Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interview of Rob & Kristen with Courier Mail (Australia)!

 Interview with Courier Mail
That’s the way fans are used to seeing The Twilight Saga couple Bella Swan and Edward Cullen dance around each other, as depicted in three movies based on the phenomenally successful books by Stephenie Meyer.

Sure, there’s flashes of heartbreak, of longing looks, of petting verging on the heavy, but those scenes are saturated in the same youthful innocence, of teen angst mingling with a certain kind of romance that never strays too far from being, well, above the covers. No swearing and certainly no sex. Ever.

But things are hotting up in the perpetually gloomy outpost of Forks, USA.

The Twilight Saga’s fourth film instalment – Breaking Dawn Part I – has these star-crossed lovers married, copulating, having a genetically questionable baby, and, once again, fighting the forces of darkness to save the future of mankind. And vampirekind, and werewolfkind.

The honeymoon sex scene in this, the first of two films charting the final book of the series, was reportedly so steamy, the actors were recalled to set to reshoot them. The original version was too explicit to pass the censors.

Reports of excessive “thrusting” by Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella, were bandied about as attracting frowns from US standard-bearers.

The trailers for the movie show the couple in a steamy embrace under a waterfall, and then cuts dramatically to Bella holding her rapidly growing stomach. Then there’s the birth. Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward, says that part of the film “was more like a Saw movie than a Twilight movie”.

*More under the cut*

How the audience of largely teenage fans will digest the movie will be discussed in the media at length after its release this week. But for the young stars of the film, it’s all part of the Twilight zone.

“I can’t wait for this film to come out,” Pattinson says. “I feel like we’ve been talking about it for months. Well, I have!”

He is lounging on a plush sofa at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Beverly Hills. His white T-shirt features a tiny rip front and centre, his shoelaces are unlaced and his baseball cap is on backwards.

In short, he’s disarmingly understated and approachable, immediately offering a cheery hello that quickly reaches his fervent blue-green eyes. He may have been named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine but Pattinson couldn’t look more inconspicuous if he tried.

He’s the first to admit that this movie is different from the previous three.

Not only does it signal the beginning of the end of this billion-dollar franchise but it also takes the core message of abstinence and gives it a twist – it’s OK to get married and then have sex, but it still carries consequences.

Pattinson reveals that the harrowing childbirth scenes were tough to watch, given that Bella was writhing in pain and covered in blood for most of the scenes. Bella’s body is emaciated before she gives birth to baby Renesmee.

Kristen’s head was attached to a dummy body which had gore all over it, and she was wearing a torn hospital gown,” he says.

“It looked unbelievably bad. And the dummy was so realistic I was shocked when I first walked on set – to see anyone you know look like that is just horrible.”

He not only found the on-set experience intense but also had some trouble coming to terms with his place in the movie. Perhaps he experienced that particular emotional conundrum unique to becoming a dad?

“Kristen really connected to this film. She thought that it was Bella’s journey and that it was really important. But when I first read the script, I was so frustrated because what is Edward supposed to do, when he’s on the sidelines, worrying,” muses the Londoner.

“By the time I was called on to the set, Kristen had gone so far beating herself up that I was terrified – and I hadn’t been terrified since the first movie. We shot the childbirth scenes as continuous sequence, from when she goes into labour to the birth, so we really had to commit to what we were doing.

By then Edward’s really beaten down and has to give up his ego. It’s only in Part 2 that Edward rebuilds himself again, and I admire him for that.”

The experience was made all the more harrowing for the young actors, as they are also off-screen partners.

Well, maybe. Neither will directly confirm the rumours. Or deny them.

ADMITTING you have a boyfriend shouldn’t really be headline news, but then Stewart, 21, is – albeit begrudgingly – used to her life being scrutinised.

For more than a year, legions of Twilight fans across the world have suspected that Stewart and Pattinson were more than onscreen lovers. And now they have proof the romance they’ve seen blossom onscreen has spilled over into real life. Sort of.

In a rare slip of the tongue, she recently revealed she was excited to be spending more time in Britain because “my boyfriend is English”.

Talking to her today, it becomes obvious that while acting is her craft, protecting her private life has become her other full-time job.

Looking pretty and much softer than some photos portray, she’s dressed in skinny jeans and a T-shirt, and happy to talk about how it feels to be at the centre of the Twilight storm.

Her life changed dramatically when she won the coveted role of Bella Swan almost five years ago, and she says she’s finally come to terms with her superstardom.

Often criticised for being unapproachable, or sometimes moody, when snapped by the paparazzi or on the red carpet, Stewart is sanguine about those moments, especially when she weighs them up against the amazing opportunities that have come her way as part of her speedy transition from anonymous to global phenomenon.

“Yes, I feel more comfortable at times now, but it really is about what mood you’re in,” she says. “If the mood strikes and if you’re feeling unselfconscious that day, you can have fun with it. The trouble with the red carpet is that it’s hard to fake it. So, if you’re having an introspective day or not thinking clearly, it comes across. Then people think that’s who you are all the time, but it’s not – that’s just five minutes of my life.”

She admits she’s had to learn to lighten up.

“It’s easier now that I realise people don’t want me to be so serious all the time,” she says.

“I used to care so much about certain questions. For instance, sometimes someone will say very frivolously, ‘What does the Twilight experience mean to you?’ And I say, ‘Do you want a quick answer or for me to tell you what I really think? Because that’s going to take a while’.”

This letting go has clearly made life easier for her.

“You can only be concerned about what matters to you,” she says. “I approach all of this as a job. Acting is what I do, and I’m lucky to have such an awesome career, but it’s a slippery slope when you start to let things affect you personally. Keeping your head down is much better.”

As for Pattinson, all she’ll say is what’s hers is hers.

