Daily Telegraph/Sunday Magazine KRISTEN Stewart courted fame as Twilight’s leading lady, so why does the star still hide behind her broody alter ego?
Admitting you have a boyfriend shouldn’t really be headline news, but then Kristen Stewart is - albeit begrudgingly - used to her life being scrutinised. For more than a year, legions of Twilight fans across the world have suspected that Stewart and Robert Pattinson, who oozes brooding charm as vampire Edward Cullen in the films, were more than onscreen lovers. And now they have proof the romance they’ve seen blossom onscreen has spilled over into real life.
Not that Stewart actually says the words out loud. In a rare slip of the tongue, she recently revealed she was excited to be spending more time in Britain because “my boyfriend is English” - which is as close as the 21-year-old will get to discussing her relationship with her Twilight co-star.
Talking to [Kristen] today, it becomes obvious that while acting is her craft, protecting her private life has become her other full-time job.
Looking pretty and much softer than some photos portray, she’s dressed in skinny jeans and a T-shirt, and happy to talk about how it feels to be at the centre of the Twilight storm.
Often criticised for being unapproachable, or sometimes moody, when snapped by the paparazzi or on the red carpet, Stewart is sanguine about those moments, especially when she weighs them up against the amazing opportunities that have come her way as part of her speedy transition from anonymous to global phenomenon.
“Yes, I feel more comfortable at times now, but it really is about what mood you’re in,” she says. “If the mood strikes and if you’re feeling unselfconscious that day, you can have fun with it. The trouble with the red carpet is that it’s hard to fake it. So, if you’re having an introspective day or not thinking clearly, it comes across. Then people think that’s who you are all the time, but it’s not – that’s just five minutes of my life.”
She admits she’s had to learn to lighten up. “It’s easier now that I realise people don’t want me to be so serious all the time,” she says. “I used to care so much about certain questions. For instance, sometimes someone will say very frivolously, ‘What does the Twilight experience mean to you?’ And I say, ‘Do you want a quick answer or for me to tell you what I really think? Because that’s going to take a while.’”
This letting go has clearly made life easier for her. “You can only be concerned about what matters to you,” she says. “I approach all of this as a job. Acting is what I do, and I’m lucky to have such an awesome career, but it’s a slippery slope when you start to let things affect you personally. Keeping your head down is much better.”
As for Pattinson, all she’ll say is what’s hers is hers. “I’m selfish. I think, that’s mine, and I’d like whatever is mine to remain that way. It’s a funny game to play. I always tell myself I’m never going to give anything away, because there’s never any point or benefit for me.”
Her iconic character, Bella, is set to give herself away to Edward in Breaking Dawn, with a much-anticipated vampire wedding. There’s been some criticism over the years that Bella isn’t a positive role model for young girls, but Stewart loves playing the character.
“[Bella’s] caught up in something that feels much bigger than her, and she’s in a relationship that’s by no means unequal,” the Californian native explains. “Edward is so invested in their relationship, but he’s weaker-minded and doesn’t think they can overcome such adversity. But she has faith that it will work out, so I think she’s more courageous than Edward. I understand people think her weakness might be that she’s had to give up her life for him, but don’t you think that’s valiant?”
Another fan of Bella – and Stewart – is the film’s director, Bill Condon (Dreamgirls). He campaigned for the job because he was desperate to work with her, even admitting he has a soft spot for his leading lady.
When asked why he took on Breaking Dawn, he was clear: “Because it’s all told from Bella’s point of view.” He adds, “And my Kristen Stewart crush, you know? The idea that she was going to take this journey – it was exciting to collaborate with her on that.”
Starting out as a child actor, Stewart was plucked from hundreds of hopefuls to play Jodie Foster’s daughter in the 2002 thriller Panic Room. The pair has a lot in common, with Foster also having to navigate the choppy waters of show business as she transitioned from child star to fully-fledged actor…..
Stewart says meeting Foster during Panic Room was a defining moment in her life. “We got to know each other really well and it means something to me that it meant a lot to her. When you’re a kid and you have an important experience with someone, you have no idea if it was the same for them, or if you were just some kid.”
She’d like to take up Foster’s offer of advice one day. “We’ve never sat down and had a specific conversation about making that transition [from child to adult actor], but we’re both strongly influenced by caring for what we do. When we worked together, she said, ‘I’m never going to act in another movie; I’m going to direct,’ but she continues to act. Like me, she’s compelled to make movies. I’m lucky she was my first experience of what a moviestar is.”
…. Would she move to the stage to prove she’s more than a one-role woman?
“I’ve had little experience watching or reading plays,” she says. “I know nothing of what that world is like. I can’t imagine doing something again and again every night.”
She shifts in her seat as she warms up to the subject. “If I find out we have to shoot a scene again, I go bonkers,” she says. “I know I’m going to remember the moment I’ve already experienced and have to get back there. With theatre, you have to find a new moment every night. I think once something is lived, it’s lived. I’m relieved to have it out.”
