Focus: Miss Stewart, with „Breaking Dawn Part 2“ the vampire saga which made you rich and famous, comes to an end. Are you relieved or sad that it’s over?
KS: Both. After the huge success of the first film we felt a lot of pressure, the series developed into a global phenomenon. We were part of a brand that had to be maintained. That’s over now, and I’m not sad about it. The saga was a dominant part of my life during the past five years. So much happened during that time – and I’ve definitely become more mature.
FOCUS: First of all you became an international teen idol practically overnight. How did you cope with so much attention as a 17-year-old?
Stewart: The hype caught us all completely by surprise. The fans went literally crazy, suddenly we needed bodyguards. That was crazy. Jennifer Lawrence, the lead actress in The Hunger Games, who’s going through a similar situation right now, had asked me for advice on how to handle it. I told her: “Enjoy it and at the same time remember your own values.”
FOCUS: Has the hype burdened you in a psychological way?
Stewart: Of course, nobody is really prepared for it. We travelled around the world to promote the movies. Wherever we showed up, huge crowds that screamed their heads off were expecting us. It is flattering, but at the same time it’s also scary. Sometimes it was just too much for me.
FOCUS: You became a product and therefore got marketed?
Stewart: The film was the product. Well, probably we somehow were one as well. We followed the plan and the guidelines.
FOCUS: You’ve been often described as “wooden”, “arrogant” and on some internet forums really insulted. Have you been aware of that?
Stewart: At the beginning I often logged in the forums of the fans, in preparation for the role of Bella. It soon turned out as a mistake. I’ve read all sorts of things about me and quickly decided to let it be. I can understand, however, when some of the media describe me as “wooden”. I was terribly anxious before the first rounds of interviews and was extremely nervous. Fortunately, it’s gotten all better in the meantime.
FOCUS: What has helped you in getting there?
Stewart: I learnt a lot from Rob (Robert Pattinson, editor). For him it was a lot easier to deal with the fans and the media, right from the beginning. Rob was, in general, an important supporter during the “Twilight” years.
FOCUS: Talent shows are booming, many people dream of becoming famous. Do you understand that?
Stewart: There are probably several motives why people apply to those casting shows. Some of them have real talent; they just want to show it and maybe make a profession of it, if they get a chance. The others live in a dream world. I’ve never wanted to become an actress to be famous. Those who live out those fantasies will probably fail horribly. Fame appears many people worth striving for. They would probably change their minds if they would get to see what it feels like having to give up the private life to a great extent.
FOCUS: You are keeping your private life under wraps – which is not always successful.
Stewart: I already have so much of me to give away, that it just makes me consider my private life, what I do at home, or who I’m dating, just sacred. We must not surrender completely in this business, that’s what I learnt quite fast. Also due to the “Twilight” hype.
FOCUS: Is it difficult after all that’s happened in the last few months to do a joint promo tour with Robert Pattinson?
Stewart: No, we’re okay.
FOCUS: Is it easier to play a couple in a movie when you’re also in a relationship off-screen?
Stewart: In the end we both just focused on the roles which couldn’t be further away from reality. I mean, Rob played a vampire. He was wearing red contact lenses and was painted pale. So you do not think: Oh, that’s Rob there. On set I always saw him as Edward, the vampire.
FOCUS: Can you understand the enormous fascination for vampires?
Stewart: Sort of. It’s just a kind of a fantasy world. Young girl falls in love with a vampire who can fly with her through the woods. A guy like a superhero. I can understand that especially young people like to immerse themselves in such ideas. Perviously the women dreamed of being picked up by a prince on a white horse, nowadays there are just vampires. But in the end it all comes down to the longing for romance.
FOCUS: “Harry Potter,” “Twilight”, “The Hunger Games” – does the desire for fantasy worlds get bigger the more problematic the real world is?
Stewart: That’s what has defined cinema for about 100 years. If reality gets more complex, fantasy films gives a welcoming variety to the everyday life. We’ve often been asked why the saga is extremely successful. We have attracted people in a world where the impossible becomes possible. Bella gives birth to a child of a vampire while being still human, and eventually turns into a Vampire with superior forces. On a bad day I would probably like to seek refuge in such a fantasy world, too. Sounds tempting, right?
FOCUS: Do you read fantasy novels yourself?
Stewart: I rather prefer the classics. Authors such as Albert Camus and John Steinbeck inspire me.
FOCUS: You once wanted to study literature?
Stewart: That’s what I could absolutely imagine doing in the future. I left school after the eighth grade, was then taught mainly by private tutors and graduated from high school via the Internet. The idea of going to school again is appealing. But currently I rather use the opportunities that I get in the movie business. I want to be a better character actress. This is something I realised about my abilities as an actress in “Twilight”. I still have plenty of room to improve.