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I wonder how many people out there would love to be in my shoes today as I ring the bell of Kristen Stewart’s London flat. For all twenty-somethings, but not only, she is almost a legend. The Twilight saga that gave her global fame caused the overlapping of the character with the actress.
We know just about everything about her: she started acting at a very young age (“Both my parents worked in TV and cinema, they would take me to work with them, and I would see people of all ages acting, also children: I knew immediately I wanted to do that”), she is rather private, not too public, and is likely to choose a good book over a party. What we maybe still don’t know is that on set she loves to play jokes on the film crew (“There’s a lot of free time and I have to enjoy myself somehow!”), and that if she could be teleported like Captain Kirk from the Enterprise, she would travel back in time: “Around 1948, 1950, to listen to jazz, blues and the bebop of the beat generation.”
Her favorite fairytale? The Jungle Book. And on the subject of fairytales, Kristen is now in London to shoot Snow White and the Huntsman (based on the story of Snow White she is playing the role of). “Yes, but a very original Snow White, an armor-clad she-warrior,” she readily explains. Yet, I observe, judging from some of the set photographs depicting her on a beach in Wales as she is coming out of the water, she is wearing a long gown that would make any girl go crazy. “Oh yeah, that’s when I finally escape from the evil queen. I love that dress, it’s stunning! Wearing it helped me get into the part. The weight of the soaked fabric, for instance, made me realize the difficulties Snow White has to face to escape her fate. Also the hair is key for this role”, she explains waving her raven black braid.
“These are extensions. My hair is shorter, it’s more or less shoulder-length. This is not my natural color. Since I started acting I have never had by natural color, which is light brown. But it’s fine, it’s funny seeing yourself look different.” Back to the clothes, she adds: “I would like to wear very feminine clothes, but in my daily life, when I’m home in Los Angeles, I opt for comfy clothes. When I’m away, like in this case, I throw in my suitcase clothes of all kinds, also evening dresses, because I may have the chance to wear them.” I wonder how long does it take her to pack, so I ask her. “I am actually very well-organized. All I need to do is open my closet and just choose. But, you see, although I carry many different choices with me, I always end up wearing a tank top, jeans and sneakers,” she says, standing up to show the clothes she is wearing. However, in her case, giving her beauty, the clothes don’t make the man.
“I am naturally slim. It runs in the family, so I don’t have to do particular sports or follow diets. I do all the exercise I need on set. In this period to do Snow White I am never standing still: I run, I jump, I fence, I horse ride… I do all sorts of things,” says flaunting a small brace on her right arm “See, I have even hurt myself! Nothing serious, though.” It’s amazing how she oozes energy and enthusiasm from the eyes and her face skin, among the fairest I have ever seen. «It’s true, I am an enthusiast kind of person. If something comes up, I say to myself: “Come on, what are you waiting for, let’s do it!”, because I can’t wait to start. This attitude towards things enables to keep my energy levels always high. I like to jump into new projects.”
What’s coming next, then? “Right now, nothing definite. I will take this occasion to go back home, to my family, to enjoy some time off. This is at the moment my ideal vacation. I have been around the world for work, often without realizing where I was. I like traveling but now I need to recharge my batteries.”
Of course, in order to plunge into the next set again, where she gives her very best. “I am not one of those actresses who obsessively prepares for a role. On the set I do what I have to, but taking a day at a time. If I have to improvise I’ll do it, if I have to learn my lines I’ll do it. Moreover, some screenplays are so beautiful that you only have to repeat the lines as they are. So I live for the moment.” Twenty-one and she already knows how to live for the moment, here and now? “Why worry in advance? I have a great job and I want to fully taste it. I just love it, I will never stop saying it. Seen from outside it looks like a fairy tale, and maybe it is; but behind it there’s a lot of hard work and a few sacrifices. For instance, I love to sleep but in the morning I must rise very early to go on set. So I fight my laziness, I wake up and go to work happy. What is important is having clear in your mind that acting is a job like any other. A job that gives you the chance to reinvent yourself all the time, to experiment new emotions and express yourself but that for sure doesn’t make you a different or special person. Anyway I am aware I am lucky because what happens when you are acting is extraordinary. Sometimes you are so taken by your role and by the story, that you risk being totally absorbed. It went through that when shooting Speak (2004, based on the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, and directed by Walter Salles, Editor’s Note). I played the role of a withdrawn girl who decides to stop talking altogether. Her silence is a defense mechanism against everyone: her schoolmates, her teachers, her family, herself. In the end it was hard for me to get out of that comfortable silence I had created inside of me. With silence also peacefulness develops, and your thoughts become neater, it’s something extraordinary and unexplainable. Also in On the road (based on Jack Kerouac’s eponymous novel, to be released in 2012, Editor’s Note), where I play the role of Marylou, I had this interesting experience, the freedom of living “on the road” for real, both mentally and physically. This is what I mean when I talk about the magic of acting.”
If I were the Genie of the Lamp, would Kristen have anything to ask me? “Oh please, don’t mention wishes!,” she says laughing. “When I’m about to blow the candles on my birthday cake and everybody is telling me I must make a wish, I just go into a tailspin. I’m thinking: what do I wish?, and I just can’t seem to think about anything. Then I close my eyes, take a deep breath and there comes my wish. I don’t know how to explain what goes on inside of me, but that’s what happens: breathing is the key to understand what’s really important to me.”
No requests concerning your job? “I already have all I want. I receive plenty of proposals, often interesting. It’s true, I couldn’t ask for more… Not even a special role I would like to play or a director I would like to work with… I just let things happen.” The interview is over, I tell her.
As she opens the fridge and takes out a bottle of water we make some small talk. Then she walks me to the door, she pushes the elevator’s button, she gets in with me. But she stops at the next floor. As we say goodbye hoping to meet again soon, the doors close, Sliding doors -style. Like the ending in a movie.