The Twilight Saga: New Moon - Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart © Summit Entertainment

A year ago Twilight, the first film based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling Twilight book series, was released accruing $70 million on its opening weekend.

On November 20th, the second movie in the franchise, New Moon, premieres, and if pre-ticket sales are any indication it looks like the movie’s weekend take could easily surpass last year’s amount.

The film continues to chronicle Bella Swan’s (Kristen Stewart) romance with vampire, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). But in New Moon their relationship becomes more intense and dangerous, as an age-old rivalry between the Quileute Indian tribe and the vampires emerge through a personal conflict between Edward and Bella’s best friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a member of the tribe.

At the press junket for the movie, Kristen spoke about her involvement in the franchise and her character’s problems loving a vampire and a werewolf.

Because of his young age, there were rumors that Taylor Lautner might not return to franchise as Jacob, as the studio didn’t feel he could emerge as an adult in New Moon.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon - Kristen Stewart and Edi Gathegi
Kristen Stewart and Edi Gathegi © Summit Entertainment

I think that that controversy has probably been made bigger than it was. We needed to be sure that whoever played Jacob was going to be Jacob in New Moon. He’s such a different person. He becomes a man.  It’s not just a physical transformation.  He becomes an adult. I always knew that Taylor could do that.

We just needed to make sure because it was so important. So, once he actually proved himself, which wasn’t hard to do, even seeing him walk around on set was a different experience. He’s literally become a different person.  He’s just grown up.  He’s so confident and the nicest guy I’ve ever met.  And, I know I’m using this grammatically incorrect but he’s the funnest guy I’ve hung out with. He’s great.  I’m so proud of him.

How was doing the very emotional scene when Edward breaks up with Bella?

That was the scariest thing I’ve ever (done). I was almost more worried about messing it up than I was about what I actually should have been thinking about, which was the issues that Bella’s dealing with. Reading it, it’s such an iconic moment. There’s nothing like it in reality.

It’s not like a normal break up scene. I know what it’s like to get broken up with, but I don’t know what it’s like to get broken up with by a vampire who I’ve now been physically and chemically altered by.

Suddenly you take an addict and take whatever they’re addicted to away from them. There’s withdrawal. That was the most intimidating scene in the entire movie and I don’t know how to explain how I did it. [Director] Chris Weitz really helped me out. It was just about talking to him and reading the book.

The break up scene that I did with Rob, that’s not where it happens yet. That’s not what I was intimidated by. She doesn’t even believe it yet.  It’s when he goes.  It’s the absence of him that I was scared of. How am I by myself, in the woods with a hundred guys standing around filming me, going to die? Basically literally have the equivalent of a death scene but stay alive, get up and keep walking?  It was hard.

What were some of the other challenges?

This for me was the most emotionally conflicted (film). Bella is so sure all of the time. And this is the one movie where she actually is baffled and totally like ‘I don’t know’. It’s weird to play Bella like that because she’s so not like that. That was difficult.

It was really hard to go back and forth because you don’t shoot a movie in sequence, I had to do stuff with Jacob where I was alive and happy and out of this depression and then, after lunch, go back and scream in my bed for six hours. That was difficult.

Do you see Bella as a role model for young women?

The Twilight Saga: New Moon - Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner
Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) © Summit Entertainment

I think that Bella is such a good character for girls, not to look up to because it’s not looking up. She’s normal. I think the most typically relatable thing is that she’s awesome and she doesn’t know it and she’s very confident but also not arrogant. I think she also has a lot of really innately female qualities that for a character in literature I think it’s awesome that so many girls can look up to her because she’s fickle and unabashedly.

It’s like, ‘I’m allowed to make mistakes and I’m going to do it and I’m going to do it right now and I’m not going to be ashamed of it.’ Bella is very much like that. I think she is a good example for a young girl.

How attached have you become to Bella since starting this project?

I’m very protective of her. I feel a shared ownership. It’s weird. If you were to talk about the character in a way that was not at all thought out or flippant, I would be right there to say that you didn’t know what you were talking about. I’m so defensive of her.

Can you talk about any moments that stand out about making the next movie Eclipse?

Yeah, Eclipse just like New Moon starts and becomes a completely different movie. Just as soon as you think you’re going to get the same story, all of a sudden it completely changes. Bella is much more back to herself. She’s content now.

I think what I really love about Eclipse, what was interesting for me to explore, was different levels of love and acknowledging that the ideals that you maybe had a little while ago aren’t true.

What has this last year been like for you with all the non-stop publicity about your relationship with Robert?

The whole rumor/tabloid stuff, it’s so false and mean. Even before I became a part of it, and was sort of a star, it’s like a ridiculous show.

Like a soap opera?

Exactly, like a soap opera that seems real but you’re not quite sure. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t take it personally, so luckily, because I’ve had so much experience, it’s gotten easier to talk about the work.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.