"If You Let Fame Bother You, Then Sure it's Going to Mess with Your Head"
By Jan Janssen / The Interview Feed
Kristen Stewart's career skyrocketed after the Twilight saga became one of the most success movie franchises ever. She talks about growing up on movie sets, leaving Twilight behind and the downside of success.
|"The most interesting things happen after making mistakes."|
In the interview that follows, the 22-year-old Stewart holds forth on how she is weathering life in the Hollywood fishbowl. In conversation, the pixie-ish actress with the alabaster complexion still has a chronic tendency to recalibrate her every thought although today she seems far more comfortable in her own skin than ever before. She made this cryptic but revealing remark about how she has managed to rekindle her love story with Robert Pattinson: "You have to be OK with your own fears. If you're an honest person you'll make mistakes, but it'll be OK. The most interesting things happen after making mistakes."
Q: Kristen, now that Bella is in the past, how do you reflect on that character and the kind of transformation that she goes through in the course of the Twilight films?
Kristen Stewart (KS): It's very rare that you get to play a character over the course of so many films. Bella meant a lot to me and she will always be such a formative event in my career. I grew up with her and she and I have been on this great journey together. When she becomes a vampire, she is really becoming the most fully developed and expressed version of her human self. It was a transition that she was determined and even desperate to make. I also see many parallels between her evolution and my own because I lived through so many things along the way while playing Bella and having this connection to so many people involved in making the films over the years. It would be impossible for me to separate my world from Bella's.
Q: What do you think has touched people so deeply about Bella?
KS: People identify with Bella's journey and how she finally arrives at that stage of her life where she's not completely sure of what she's doing but she has this instinctive understanding of where she needs to go in life. Younger people understand how difficult it is sometimes for you to express yourself or understand what you're going through when it seems like everything is happening so fast or things seem very confusing. So it must be very satisfying for people to see Bella make this incredible transition in her life and understand why she's there and how it all makes sense in the end.
Q: Have you ever felt your own identity somehow being overwhelmed by the incredible popularity of the Twilight films and how your life has become part of popular culture?
KS: It's changed my life completely on some levels, but on another level I haven't changed in terms of my ambitions. Acting has always been my life and I've understood how the business works and so nothing has really shocked me. I never expected, no one did, that Twilight would become so successful and attract so much attention. But having grown up in the business I knew that there was this whole other side to it and how you have to protect yourself and define yourself apart from this image of yourself that's out there,
Q: Was it odd in some way to be playing a mother in the final Twilight film?
KS: I always looked forward to that part of the story and I had some time to think about what kind of intensity Bella would bring to becoming and then being a mother. It felt natural and I think motherhood brings out these instincts in you that are part of who you are and how you will be very protective of your child.
Q: Does it make you more anxious to become a mother yourself?
KS: (Laughs) My standard answer to that is that I can't wait – but I can wait.
Q: You seem to be very driven as an actress. Have you always been that way?
KS: It's been such a huge part of my life and who I am that it's hard for me to remember a time when I didn't want to act and throw myself into different characters. Acting is second nature to me and it's this strange compulsion that I have to want to be part of films and tell stories through the characters I get to play. It's just this beautiful and intensely personal experience for me. I can't see myself doing anything else with my life.
Q: When you were going to school, was it hard for you to focus on your studies while youwere enjoying this other life, while your acting career was getting started?
KS: I did well in school for a time but then I was starting to be made to feel like this weird kid and outsider and then I just asked my mom if I could be home-schooled. I was always hanging out on film sets while my father was a TV producer and my mom was also working on sets and I was thinking about what job I could do to be part of the process. Acting was just the first job that came along for me, in some ways, it was accidental although once I got into it I felt very natural. I remember also when my parents would come home from working on a set and when I was five or six years old I would hug them and their clothes would smell of the dust from a set. I also liked going on sets because the adults would treat me like an adult and not like a kid. So that was also a memory that always stuck with me and I loved that feeling of being in a different world from the kind you know as a kid going to school.
Q: Did you ever plan on going to college?
KS: I had originally planned to go to college but then things kind of took over and I just thought I might as well continue with acting because I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. Acting was my classroom in many ways and I always believed and I still do that acting is not just about pretending to be someone else, it's also about discovering yourself and reaching deeper inside yourself.
Q: How did you first react to people recognizing you in the street?
KS: It was weird. Until Twilight I wasn't even thinking about the celebrity side of the business and it all came very suddenly. It also felt strange when people were coming up to me just because they had seen my photo on the cover of a magazine and didn't even know which movies I had been in. So that was when I first realized that there was this disconnect. But I feel I'm better able to handle things now. Earlier on I would just stay in my hotel room rather than deal with everything. If you think about fame as something that in itself doesn't mean anything to you personally, then it's just this strange outer reality. If you don't pay attention to it, it really doesn't affect you. But if you let it bother you, then sure it's going to play with your head. You just have to get on with your life and enjoy things, like getting to travel and wearing beautiful clothes that you get to wear for events and film premieres.
Q: We've seen you wearing more and more fantastic outfits in the last few years. Are you becoming more attuned to the fashion world?
KS: I love the creativity that designers bring to their work. I've had the chance to meet incrediblytalented people like Nicolas Ghesquiere where clothes are an art form just as valid as anyother. I've been to ateliers where the energy and inspiration that comes with designing and creating clothes is the same that you find on a film set. I'm drawn to that and when I meet designers it's the same feeling that you get when you meet directors or writers who have this intensity and invest so much of that in their work. Actors also have that intensity and that's why our work often consumes our lives. It's hard to resist the impulse to just let yourself go completely and do anything that will help you tell that particular story that the film is trying to present to people.
Q: How caught up do you get?
KS: (Laughs) I push myself as hard as I can. Sometimes that can be painful and stressful but inthe end it's worth the price… I like to play characters that I can draw from in my own life. I’ve invested so much of my life into my work that I almost don’t have any choice. It’s interesting how you can blur the line between acting and living and learn from your performances. I’m just trying to keep learning as much as I can and not get caught up in all the distractions that can play havoc with your mind. HBM