Rob Pattinson & Kristen Stewart :: Twilight Time for ’Twilight’
When Kristen Stewart had an affair with Rupert Sanders, her director of "Snow White and the Huntsman," tweens hearts broke worldwide at the prospect of the actress leaving her long-time boyfriend and "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson. And many in the film industry wondered what their break-up would mean for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," the long-awaited conclusion to the series, directed by Bill Condon, in theaters this week.
In other words, if they had broken up, would the couple promote the movie together?
As it turned out, they reconciled. Still, when they gave interviews, they did so separately. Nor did the subject of their real life relationship come up.
Pattinson came first, and his first question went back to how he approached the project when he was first cast as Edward Cullen, the lean, sexy teen vampire at the center of the best-selling series of novels by Stephenie Meyer.
"Start drinking vodka instead of beer and try to get a six-pack as early as possible and you’ll be a much more successful actor," he joked as to his preparation.
Now, at its end, has he been able to process the project that turned him into a star?
"It’s still kind of fun to deal with the huge highs and lows of the entire experience. We still get surprised every time we have any ’Twilight’-related event or anything. I still remember, I think it was the third movie and we went to Munich, the entire Olympic Stadium was filled with fans. It was supposed to be a Q&A, but me, Kristen and Taylor [Lautner] just stood in the middle of the Olympic Stadium with 30,000 people just screaming for 15 minutes. We just to walked in there and did nothing, I mean literally. It was absolutely bizarre. There’s no way you can ever compute it."
In her press conference, Stewart fielded a similar question about how far she’s come during the five years of "Twilight." In the first film, she played Bella as a high school girl in an intense relationship with a vampire. In the last, she plays a vampire mother who’s survived a love triangle involving a werewolf. It was quite a journey - how did she pull it off?
"By questioning yourself constantly along the way. I don’t think you should ever stop doing that. You should question everything. Push harder. But I think it gets a little easier. Maybe it’s just by chance that we (Pattinson and Lautner) happen to be the same age. It’s a tough one because she lives so many years in such a tiny little period of time, but, I think I’ve grown up a little bit."
Becoming a celebrity
While their "Twilight" roles have made Pattinson, Stewart and Lautner international superstars, Pattinson doesn’t confuse celebrity with his acting career ("I’m still just trying to come to terms with acknowledging being an actor, at all.") And he acknowledges he can still be star-struck, as he was when he had a role in one of the "Harry Potter" movies.
"I remember looking at Dan [Radcliffe], Rupert [Grint] and Emma [Watson] and being like, ’Those guys are actors.’ But I was star-struck by these guys when I met them. With Dan, Rupert and Emma -- I was with them for 11 months and I still see them as massively famous people.
"But it’s funny to see people get humanized," he continued, relating that process with "Twilight." It’s strange to have gone through the same experience with Taylor and Kristen, and to see people retain their sanity, as much as possible."
It would be understandable for any of the three to have let their celebrity go to their heads.
"It’s kind of amazing to see that people manage to maintain," he said. "I’ve seen a lot of other people have minor amounts of fame and just lose their minds completely, like after a casting announcement, let alone having done a movie."
Has the end of the series registered for Pattinson?
"Knowing that I only have a month of ’Twilight’ stuff left to do, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more completely bewildered," he said with a small grin. "I’ve said since the second one that it’s going to take 10 years to really settle in my brain, and I’m four years into it."
As of now, he’s baffled by the’Twilight’-movie phenomenon, which has (thus far) grossed over $2 billion in worldwide receipts.
"I don’t think there is any analysis. I don’t think anyone knows why people like it. I don’t think even the fans know why they connect with it the way they do. It’s a visceral thing. I don’t even know if Stephenie [Meyer] could tell you why she was so fixated on this very, very contained story and obsessive characters. It’s just a kind of anomaly."
Stewart at least has an aesthetic sense of closure. "I’m so happy that the story is told, you have no idea," she said. "Usually, you’ve got five weeks or five months to look at a schedule and go, ’That day is coming up. Now that day is coming up.’ We had five years. The fact that this thing is out and it’s not weighing on us anymore. It’s a feeling and I will definitely miss that, but again I feel like it’s not going anywhere. Any time something’s brought up or you see someone... I mean, it is sad. It is strange, but it’s normal. Things shouldn’t stay stagnant. You’ve got to move on."
The well-rounded vampire
Things did not stay stagnant for Bella. Not only did she choose her boyfriend, but she became a vampire at the end of "Breaking Dawn - Part 1."
"I was really lucky to have played human Bella for so long," she said. "The best aspects of every vampire -- all of their gifts, everything that makes them really special -- is just an enhanced version of what they were when they were human. So I really did get to play an incredibly well-rounded version of a vampire just because I actually got to take those steps for real. I think that if you were to take the fact that she becomes a vampire completely away, it is just a more realized version of who she’s been the entire time. I think it’s why it really touches so many people too. It really does represent that stage of life where you’re full, pumping, bubbling over with something maybe you can’t put your finger on."
Throughout the films, Stewart has had to stick up for Bella in the press. Some critics have suggested that she is a poor role model for girls, because she makes self-destructive choices, and seems to invite an abusive male figure into her life. Stewart can now say the final film shows how powerful Bella was all along.
"She’s a girl who has enough faith in herself not to ignore those feelings and find out why they’re there," Stewart continued. "People kind of think she’s nuts the entire time. They say: ’Bella’s always losing it. She’s making very odd decisions.’ But her decisions are fully informed by feeling. Now (at the end), it all makes sense. She can stand up and go, ’I told you! It was worth it! We held on for a reason.’ It’s really satisfying. It’s a lot of fun. It’s also like breaking her in like a car. How fast does it go?"
The maternal instinct
Perhaps too fast in some scenes. Performing her stunts as vampire Bella, Stewart was injured. "I broke my thumb maybe like the first or second day of our really intense, action-type stuff, so that was really frustrating," she said. "What can I say? I’d ended up on the sidelines for so long, just itching (to do my stunts), going like, ’God, I think I could do that pretty well. I think I could do that pretty well. I was bursting to do it, which I think is probably why I broke my thumb in the first place. I was a little overzealous."
Bella also gave birth to her daughter, Renesmee, at the end of "Breaking Dawn - Part 1." Motherhood was something she connected with strongly in the final installment.
"I think that maternal instinct might be something that you’re born with or not born with," Stewart said. "Some people have a really, really strong desire to be a mom. It was one of my favorite things about the story from day one. There was never enough about that in the script for me.
"Luckily, Stephenie has really been heavily involved in this last one. She was on set every single day and (Bella’s motherhood) was something that we were really together about. And it was one aspect of her that I was really most excited to play. Vampires have slightly more animalistic natures. What better way to show that? I have a great relationship with my mom and she can be a bit feral when it comes to being a mom. I think that’s kind of just what it is."
Working with kids
At the mention of maternal instinct, gossipers’ ears perked up. Stewart was quick to settle any speculation that she was ready to enter motherhood in real life.
"Dude, I can’t wait to be a mom, but I can wait."
Pattinson also welcomed baby actor Mackenzie Foy, who plays his child Renesmee. "I actually quite like working with kids and stuff," Pattinson said.
"I like working with kids, I like working with animals, which is what everybody says you shouldn’t do. It makes you feel like you’re not acting, as soon as you have someone who’s just providing stuff to react to. Especially working with a baby and everything is great. I would say put a baby in every scene. You can put a dog in a scene and everyone’s going to be better, I guarantee it. It was fun. They got some good baby actors."
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" opens Friday.
Watch the trailer to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2: