility to the character, and the story, was much greater -- (it) really, really outweighed the responsibility that I felt to these people that had nothing to do with me and nothing to do with the project, and I sort of just thought that they were entirely judgmental and crazy ... but I understand; I care just as much about the book as they do, I'm just as passionate about the book as they are. With any other story that I loved, I would scrutinize them (the people filming it) just as much as (Twilight fans) did, so I completely understand it. But I ignored it until it was shoved in my face.
Cinematical: I asked Mr. Pattinson if he ever dreams of being an actor in the era before the internet, as it's hard to imagine Sarah Bernhardt or Laurence Olivier reading blog postings about themselves. Do you miss that kind of isolation?
KS: Yeah; those people were held in reverence -- and I'm not saying that's what actors of this day deserve --- but they were kept on -- not a higher pedestal -- but they were just on a different plane. They were unattainable, and they were only to be understood through the characters that they played. And I appreciate that so much more. You ruin so much, you take so much of the mystery away. Because actors aren't ... we're normal people. We've had, like, sort of crazy experiences that I guess people want to know about, but there's no reason to be asking them about their deep inner thoughts about life and love and what it is to live forever and stuff like that. It's like, "Watch the movie and think for yourself, how about that?"
Cinematical: Nobody ever asks a plumber what it's like to be part of a system of water, flowing to the sea. ...
KS: (laughs) Exactly!
Cinematical: Do you ever think about freaking people out and saying "I want no part of any future (Twilight) movies?
KS: Oh, God, yeah. I've totally had the thought; it would be so easy for me to send so many hundreds of girls into such a frenzy. It took a long time for me to admit that I was too bogged down by the first book, to admit to these girls that I wasn't as ... I'm just as obsessed as they are; I read it from an entirely different perspective and had to live it for three months. I can't start the next book unless I have the job to do, or I'm just gonna drive myself insane -- and even this, they don't get that. They're like "What? How could you not read the book ...?" Yeah, I have thought, many times. "What could I do?" It'd be so easy. ... I did this movie called Welcome to the Rileys right after Twilight; I play this street kid, a runaway, a really broken, damaged little kid; she's a prostitute, stripper, working girl ... and I can't wait to read those blogs; I can't wait. But a lot of those girls, I think, might be excited about it; It's a really good story. Not all of them are these sweet innocent little things ... in fact, the opposite.
Cinematical: So, you're hoping to make the success of Twilight a gateway for them into different films just through the venue of them following you?
KS: Actually, yeah. Absolutely; again, it's hard to generalize about such a massive group of people, but they should be exposed to more than just the world of Twilight, and if it's through me, great; go for it.