The last BITE
Vampire’s bride Bella, aka Kristen Stewart, is starting her post- Twilight life as Snow White, write Stevie Wong and Neala Johnson
THAT famously sourpuss expression? It’s gone.
Today’s Kristen Stewart – 21 and soon to leave behind the Twilight franchise that changed her life – seems less inhibited, more open.
She has a glow, if you will, where previously there was a pout. So what’s going on?
‘‘ Honestly, it’s not that I’m more willing to share, it’s just I’m more able to.’’ Stewart says.
‘‘ I wasn’t really able to express myself. I’ve just gotten a little bit more comfortable. You learn by experience, that’s all. It’s a really simple answer.’’
Thankfully, this doesn’t mean the young actor ( pictured) is apologetic, any less rambling or less forthright when she does get to the point.
‘‘ I was scared,’’ she says of her previous demeanour with the media. ‘‘ I didn’t want to seem like so many people that I’d seen that just . . . bleh . . . I was too preoccupied with how I didn’t wanna seem, so I wasn’t always myself.’’ So who is Stewart nowadays, after bringing in $ 1.8 billion at the worldwide box office and on the eve of the release of the secondlast Twilight film, Breaking Dawn: Part 1?
After starting in acting before she even hit double figures, Stewart’s an unlikely veteran and an unconventional new Hollywood power player. Yet she still prefers to trade under the ‘‘ working actor’’ label.
‘‘ It’s how you approach it while you’re actually working, like what you think your job is,’’ she explains. ‘‘ I know everyone says, ‘ Well this is half the job, you can’t discredit this side of it, all the press stuff . . .’
‘‘ It’s like, no, absolutely not. But this . . .’’ she gestures into the air, indicating everything from promotional duties to the trappings of celebrity, ‘‘ Doesn’t. Matter. To. Me. At. All.
‘‘ Like, genuinely, I could do [ acting] myself in the dark . . . as long as I was working with the same people I’m working with now,’’ she laughs.
Stewart’s ‘‘ now’’ is Snow White and the Huntsman in which she plays a warrior Snow White to Aussie Chris Hemsworth’s hunky Huntsman.
When interviewed by eguide recently, she was sporting a bandage on her wrist – a torn ligament the result of some over- exuberance on set.
‘‘ I hurt myself doing a fight scene with some dwarves.’’
That’s not something you get to say every day.
‘‘ I know! It is a high- contact sport, this movie. It’s full- on every day. I bruised the top of my foot just running. This ligament pull was really bad. Every day I come back I have bruises from here to here. But it’s only because I go crazy, I lose my mind as soon as we start.’’
Indeed, the wall of slackness around Stewart has cracked under the weight of her emerging inner action heroine.
‘‘ It is fun,’’ she admits.
‘‘ In Breaking Dawn, the second one, I fight huuuuuuuuuuuge men, I mean, I’m incredibly strong. There is nothing more gratifying than putting your hand out and having a stunt guy fly off of it . . . Oh yeah, I’m super strong!’’
If her ‘‘ now’’ is Snow White, Stewart’s ‘‘ then’’ is almost the vampires and werewolves of the
Breaking Dawn: Part 1 opened this week. The second take will follow a year later. By then, the world will have already seen her as Snow White and she will have moved on even further. But her attachment to her
Twilight co- stars will remain – Robert Pattinson for obvious, on- off reasons; Taylor Lautner because she took her oncespindly co- star under her wing.
Stewart laughingly lays claim to being the making of actionhero- in- training Lautner, after the teenager had to fight to retain his role in the second
Twilight movie. ‘‘ I like taking credit for stuff so I was like, ‘ Yeah, my boy!’,’’ she hollers, punching the air.
‘‘ It’s funny because he’s got his answers down and everything but he gets nervous, he’s just really good at hiding it. Me and Taylor are really good friends. It feels funny to say I mentored him, I haven’t.’’
It’s apt she brings up that Lautner’s media savvy. The three
Twilight leads are a study in diversity: Lautner the ultimate pro, Stewart awkward and uncomfortable, and Englishman Pattinson somewhere in the middle.
‘‘ Actors have this really weird position – their jobs are wrapped up in their personal lives. Not just personal lives as in, ‘ Who are you dating?’ but my life is my job, I love it,’’ Stewart says.
‘‘ You can’t always be so candid. I definitely learnt from Rob, he really shines when he’s just funny. He’s so appealing in a general way. And Taylor, he’s very sincere yet he gives very standard answers – but he means them, so they work.
‘‘ I always mean what I say but sometimes it’s a little stumbly.’’
Yet, even through the sourpuss days, Stewart’s realness was a big part of her appeal. She’s a normal girl in a fantastical world.
Even the money that comes with success ( her salary for both
Breaking Dawn films is $ 25 million, plus a percentage of the gross) doesn’t seem to have changed Stewart’s relationship with her ‘‘ people’’; though she still remembers the moment she came to the realisation she could support her whole family and then some.
‘‘ You get tastes of that as an actor before you even reach this ridiculous level. I’m very lucky, my parents are very successful and happy and love what they do and continue to work and all of that. I have one biological brother, but I’ve taken people under the wing and I just can’t imagine if I couldn’t do that.
‘‘ So on that level, absolutely, it’s life- changing in a really weird way – when you’re 21 years old, it’s almost a little too much.
‘‘ You reach this level of success and it’s not just about the money, I mean, so many people look to you . . .
‘‘ Right now I just feel very young and wide- eyed but that’s – not to be totally lame – why I think Brad Pitt and Angie and all those kinds of people are phenomenal people, they’re not sitting on a mountain of money. It’s very cool.’’
Stewart clearly won’t be content with doing the expected. Instead of diving back into the relative obscurity of indie films along the lines of Adventureland and The Runaways for her first post- Twilight role, she went the other way – signing up for a blockbuster and potential trilogy in the shape of Snow White.
‘‘ I know, it’s weird. That was not what I would have expected from myself, but it goes along with what I’ve always said about how I choose things – I don’t choose things, they choose me,’’ she says.
‘‘ It really was by chance that it was a huge Universal movie with Thor [ Hemsworth].’’
Yet she’s taken to that hugeness like a fish to water or, in this case, like an armourplated princess to a horse.
This ‘‘ working actor’’ may soon be doing a whole lot more behind the scenes.
‘‘ It’s funny, I’ve always been such a ‘ working actor’, like you say, I do like to be an employee. Especially because I started so young, I’ve always just loved following directors; I’ve always really liked the responsibility that’s been given me.
‘‘ But now that I’ve gotten a little bit older . . . ‘‘ I’ve had little experiences on
Snow White that have been so amazingly, for lack of a better word, fulfilling. I have [ the director’s] ear, we’re really working together and I’ve never really been so creatively [ involved] . . . I can’t wait to have more say.’’
You reach this level of success and it’s not just about the money