What is it like to be back on set doing another Twilight film?
It’s a little bit surreal to be back doing a second one, just because it’s something that I thought about for an entire year and now it’s happening. But it’s sort of like I couldn’t wait any longer.
It’s hard. Usually you finish a movie and there’s a very long grieving process. You have to lose the character. You have to drop it from your mind or else it just continues to bug you. In this case, I couldn’t drop her completely and I worked in between, which is a strange sensation. It’s weird how easy it was to slip right back into it. I don’t know if it’s because I have such a reference, like the book, or because I knew that I just had to do it. I don’t know, but it feels good. It feels like I can finally release the pressure.
Isn’t that pressure kind of self-inflicted?
Yeah, I have that feeling on every movie that I do. It’s just that this one, I had to wait a year. Unless there’s something about the story or that character I’m playing that literally needs to be fulfilled — like, consummated — unless it’s actually lived through and physically manifested, it’s just a story and it’s not done. So until you actually bring it to life, you basically have the capability of murdering the character on the page. If you don’t do it justice, then nobody else is ever going to see those things and you’re never going to learn from those experiences because you didn’t do it right.
So yeah, the thought of having to live through something that I find so worthwhile, and then subsequently have people learn from that through your own experience, I would do anything. I would jump off a cliff for it. Oh! There’s cliff-jumping in our movie. Perfect! (Laughs)
What are the changes in this second installment? Your character Bella takes risks again…
Well, she loses what basically gives her the drive to do anything in her whole life. She loses the man she’s in love with, but she also loses her entire life plan, and she’s so young to have to be forced into a decision like that. It’s just a glorified, elaborate version of the worst breakup you’ve ever been through. All of a sudden you question everything. All of a sudden you know nothing and you’re dropped in the middle of a freezing cold ocean.
Oddly, we have a character that’s warm enough and bright enough to bring her out of that, and it’s truly gut-ripping. Because as perfect as Jacob is for her, she holds on to an ideal, the ultimate fiery love that she has for Edward even though it’s not comfortable, it’s not practical and it’s not a good idea. So it’s really a very strong thing to do. It takes someone who really trusts themselves.
So basically the movie starts out and everything’s great, and then it gets absolutely terrible, and then it gets maybe OK again, and then it’s” no, no, no, no – life is hard.” It’s going to get hard again because he comes back again.
Is she introverted or just seeking an ideal?
It’s not that she’s incredibly introverted. She’s just yet to have found a connection that is truthful. She’s a seeker of the truth. She’s not one to get wrapped up in something that is a fantasy. She doesn’t set herself up for disappointment. So that’s what makes the story with her and Edward so compelling, in that this is a girl that normally wouldn’t do something this crazy.
So what does Kristen prefer, the werewolf or the vampire?
Kristen shouldn’t open her mouth (Laughs). Kristen is entirely torn. Kristen should stop using her name in the third person.
You were virtually unknown when you shot Twilight. How has your life changed since its phenomenal success?
My life hasn’t changed. Most circumstances I find myself in are different than they were a year ago, but I myself haven’t changed…however a normal 18-year-old girl would change in a year. But it makes things so much easier. I would do it for free every day [even] if nobody saw it. I cannot describe how good it feels to actually have something that is truly into your heart and soul actually affecting people. And that’s amazing. So that’s the biggest change.
Has success changed you?
It didn’t change me, it changed things around me a little bit…I’m so used to doing movies that nobody wants to see. To put your heart and soul into something for years of your life and have it actually affect people is probably the most satisfying, and that is a completely ineffective word to describe how satisfying it is.
Do you feel a responsibility towards the author’s fans and the movie fans?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s a strange thing. You start something and you know that it’s going to take on a life of its own, but its already something so whole — there are so many people that you’re going to inevitably either make happy or not. Everyone’s understanding of the story and love for it is going to show, even though there are little issues that everyone’s going to have because everybody reads the book differently. So of course we have a massive responsibility. Because of them, we’re able to do what we like to do.
What was it like coming back to a different director?
As an actor, you don’t work with the same director on every film. And this, it’s a continuation. It’s the same story but it is a different movie. I love Catherine (Hardwicke). She’s a dear friend of mine, but Chris (Weitz) – it just works out.
Besides all the technical, logistical reasons, Chris is so devoted and because he’s a man, there’s a common question. How is it having a man director? Is it a huge difference? You can’t make generalizations about people like that. He’s one of the most compassionate human beings I’ve ever met. Unfalteringly compassionate. He cares way too much for the story, and you need that. So he’s perfect.
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