Q: What drives you to succeed?
Kristen: Success is always something completely different to people. I feel like I’ve succeeded, if I’m doing something that makes me happy and I’m not lying to anybody. I’m not doing that now, so I feel really good about myself. I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I really, specifically, love acting, and I think it’s a really cool thing to be really indulgent and follow that. I have a lot of ambitions in life, but for the next few years, I just want to be an actor. That’s a lucky opportunity, and that drives me to want to be good at that.
Q: You’re in the middle of this journey with Bella Swan. Do you worry that it’s taking over your persona? The Runaways was a great film, but it wasn’t a hit, like the Twilight movies. How do you feel about your life and career versus Bella?
Kristen: This is a really unique situation. I get to play Bella for a really long time, and that’s also a serious indulgence and something that’s really lucky because I feel really sad when I lose a character at the end of a short shoot, which is typically six weeks on a small movie. That’s what I’m used to. It’s obviously the one role that’s put me in this epic position, but it’s just another movie. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a studio movie or you’re doing an independent movie. When you get to set and you’re doing a scene, it’s always going to be the same job. I really don’t think about my career, in terms of planning it out and what this does for me. This was a part that I just really wanted to play and, luckily, I got to do it for a really long time
Q: In this film, Bella has to make a decision. Did you feel like that was a big challenge?
Kristen: Yeah. There’s definitely the conflict, in that she’s pushed to the point where the decision needs to be made in this one. What’s cool is that things change and, as certain as she is sometimes, and as absolutely gung-ho, young, courageous and brave as she is, she’s also willing to take a step back and go, “Okay, I’m going to reconsider my options and reconsider how I’m treating everybody.” She acknowledges that she’s being a little bit selfish. She makes the choice. I feel like the choice has been made. As soon she sees Edward in the first film, it’s done, but it’s hard for her to get to point where everyone is going to accept that, and this is the film that it happens in.
Q: Was there one scene that was really challenging for you? How difficult was the action?
Kristen: The action is absolutely everybody else’s responsibility. I just stand behind the people who are stronger than me. I didn’t get to run around as much as I did in the second movie, so the action wasn’t difficult. One of the most challenging scenes would probably be kissing Jacob for real, finally for the first time, and seeing that there was a different road to go down that was desirable as well. She’s got such tunnel vision that Edward is the only thing for her. That’s a strange perspective. Then, I have to go in and talk to Edward about it, and it’s such a different dynamic than we’ve ever had. It was a different Bella. I had never had to play somebody who would’ve done stuff like that, so that was hard, and I was nervous as hell.
Q: Because of the kiss?
Kristen: Just because of that moment and how different that kiss is to all of the rest of them, in that movie. It is the most unique moment. It’s also a mistake, and I always say that Bella makes a lot of mistakes and she’s willing to own them. I think it’s cool to see her a little bit ashamed and, at the same time, scared.
Q: Some suggest that the success of these movies has to do with forbidden love, in loving a vampire, mixed with traditional family values. What do you think?
Kristen: I think that, if you took out all the mythical aspects of the story, that it would still stand as a really strong and interesting thing to be a part of. I think the whole vampire and werewolf thing are really good plot devices. All of the aspects of the vampire and werewolf are fully encompassed by the humans, by Jacob and Edward. If all of that was gone, they would still be the same people. I don’t think it’s a big phenomenon because of the mythical vampire aspect. It definitely takes a good story and it raises the stakes and makes it a little bit more interesting, but I think it’s just about how whole the characters are and how easy it is to have faith in them and be addicted to them. They let you down a lot and then pick themselves back up. I don’t think it has anything to do with the vampire thing. I think that just makes it a little cooler.
Q: Can you talk about working with David Slade? Was there anything you had to adjust in your style of acting to compliment his filmmaking, especially with all the close-ups he did?
Kristen: No. We’ve worked with the same D.P. for New Moon and Eclipse and I always ask him, “Hey, how close are you?” That’s something that David does intentionally. He doesn’t tell you stuff like that, which I completely understand because most actors are crazy and neurotic and don’t want to know the camera is up their nose. I didn’t do anything differently, though. You have to change a little bit, every time that you work with a new director, but it’s cool working with someone different on each one of these. I had to introduce my character to David. He met Bella through me. It was cool to let a new person into the fold. It was fun.
Q: Now that you’ve done three of these films, are there things that you wish had made into the movie from the book that didn’t?
Kristen: Yeah, totally. There are a million things. Every single time we watch one of the movies, especially when the cast watches it together, it’s always an incredibly frustrating experience. That’s why I’m glad that Breaking Dawn is going to be two movies, which I can finally say. There’s going to be less of having to lose stuff. I know you want specific things, but I can’t think of one now.
