One of the most loved and hated women in film, Kristen Stewart, talks about the challenges of taking on the role of Bella Swan. She’s loved because she’s the star of the Twilight Saga, hated because she gets to make-out and get fought over by her vampire-lover Edward (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) — every teenage girls (and some women’s) fantasy!

Stewart takes her role very seriously and constantly backs all of Bella’s decisions good and bad. Find out what it’s been like for her to embody the character for such a long period of time and her view of what makes Bella and the gang such a great flawed character. After that check out our video highlight reel from the press conference with clips from the film!

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, I guess?

Stewart: This is a really unique situation. I get to play her 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 which is what I’m used to. I don’t see her as being this, or it’s definitely, obviously the one role that’s put me in this sort of epic position. But it’s just another movie and I think 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.

We see Bella really mature in this film, especially choosing to be a vampire, not just for Edward but for other reasons. Can you talk about Bella and how she’s maturing as a woman?

Stewart: She’s definitely making decisions for herself and not just going along with what Edward is saying to do which is something that people instantly latch onto, that she’s this weak and codependent 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 as 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, like I say over and over, owning up to things that have gone down. They’ve 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. As soon as you sort of screw someone over and go back and say, ‘I admit that. Can we still be really cool? I’ve been really selfish.’ Everyone now in the family is looking at her differently, like, ‘Oh, maybe she does know what she wants. Maybe she’s not acting so immature and crazy.’ I’m glad that you felt that.

Some suggest that the success of these movies has to do with forbidden love, loving a vampire and it’s mix with traditional family values. What do you think?

Stewart: Right. I think that if you took 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 the whole werewolf thing are really good sort of plot devices. All of the aspects of the vampire and all the aspects of a 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 vampire mythical aspect.

It definitely takes a good story and it raises the stakes and it makes it a little bit more interesting but I think it’s just about whole the characters are and how easy it is to have faith in them and be sort of 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.

What are your favorite and least favorite character traits that Bella has?

Stewart: I really don’t have one that’s my least favorite because as much as she can be all the things that sort of annoy me about her are the things that I like about her. She always comes around and realizes that she can be a little selfish, I think. She’s definitely not naggy but she tries so hard not to be sometimes. I think sometimes, ‘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 things about her is that she screws up a lot and doesn’t care and is like, ‘This is the way that life is and I’m young and I’m going on with it.’

In the tent scene you have two gorgeous guys talking passionately about you. What was going through Kristen Stewart’s head during that. Were you trying not to laugh or were you asleep, thinking about the next scene?

Stewart: It was so hot in that sleeping bag, literally and then the takes are 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 two guys and we do mine and it’s completely separate and they run the lines a little bit but I was playing halfway 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.’ As soon as I’d hear any of that I’d be like, ‘Bing! What?’ So that was difficult but 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 [Lautner] always has to take his shirt off.

Are either of these two characters, Edward and Jacob, good choices in men? They’re both a little obsessive and possessive. Are they actually good fantasy choices that young girls should have in their heads?

Stewart: I don’t know. People always wonder if we should be giving little girls ideas of meeting the perfect man. If so many people have taken to it 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 in the end 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. Again, 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, ‘Yo, you better check your boy because he ain’t treating you well or whatever,’ and Jacob, too because he’s a nutcase. I think 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 and that’s our whole story.

Do you see an opportunity in Breaking Dawn since it’s two films to create two interpretations of Bella, pre-vampire and post-vampire?

Stewart: 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 and I can’t wait to actually be it. It’s going to be a trip. It’s going to be weird and I think 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 I think that literally she can 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 seventeen year old kid who really doesn’t care about whole lot other than herself. To see her become this matriarch will be really cool.

Are you at the point now with Rob Pattinson where when you’re doing a very passionate or dramatic scene that all of a sudden you just start laughing?

Stewart: That really happens all the time, definitely. More so with me and Taylor because we have so much fun with this stuff because our intimate moments are so few and far between and weird, the way that happen in the book. We have a little bit more of that. Me and Rob are always so serious because we have those scenes.

Now that you’ve done three of these are there things that you wish had made into the movie from the book that didn’t?

Stewart: Yeah, totally. There are a million things. I mean 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. So there’s going to be less of that, less of having to lose stuff. I know you want specific things but I’m trying to think of one now but I can’t.

Check out our video of the highlights from the press conference and clips of the film below…

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