“I’m selfish. I think, that’s mine, and I’d like whatever is mine to remain that way. It’s a funny game to play. I always tell myself I’m never going to give anything away, because there’s never any point or benefit for me.”

And as for talk about whether Bella is a good role model for impressionable young minds – Stewart is philosophical.

The books are accused of depicting Bella as a lovelorn zombie, who gives up her entire life because of her somewhat unhealthy obsession with a much older man. Edward may only look 17, but he’s been a vampire for a century. In the second movie, New Moon, she even starts risking her life to invoke the image of her lover, but not before withdrawing from her friends and family, lost in depression. Regardless, she says she loves playing Bella.

“(Bella’s) caught up in something that feels much bigger than her, and she’s in a relationship that’s by no means unequal,” the Californian native explains.

“Edward is so invested in their relationship, but he’s weaker-minded and doesn’t think they can overcome such adversity. But she has faith that it will work out, so I think she’s more courageous than Edward. I understand people think her weakness might be that she’s had to give up her life for him, but don’t you think that’s valiant?”

But it’s not for a philosophical exploration of a young woman’s place in society that fans flock to the Twilight movies. This instalment is on track to outperform all the previous ones, with “tens of thousands” of tickets already sold to sessions of Breaking Dawn Part 1, report Event Cinemas, Greater Union and Birch Carroll & Coyle cinemas. It’s that mix of romance, the supernatural, overcoming steep odds and beautiful people with beautiful problems that the crowds want to see. It’s entertainment escapism with two capital Es.

And hype around the movie has been growing for months, ever since the producers released photographs of snippets of the much anticipated Edward/Bella wedding (although no shots of the actual couple have been released). Pattinson remembers the day they said their “I do’s” with some amusement, mostly because as the groom, no one was interested in his outfit.

“We had all these paparazzi helicopters above, and no one asked me to hide as it was all about the dress,” he recalls in wonderment.

“I was standing there in the wide open wearing a tuxedo, and Kristen was shrouded in secrecy with this dress on.”

He’s more than conscious that his legions of fans (aka Twihards) are desperate to see the movie and while even his former Harry Potter co-star Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, has said that she wouldn’t want his level of fame, he’s extremely level-headed about the attention he gets.

“Luckily, it’s not every day you have to deal with loads and loads of people because it’s quite tiring,” he says. “But people are coming out to say they like you, and you have so many people in the world saying they don’t like you, so you have to appreciate it because they’re on your side.”

Unlike Stewart, he’s learnt to make the attention work to his advantage.

“While shooting Water for Elephants (with Reese Witherspoon, released earlier this year), we were doing an important scene, and there were tons of paparazzi messing everything up. There was also a crowd of fans who were staying way back and being respectable, while the paps were being arseholes.

“As I was driving past the fans I said, ‘Listen, I can’t get out because of all these guys, but if you get rid of the paparazzi, then you can have a better position and I’ll come and sign stuff.’ And so they got rid of them. They chased them away.

“When you have a group of 300 girls coming at you, it doesn’t matter how tough those eight guys are! You can mobilise a little army.”

He’s also managing to turn his big-star fame into a fledging “serious” career, taking on smaller, niche roles. Maybe the Twihards will follow him to those movies. But that’s not his aim. He’s recently completed Bel Ami with Uma Thurman and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, but says, “I’m not interested in doing star vehicles. You want ensembles, you don’t want it to be, ‘Oh the Twilight guy’s got a movie coming out’. The directors don’t want that either, they want it to be their movie.”

Surely he feels more secure now that he has a reputed $55 million in the bank and the world at his feet?

“Kind of. And then not at all,” he says candidly. “I feel like I have to think more about what I can do. I find I have to convince more people of my worth now than when I wasn’t getting jobs at all. As soon as you start getting paid for stuff your options become limited so quickly.”

Stewart, too, is keen to look for roles that take her beyond the one that made her famous. Her solid performance as rockstar Joan Jett in The Runaways garnered rave reviews last year, and she’s scored upcoming roles in Snow White and the Huntsman and the eagerly awaited On the Road, based on Jack Kerouac’s novel. Pushing herself is one reason she took the role of Marylou in that film, due for release next year. It’s the first time Jack Kerouac’s iconic ’50s Beat Generation novel will be on the big screen, and a brave move for any actor, let alone one who’s so closely associated with a vampire franchise.

“Every experience shapes you and helps you build confidence,” Stewart says.

“Recently, I’ve had a chance to play characters outside my comfort zone. Not that I’ve ever stuck with anything that feels comfortable, but sometimes you’re drawn to things you relate to. I’ve definitely tested myself.”

She credits her experience on Twilight with giving her the tools to take on the literary classic.

“I’ve dealt with the pressures of having a fan base that eagerly awaits the product, but On the Road is a different level – people have waited five decades for it,” she says. “This character is so far away from who I am, I had to push myself. It made me realise I can do more character pieces, instead of just playing the ingenue.”

With all the craziness in her life, Stewart is grateful to have friends and family as her anchor.

“It’s rare for me to do anything that betrays who I am. I feel rooted where I am,” she says. “I’d have a real problem with selling out and not being myself.”

Work aside, she’s already planning what to do when she eventually has time to herself. Her mum, Jules Mann-Stewart, is from Maroochydore and Stewart says she’d like to go back for an extended stay.

“I wish I could go back to Australia,” Stewart says. “I went a couple of times when I was younger, but I was fairly little, so I don’t really remember it.”

As for Pattinson, he’s keen to end the press tour for Breaking Dawn and get back to work.

“I’ve done nine films in four years,” he sighs, before adding with a smile, “It’s completely ridiculous. This is the longest break I’ve had in that time but you know what, I already feel like I need to get back to work.”

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