Q: Is there a scene in Breaking Dawn that you hope makes the movie?
Kristen: There are a million and we haven’t even shot it yet. I can’t wait to get married and have a kid. It’s all of that. It’s going to be crazy.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite character traits that Bella has?
Kristen: I really don’t have one that’s my least favorite because, as much as she can be all the things that annoy me about her, there are the things that I like about her. She always comes around and realizes that she can be a little selfish. She’s definitely not naggy, but she tries so hard not to be sometimes. Sometimes I think, “Why don’t you just let yourself be?” I think she picks at herself too much, but I can relate to that. I always say my favorite thing about her is that she screws up a lot and doesn’t care, and is like, “This is the way that life is. I’m young and I’m going on with it.”
Q: In the film, Bella has an awkward conversation about the birds and bees with her father. Was that something that you had to deal with, in real life?
Kristen: No. I knew everything, from word go. I was really mature, that way. No. I probably had that moment. I guess that everybody does. I never had “the talk.” I could never have “the talk.” I didn’t need it.
Q: Bella doesn’t believe in marriage. Do you?
Kristen: Yeah, sure. Whatever you want to do. I’m not ready to get married, but I have a pretty great family and I’d like that too, someday.
Q: In the tent scene, you have two gorgeous guys talking passionately about you. What was going through your head during that. Were you trying not to laugh?
Kristen: It was so hot in that sleeping bag, and the takes were so long. That scene is eternal and I have nothing really to do in it, especially when we shot it. We got close-ups on the two guys and then we did mine, which were completely separate. They ran the lines a little bit, but I was playing half-way between being asleep and hearing bits. I couldn’t get my head around hearing that conversation because she’s really not supposed to. David was like, “Let it slip in. Hear a little bit and then fall back asleep.” That was difficult. I just remember it being hot. And, in terms of being between those two guys, I’m always between those two guys. I think it’s really funny that Taylor always has to take his shirt off.
Q: What designer would love to see design Bella’s wedding dress? If you could dream it up, what would it look like?
Kristen: Well, Stephenie [Meyer] is absolutely in charge of that. I’m sure she has really specific ideas. I haven’t really thought about it. But, I feel like Bella would definitely want something really classic and really simple, but beautiful. I have no idea, in terms of designers.
Q: Would it be white?
Kristen: Yeah, or creamy, but definitely classic. She doesn’t want to get married and, because it means so much to Edward and because he has such different sensibilities and values, she’s going to give him everything. I think it’s going to be a really beautiful and monumental wedding because he wants that. Usually, it’s the opposite. Usually, the girl wants it. It’s cute.
Q: Are you the type that rushes headlong into something that you want or are you more deliberate about your choices?
Kristen: I guess it depends on what I’m making a choice about. For work stuff, I do what I feel and I don’t really worry about what it’s going to do afterwards. But, I’m kind of a control freak. I get really freaked out if I don’t know what’s going on and what’s going to happen. I guess I’m a bit of both.
Q: Are either Edward or Jacob really good choices in men? Since they’re both a little obsessive and possessive, are they actually good fantasy choices that young girls should dream about?
Kristen: I don’t know. People always wonder if we should be giving little girls ideas of meeting the perfect man. It’s not something that’s been shoved into their heads. Everyone has that ideal and, especially, little girls have this idea in their head that there is something that could be perfect for them and that they can be better than all the rest of the girls because they’ll have the perfect guy who will never screw them over. Our movie isn’t perfect. None of our characters are perfect, at all. They’re all so completely crazy and messed up, and that’s why they go well together. They don’t make excuses for their weirdness and they accept each other for who they are. On paper, I’m sure that if you were a friend of Bella’s, you’d be telling her, “You better check your boy because he ain’t treating you well.” And, Jacob is a nutcase. If you’re really in love with someone, then it doesn’t matter because that’s such an overpowering feeling and you’re willing to make sacrifices. That’s our whole story.
Q: Have you ever been torn between two guys, like Bella is?
Kristen: It’s hard to actually take details from your personal life and apply them a scene because, as much as you can identify with a feeling, you just get muddled. As soon as you start bringing your own stuff in, it’s like, “No, that’s not right.” You’re playing a different person. You can relate, but you have to leave that stuff at the door. It was hard, for the same reason that it was hard to kiss Jacob, because it was so against everything that she’s always been. To shoot the tent scene felt good because she’s always wanted Jacob and Edward to level with each other, and it’s funny that it takes place while she’s sleeping between them. It was fun for me to shoot. I didn’t have a lot to do, but it was fun because I liked the scene so much. I liked what finally happened in the season, but I wish it wasn’t as hot. I was literally in a beanie, and I was just sweating.
Q: Why would you recommend that someone go see Eclipse?
