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New Kstew Interview

September 7, 2009

019

Young blood
She’s still only 19, but twilight star Kristen Stewart is already taking Hollywood by storm – on her terms
By Lauren Williams
KRISTEN STEWART

Inteview from Sunday Herald.

“It’s like when I got the Twilight job and I had a media training session,” she says when I ask about her dislike of interviews. “I had been acting for eight years, and I thought, F*** you!’ I was like, Do you think you are going to wrap up all my little insecurities and throw them out the window? I have been working for eight years. Do you think you are going to prep me to put soundbites in my mouth? Not going to happen ‘” She trails off as her passionate flurry subsides.

Many journalists find Stewart, 19, a difficult interviewee. In person she’s incredibly articulate and sharp, and while she is far from enamoured with the interview process, she is bright and considered and answers each question carefully.

It’s important to remember that she is still a teenager – albeit a very intelligent teenager who, quite possibly, stands as Hollywood’s leading emerging female talent.

The likes of High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens and Harry Potter’s Emma Watson might boast massive audience figures, but when it comes to marrying on-screen success with box office returns, Stewart is right at the top of the tree.

As the female lead in Twilight, the vampire saga drawn from the best-selling books of Stephenie Meyer, Stewart has already helped the franchise sink its fangs into $380 million at the box office, returning almost 10 times its production budget.

The second instalment in the series, New Moon, is already in the can and she started shooting the third movie in the series – Eclipse – last month.

Her talent is there for all to see, from her breakthrough movie, the 2002 thriller Panic Room, where she plays Jodie Foster’s surly 11-year-old daughter, through to 2004’s Speak, in which she stars as a 14-year-old girl who chooses not to speak after being raped.

But it’s Twilight that has made her an international star.

“I’m incredibly proud of Twilight,” she smiles, “and it is good that I can be part of something this big.”

The franchise is held together by Stewart’s character, Bella Swan, an intelligent and highly strung young woman who moves to be with her father in the Pacific Northwest, where she falls in love with a vampire. He’s called Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson) and he’s just about the most perfect creature on earth. After a painful bout of “will they/won’t they?” in the first film they find love but the second movie sees them torn apart.

Stewart says: “A lot more is introduced, and the second movie is a little more quaint in some ways. Edward leaves Bella, which is interesting, considering the first movie is based entirely on their devotion to each other, and you see them cope without each other. You also see this other character, Jacob, (Taylor Lautner) who is supposed to represent light and warmth. After Edward’s gone, he pulls Bella out of a rut. And it’s really tragic. There is actually a lot more to work with.”

She says she appreciates what Twilight has done for her career.

“I’m really happy to do these films, not least because most of the movies I have done don’t really see the light of day. They are small, independent movies. But the fans really care about the Twilight story.”

New Moon does not open until November, although Stewart will be back on the big screen this month.

She stars as Em in the bittersweet indie comedy Adventureland, written and shot by Greg Mottola, who directed The Daytrippers and Superbad. Despite a somewhat misguided marketing campaign and stunted box office performance in the US (with only $16m taken), Adventureland is a spry, imaginative and thoroughly engaging tale that flicks between light slapstick chuckles and darker, more poignant and soulful comedy.

The tale is drawn from Mottola’s own experiences working at a theme park during his youth, and it has a 1980s flavour that should appeal to anyone who grew up in that decade. It is also extremely well acted, with Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid And The Whale), Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal), Martin Starr (Knocked Up) and Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) all on sparkling form.

Stewart’s character in the film, as one might expect, teeters towards the dark side; she’s struggling with a troubled home-life and a complicated relationship with a much older man, played by Reynolds.

“My aspect of the story is reliant on the fact that Em is a different person depending on who she’s with,” says Stewart. “She gets from people what she needs and can reinvent herself, which people do naturally. It’s not like she is being fake, it’s just that she has different aspects that she can show different people.”

Mottola believes that Stewart is among the best actresses to emerge in Hollywood for some time. Her career began when she was just eight years old, with a small part in the Disney project Thirteenth Year (1999), and she followed that with bigger roles in the indie film The Safety Of Objects (2001) and then with Foster in Panic Room.

She also starred in Cold Creek Manor (2003) with Sharon Stone and Dennis Quaid; Fierce People (2005); Zathura (2005); and then The Messengers, In The Land Of Women (both 2006) and The Cake Eaters (2007), taking prominent roles in all three films.

She also appeared in Sean Penn’s 2007 directorial hit, Into The Wild, playing 16-year-old Tracy Tatro – a trailer-park waif who forms a romantic attachment to the prime protagonist Chris McCandless.

It is her memories of Foster and Penn which resonate most. Did they teach her anything?

“Actually, neither of them want to give you advice,” she says of her two most significant mentors. “They just make examples of themselves, that’s all. I have turned down big movies because there’s been a tiny little movie that will never come out and I have to do that one, because if it slips away I’ll hate myself. They taught me to only follow projects that inspire me. I only work with people who inspire me and have a conviction about things and have things to say. I have been so lucky with my directors, too, working under the guidance of Sean Penn and Catherine Hardwicke Twilight.”

