More from the Interview"I’m really happy right now, overly happy,"
she says. "I’m definitely not looking furtively — I like to look around at (things). I feel great. I’m not overcoming fear right now."
In those days, says Stewart, "I was scared of so many things. I was not overcompensating but just compensating. Now, I really have no apprehension about anything, which is great. I can get behind all of my creative endeavors more so than ever before. I’m super happy and challenged and inspired and relaxed."
She didn’t explain or complain, just kept her head down and did interview after interview, craving a return to her day job just to retain some sense of balance and focus. But, as they say, be careful what you wish for. Now, with seven new films under her leather belt, Stewart feels the opposite: a deep, head-spinning need for a break.
'I still do this'
Financially, she’s free to work if and when she wants, thanks to those years as Bella Swan, opposite Pattinson’s Edward Cullen. And while she says she’s never been “very business oriented” or “economically inclined,” Stewart knows that going forward, she can pick and choose whatever she wants to do, based not on mortgage payments but on artistic desires."Everyone’s like, ‘You’re back to doing indies.’ I tried to do an indie between every Twilight movie. I still do this," she says. "Plus, Twilight initially was a funky indie teen flick. There was something about it that I thought was really special and great. I’m not trying to make people think I’m serious or anything. The roles for women in Hollywood — they’re very categorically narrow. When a good script sticks out as being unique, I jump on it."
And she has nothing but fond memories of Twilight, without any obvious resentment of any ensuing baggage."What did I take from it? I want to do good work. We all worked really hard on those movies, actually. Every moment and every day leads us to where we are now. Standing up to something so much bigger than me was a good test of my character and a good introduction to myself. It was an accelerated growing-up process,"
she says of being vaulted into superstardom as Bella.
This time, her main release is Camp X-Ray (out now in limited release), starring Stewart as a wide-eyed army private assigned to Guantanamo Bay.
Though at first she’s faced with political prisoners who seem, to her, to pose little threat, she comes to understand just how complex the whole war on terror really is, and how devoid it is of easy answers or villains and victims."I’m definitely not one to get on a soapbox about things I care about. You can affect change in other ways. That’s why doing interviews about it is funny for me. Dude, I did a movie. I thought it was a courageous reminder," she sighs. "It is not righteous in any way. … I was really excited to play an essentially American girl who is so simple. Exploration for truth and discovery is not what we’re known for. I know it sounds really negative, but I feel it’s true. I thought it was interesting to have this girl, a good person, a sweet person, a positively inclined girl, who wants to forget herself and wants to be dignified by something. How do you condemn anyone who wants to serve our country? The denigration of that notion was really interesting."
Life in — and out of — the light
After rebuffing the drunk advances of her boss, Stewart’s Amy Cole is trapped in a situation that slips out of her control, with both implied and obvious hostility directed at her. All the while, she has to be a pro with the condemned, loathed prisoners under her care.
As a famous person, has Stewart felt that judged herself?
"Actually, yeah," she says. "I never made that connection. Sure, I feel that. It’s silly. (Outside judgment) is so transparently a projection. It’s so insular. It has nothing to do with me. It’s everyone else’s hangups."
Dressed in a white crop top, which she repeatedly yanks down, ankle-length black pants and beaten-up sneakers, her sheared hair mussed, Stewart is a funny, self-effacing, yet totally earnest presence. It’s hard to reconcile the diminutive brunette sitting across from you with the mammoth celebrity whose fans devour any and every detail about her life.
The fame thing, says Stewart, is what it is. “I’m also not that uncomfortable with it because I’ve gotten used to it. I am really traversing this and getting stronger every day. I’m better at this than I ever have been. I like being uncomfortable. I like standing up to things,”
Stewart just wrapped her latest film, the futuristic Equals, starring Nicholas Hoult and directed by Like Crazy’s Drake Doremus. The project, she said, tore her up emotionally, and necessitated what she long thought she needed: a break to just be Kristen, the person. She won’t read a single script."I’m taking some time off because I’ve been working for two years. I’m an actor and that’s my art form, and because I started that so young, I’ve always felt intimidated and insufficient when I think about other forms of art I want to create. … I’m going to buy a live-work space in downtown L.A. and I’m going to make some (stuff) with my hands. Literally, I made that decision a few weeks ago,"
she grins, adding that she’s also “making a short film.”
And she might even do the seemingly impossible: go out and hang out with friends without the paparazzi following her. She takes the good with the bad, knowing that having to hide in plain sight is simply part and parcel of being famous."One thing that will stay with me forever is, I really love work. I love hard work. I’m somewhat OK with the isolation. At times I realize, that’s so not normal. It’s weird, but it gives me the opportunity to do what I love," she says. "I do wish it was a bit more normal. Plans are just difficult. You have to be ready to change them any moment. If you walk into a place and there are weirdos there, you leave."
The other thing, admits Stewart, is that she’s always looking over her shoulder. "I’ve gotten better about that. Whatever. If everyone is staring at me, that’s fine."