Kristen: If you’re a fan of the books, obviously I don’t need to give you any clues or reasons why you should go see the movie. But, for someone who hasn’t, I do feel that these movies stand alone. There’s a lot of backstory in each one of them, so you don’t need to see the other ones to understand this one. In this case, it’s a more mature look with the same dynamic. The love triangle is definitely at its height, and it comes to a conclusion as well. It ends here, and that’s been building up, over the whole series. Also, it has more action than the other movies, just because of the story, and we have different vampires, and everyone is trying to kill Bella again, and they all battle and stuff. For non Twilight fans, it definitely is a more dynamic movie.
Q: With Breaking Dawn, would you like to stick to the book and go for an R rating, or do you think it should be toned down?
Kristen: I guess that everybody interprets those things differently. My guess is that it’ll be PG-13. I have no idea, but I guess we’ll all see when it comes out.
Q: How long have you known that Breaking Dawn was going to be two films?
Kristen: I had to hold onto this forever. They’ve been talking about it for a really long time, and we all definitely knew that it was going to be two movies for forever now. It’s been really hard not to say that. We’re all really stoked on that.
Q: How long will the shoot be?
Kristen: The shoot is going to be something like six months. We start in October, and we’re not going to be finished until maybe March or February. I clearly don’t really look at the schedule.
Q: Do you see an opportunity in Breaking Dawn, since it’s going to be two films, to create two interpretations of Bella, pre-vampire and post-vampire?
Kristen: Yeah, actually. I really can’t wait to get into that because I’ve been on the outskirts of what it would feel like to play one of them. I had to think about it a lot, considering that Bella is dating one of them very seriously. It’s been years of dealing with these issues and I’ve thought about it a lot. I can’t wait to actually be it. It’s going to be a trip. It’s going to be weird. She does change a lot. I think she’s going to be the coolest vampire out of all of them. She’s got the greatest power. She’s untouchable. Nothing can touch her, and she can literally protect the whole clan. She’s such a mother, too. I think it’ll be awesome to see how much she’s changed from Twilight, where she’s this 17-year-old kid who really doesn’t care about a whole lot, other than herself. To see her become this matriarch will be really cool.
Q: Do you think all this speculation about you and Rob Pattinson will continue until the series ends?
Kristen: Probably, yeah.
Q: Are you at the point now with Rob where, when you’re doing a very passionate or dramatic scene that, all of a sudden, you just start laughing?
Kristen: That really happens all the time, definitely. More so with me and Taylor because we have so much fun with this stuff and our intimate moments are so few and far between, and weird. We have a little bit more of that. Me and Rob are always so serious because we have those scenes.
Q: So who is the better kisser, Dakota Fanning, Rob Pattinson or Taylor Lautner?
Kristen: Dakota. I’m just going to have to say that because it’s easier.
Q: I think some of the nicest scenes in all these films are the scenes between Bella and her father. What’s it been like to work with Billy Burke?
Kristen: I love working with Billy. He’s just very no BS and, as an actor, that’s what you need. He’s really good at knowing if the scene works or doesn’t work. I think he really understands the dynamic of the Charlie/Bella thing. It’s not a normal father/daughter dynamic. They haven’t known each other very long. She just moved to Forks and, literally, has only a few memories of him as a little kid, but I love the gradual trust thing that happens. He’s really good at that because he doesn’t force it, and it’s never creepy. A lot of times, it gets weird when some guy is playing your dad. It feels weird to you. It feels like they’re forcing sentiment. It’s disgusting, and I never feel that with him. I think he’s great. I love him.
Q: We see Bella really mature in this film, especially choosing to be a vampire, not just for Edward, but for other reasons as well. Can you talk about Bella and how she’s maturing as a woman?
Kristen: She’s definitely making decisions for herself and not just going along with what Edward is saying she should do. People instantly latch onto her being this weak, co-dependent girl that’s just in need all the time with this guy. That’s so not the case. I think if it were to be told from his perspective, that he would be just as vulnerable and needy as her. It’s told from her mind, though, so obviously those things are going to be more inherent. I think she’s definitely owning up to things that have gone down that have been both good and bad. She can reap the benefits from the things that she’s dealt with, in a good way, and also make the relationships in her life stronger, based on the mistakes that she’s made. Everyone in the family is looking at her differently now, like, “Oh, maybe she does know what she wants. Maybe she’s not acting so immature and crazy.”
Q: Can you talk about any other upcoming projects that you have, aside from these movies?
Kristen: I’m playing Marylou in On The Road. It was my first favorite book, and that character is iconic. Walter Salles is directing it. I’m a huge fan of is. I’m doing that right after this press is over. In July, we start a four-week beatnik boot camp. It’s a small movie, so four weeks of rehearsal is crazy cool.