With her family already well-versed in the ways of the film industry (her father, John Stewart, has worked as a stage manager and television producer while her mother, Jules Mann-Stewart, has worked as a script supervisor), Stewart was allowed to leave formal education in her home state of California when she was 14, continuing her education away from the hurly-burly of high school life. In regard to her personal life, she has shunned any speculation about an on-screen romance with Twilight co-star Pattinson, and has enjoyed a long-term relationship with Michael Angarano, her co-star from the movie Speak.

“I hate gossip,” she says. “I guess that’s a reason why I never really felt that comfortable at high school. I was pleased to leave. Now I’m over 18, people are like, Okay, do you feel like an adult now? You are not a kid any more, technically. Do you feel that now you have more privileges, do you feel differently?’ And I have to say that I feel as though nothing has changed. Nothing at all. I feel like I have been the same all through my life, really. I’ve always felt like an adult.

“And as to missing out on my childhood, well I have had a lot of responsibility. Lots. Just getting school done was tough. Working on movies? It has taken all my time away, I guess, but it’s filled the void with something so different and fruitful. That’s fine. In fact that’s very fine. I’m in a very happy position.”

For all her success, Stewart insists that she has not formulated a grand scheme – there was no indie-star-to-teen-queen battle plan.

“That’s true, I don’t have a grand plan,” she says. “I don’t scope things out. I don’t look at a project and how it relates to others. It’s not like, Oh, this is the next step and this is probably smart for me.’ Adventureland, for example, was something that I wanted to do because the characters were easy to invest in. They played like real people – you feel responsible for someone that you feel will die right on the page unless you bring them to life. Whenever you feel that, it is something worthwhile.”

Stewart is mature enough to realise that Twilight has opened many doors for her.

She says: “That film’s success has made it easier to do things that I really like, things like an independent movie that nobody would normally go and see. Now people are like, Oh, let’s go see Bella in this stripper movie; it’ll be crazy!'”

The stripper movie in question is the indie-tinged Welcome To The Rileys, a low-key drama that Stewart shot with James Gandolfini in the aftermath of the first Twilight film. It does not yet have a release date.

“I play a very broken young girl who is a runaway,” says Stewart. “She’s a street kid. She’s working in a strip club and James Gandolfini plays this older character who is just as sort of dead inside, and they wake each other up. It’s really good.”

After Welcome To The Rileys, she completed The Runaways, which finished filming at the end of July. It is drawn from an intriguing script written by Floria Sigismondi, who also directs, and it centres on the early life and times of the all-girl 1970s rock band The Runaways, with a particular focus on the founder members, guitarist Joan Jett (played by Stewart) and lead singer Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning).

The script is loosely based on Currie’s autobiography, although Jett has said it is “absolutely not a biopic”. She added: “It’s not fact-for-fact. What they did was basically take elements from The Runaways’ story and created a parallel narrative.”

That narrative was boosted by the presence of both women on set, and it should come as no surprise that Stewart formed a bond with the iconic rocker Jett.

“Joan is such a remarkable role model for any young girl,” says Stewart. “She is also an activist and she is a feminist. And the relationship that’s really interesting in the film is Cherie and Joan, the two frontwomen of the band. They got tattoos together in Japan and obviously they still have those tattoos. I loved that because it’s such a fun part of the movie.” She adds: “The real sting, though, is the big conflict. Cherie can’t really handle the success, nor does she want it necessarily in that respect, while Joan is a very steady, self-assured person and she knows that this can kick-start her whole career. So to watch it all fall apart and see her still standing, it makes for one really explosive scene. Amps are kicked through and guitars are smashed.”

 

Kristen is America’s latest teen screen idol. The star of passion-wracked vampire saga Twilight, she has the world at her feet. But as befits a young actress whose career is studded with misanthropic roles, Stewart can prove a prickly subject to interview.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Annabelle permalink
    September 7, 2009 6:12 pm

    Kristen is so awesome, she definately has a big career in front of her. I’m really looking forward to seeing the runaways, but I’m looking forward to seeing New Moon more! Lol

  2. Kel permalink
    September 9, 2009 8:40 am

    She’s awesome.

  3. September 9, 2009 9:24 am

    Umm.. Wait wait, is she or isn’t she still w/ Michael A? I’m a little confused…

    Btw, she’s AWESOM. So a sincere person..

  4. robstenwellwisher permalink*
    September 9, 2009 9:37 am

    Dear al,
    Kristen is not Michael’s girlfriend anymore. They broke up while Kristen was filming New Moon in Vancouver earlier this year. And Rumour has it that, MA is currently in a relationship with someone else.

  5. Jessica permalink
    September 10, 2009 6:57 am

    I think its funny how she totally ignores the robert question and smoothly turns it into a different subject

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