So maybe theatre isn’t such a good idea? She pauses. “But being in front of an audience would feel really good. If you have a group of people or a good director watching you, you feel naked, and that’s OK. That sensation puts you on edge, so you feel instantly emotional.”
Pushing herself is one reason she took the role of Marylou in On the Road, set for release next year. It’s the first time Jack Kerouac’s iconic ’50s beat generation novel will be on the big screen, and a brave move for any actor, let alone one who’s so closely associated with a vampire franchise.
“Every experience shapes you and helps you build confidence,” Stewart says. “Recently, I’ve had a chance to play characters outside my comfort zone. Not that I’ve ever stuck with anything that feels comfortable, but sometimes you’re drawn to things you relate to. I’ve definitely tested myself.”
She credits her experience on Twilight with giving her the tools to take on the literary classic. “I’ve dealt with the pressures of having a fan base that eagerly awaits the product, but On the Road is a different level – people have waited five decades for it,” she says. “This character is so far away from who I am, I had to push myself. It made me realise I can do more character pieces, instead of just playing the ingénue.”
With all the craziness in her life, Stewart is grateful to have friends and family as her anchor; buying into the hype isn’t her style.
“It’s rare for me to do anything that betrays who I am. I feel rooted where I am,” she says. “I’d have a real problem with selling out and not being myself.”
And this one from the same reporter, Lisa Marks via kstewartfans
COVER STORY: KRISTEN STEWART’S TWILIGHT WORLD
Twilight is a phenomenon – nothing new there – but can you imagine living in the middle of a phenomenon?
After interviewing Kristen for the Sunday Telegraph’s Sunday Magazine I now have a teeny tiny inkling of what that life in the Twilight bubble must be like.
Unlike any other film junket, the Twilight: Breaking Dawn event was a security lock-down. I walked from the lift to check-in with a publicist, then escorted to the door of the suite where I’d be interviewing Kristen by another publicist and a burly ‘Secret Service’ agent, who looked straight out of central casting in a grey suit and buzz cut.
We then stood outside the suite for a few minutes like we were at the most uncomfortable cocktail party in the world. I wasn’t allowed inside the room which is odd because generally, if it’s free, you’re allowed to go in first and set-up.
While we waited for Stewart to arrive I tried to make the small talk with the security man, who was wearing an earpiece. I don’t know for sure but he may have been packing – I mean, it felt like he could have been concealing a weapon. I had to take a moment to remember where I was.
And look, I get it. I can only imagine how many, shall we say, over-zealous fans might be lurking so security is necessary, and the publicists were working so hard, and doing a brilliant job to make the junket run smoothly, but it was so intense.
Kristen then appeared at the end of the corridor flanked by a publicist and two more hulking men from the security detail, and one of them remained in the room while I did the interview. Yes, really.
It was intimidating, surreal and knowing me the way I do, utterly unneccessary.
At the centre of this was Kristen; slight, smiling (you wouldn’t believe how many people had said to me afterwards, ‘Did she smile?’) and projecting an intensity that translated into the kind of intelligence that only someone in her position could manifest. She worked with ex child-star Jodie Foster on The Panic Room a few years ago, and I imagine Foster also had that same ‘wise owl’ quality in her early twenties.
To be that famous so young, and revered by millions both young and old, must be something you either think very little about (as a way of surviving), or think about all the time (as a way of rationalising).
My interview time was brief. We talked fast, and it became apparent that Stewart sits at the eye of a storm. A big uncontrollable movie storm, and that her way of hanging on is to focus on her work, which she clearly loves.
She likes to cook, be home at with her family, and is learning to embrace the rehearsal process (she told me that she hates to do things twice).
The early word on Snow White and the Huntsman, with Charlize Theron, is good and On The Road looks fascinating. I think her choices will be considered and interesting.
And as for the craziness around her…well, I’m glad it’s not me. I literally ran from the hotel I found it so claustrophobic. Two Twihards were lingering in the lift. They must have been around 14 and asked me if I’d seen Rob, Kristen or Taylor.
I told them I couldn’t possibly comment before adding, ‘If you do make it as far as her room, do what the big guy standing outside says. He looks like he means business.’
Here’s what Kristen said when I asked her how she broke her thumb on the set of Breaking Dawn:
“It happened in a stunt sequence. It was really annoying timing. It was right at the beginning of the two week second unit stunt work, and on the second day in this little girl fight, I broke my thumb on this guy’s chest, and it took so long to mend. The first x-ray showed it wasn’t broken but then I had to get an MRI because it was huuuge and so painful. If wardrobe came up and slightly grazed my thumb I would be screaming. Everyone’s going, ‘It’s just a jam, you’ve got to work through it.’ and I’m working through it in Vancouver in the cold. So I get another MRI, and this time it showed it was broken and I was so vindicated. I’m not a wimp!”