Twilight has turned her from indie darling into a star, almost despite herself, but as the end of the series approaches Kristen Stewart seems to be more relaxed and comfortable with the response to the saga, and positively confident about the two-part finale. We talked to her recently to learn more about Bella’s wedding, the fans and what she’s working on next…
How do you feel about Breaking Dawn being a two-part film?
I really like it! It’s such a different speed; it’s very very close to the experience of reading the book. I think we were lucky enough to have so much time to spend on every bit of the book. I don’t feel that anything is left out, whereas I watched all the movies before and felt a little sad about certain parts that weren’t in and we don’t really feel that way this time, it’s cool.
Is it still weird to see yourself on the big screen?
Yeah, it always is the first time you watch it. You keep this list of, like, checks and balances and… it’s like you have to make sure everything is in. You also have the chance of working with people like Bill [Condon] who really love doing what they do and are willing to talk everything through. And if you feel something should be changed, if you feel something you did on set is missing he’s always willing to go on in and look at it.
Do you feel very self-conscious when you see yourself on screen?
I think I can be actually pretty objective only because the things that I like the most, not just in myself, are things that you don’t expect. But at the same time you put so much pressure on yourself and there are certain things that that you just know need to come across and when they don’t I’m ridiculously gutted and self-critical.
How did you prepare yourself for the wedding scene?
The dress was obviously a huge deal and there was much deliberation. We had hundreds of people weighing in! It’s funny what that feels like: even though it’s obviously a movie and it’s not real it means so much to people. To me and also the director and everyone involved and then also every fan – and you know there are a lot of them – so that was two days of shooting and it did feel very ceremonial and real in a weird way.
How much of this character will stay with you?
I feel like every character I’ve played is still very much inside of who I am and every experience you have shapes who you are. When something is so important to you, as it was in this piece, and also it took so long it makes up such a formative bit of my life. I feel every project I do I could probably go back and do the previous one better. But that is the whole point of just growing up.
How did they split the last film?
Well, they told us not to say! That is a fun part to not really know.
Did you goof up on set?
Oh yeah always! We have all done a fair amount of falling down; there is nothing funnier than that, unfortunately. I mean, you see someone fall down and even if they are badly hurt that first moment… I’m trying to think… This is embarrassing, and not in a good way: I have, like, Tourette’s syndrome. I get so mad sometimes if I can’t get something. I have a child in Breaking Dawn and I constantly swear, so there is a swear jar on set that just I ended up paying into. Every single time she’d go, “I know what you just said!” and I’d say, “No, you didn’t! You didn’t hear that!”
Did you find a maternal side to yourself doing this movie?
Yeah, it’s funny. Everyone thinks I’m so young and it must be so hard to conceive of being in that position, you know, it must be such a stretch. I think also that’s influenced by the fact that it’s a vampire that I’m pregnant with – a half-vampire, half-human – but it’s so not farfetched to play. It was amazing playing a mother and it was very much a part of that story. I wasn’t just playing a mom who has a different storyline; it was so much about that identity as a woman and that almost feral instinct. The whole series has been all about Edward and herself, and suddenly there’s nothing else in the world apart from this pregnancy and nobody really understands. A really important part of the story is told through Jacob’s perspective. It’s interesting what Stephenie [Meyer, the book’s author] did; you are not with Bella anymore because she’s not actually divulging anything; she not letting anyone in because no one agrees with her. It’s a self-preservation mode: she’s sort of sitting in a corner, hissing like a cat. Like, “Get away from me; I’m keeping this thing.”
Did you prepare differently for this one since there is a wedding and a pregnancy? Did you talk to young mums about that?
Well one of my best friends, she’s my age and she just had a baby. Then there’s also the fact that this pregnancy can’t be further from reality. I mean, emotionally and conceptually it is the same experience, but physically, in terms of preparation and questions you would ask a young mum about what it’s like, they don’t apply. Stephenie wrote an incredibly whole experience that was very easy to draw from, so I didn’t have any questions on a medical level.
Are you excited about Twilight being over? Do you expect to be less in the limelight?
Yeah, sure. I mean, I won’t be going back to Comic-Con with the same fans and you have such a different energy with these particular fans. There is an enthusiasm, there’s an excitement that except at Comic-Con you rarely get to see, sort of unadulterated, just in your face. They are really allowed to be themselves there and that’s a really rare experience that actors don’t typically get to have with people that connect to their work usually.
You have done quite a few smaller, more realistic movies. Is there a big difference between those realistic roles and these more fantastical stories?
Well I have had a lot of experience playing very contemporary, very, close to myself relatable parts, but I find that I have to have that feeling even if it is placed in a different context such as Snow White which is fantastical. I’m not, at least not yet, a character actor. But the last few parts that I have played, like I just played Marylou in in “On the Road”, were so completely different to who I am that it made me realise I can push myself a little more. I can probably do things that aren’t within my comfort zone. Not that I try to stay there! It’s just that when you are a particular person you connect to certain things.
Had you read On the Road?
Yeah, oddly it was my first favourite book; it was the thing that really got me into reading.
Have you done that sort of road trip?
I haven’t done a full one like that. Right before we started shooting, myself and a friend took a road trip to Ohio. So we didn’t go all the way, but it is pretty far and we came back in 3 days. It was stupid to try and cram it into the last little bit of time I had before I went to do the movie, but I felt like I had to know what it felt like to be stuck in a car for literally 15, 20 hours!
Do you get nervous on set these days?
I am nervous when I go onto set but that’s something that really fuels me. You channel it. If you’re not nervous then you’re doing something that probably bores you; if you are ever overly confident it’s not good. You should always be testing yourself.