At the recent press conference for the last in the Twilight saga, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner reflected on their journey of the past five years, reminisced over fan encounters, and shared some of their favorite scenes. Beware, there are a few minor spoilers.
Q: What was it like going from human Bella to vampire Bella, sometimes back and forth in the same day?
Stewart: I was really lucky to have played human Bella for so long. The best aspects of every vampire, all of their gifts, everything that makes them really special is always an enhanced version of what they were when they were human… it's just a more realized version of who she's been the entire time. I think that's why it really touches so many people, too. It really does represent that stage of life where you're bubbling over with something that maybe you can't put your finger on…. People think she's nuts the entire time. She's making very odd decisions, but they're fully informed by feeling. Now, it all makes sense. She can finally stand up and go, "I told you! It was worth it! And we held on for a reason."
Q: Taylor, in your scenes with Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), how did you find the line between being caring and not creepy?
Lautner: Stephenie Meyer basically told me, "Stop over-complicating it. Think here and now. That's all you really have to focus on. It's simple." She said it's a lifelong bond between two people, and that's it. At this point, the girl is 10 years old. It's more of a protective [brother-sister] thing… I couldn't allow myself to think ahead and go beyond that, so that's the zone I had to stay in.
Q: Kristen, did playing a mom come naturally for you, and did it make you look differently at your own mom?
Stewart: It was one aspect of [Bella] that I was really excited to play. Vampires have slightly more animalistic natures, and it's perfect for it. What better way to show that? I have a great relationship with my mom, and she can be a bit feral when it comes to being a mom.
Q: Robert, which new character did you like the most?
Pattinson: I like Benjamin. Rami [Malek] plays him. Mainly 'cause he's a great actor. He only had a couple of scenes in it. It was nice having actors who came in and were really, really enthusiastic. They were like, "This is a big deal, being in a Twilight movie! I've got these five lines, and I'm going to own them!"
Q: Taylor, in Breaking Dawn Part 1, your character was a conduit to the drama, but in Part 2, he brings a lot of the comic relief. How was it to shoot these films back-to-back?
Lautner: I loved playing the new side to Jacob in this last one. He finally knows who he is and where he belongs, and he has a lot of stress taken off his shoulder. It was nice to play more of that comedic side to him and see him smile once in a while.
Q: How funny was it to shoot the scene where Jacob has to "wolf out" in front of Charlie (Billy Burke)?
Lautner: I love Billy Burke to death, and he's one of the coolest people alive, so it was a little uncomfortable for me. It's always uncomfortable when I have to take my shirt off because I'm always the only one doing it…. I think the pants came off in that one, too…. I was so nervous to film it because it was written so hilariously and I wanted it to come across that way, so I hope it does.
Q: Do you all remember the first time you met each other and your first impressions?
Lautner: I remember meeting Kristen, for sure, but it's so weird, I don't remember meeting Rob [laughs] … It was awkward for me because I showed up midway through filming… and it was already this family environment. I was kind of barging in. I was nervous, I was also the youngest. It was probably a little awkward when we first did meet each other.
Pattinson: When I did Harry Potter, I remember looking at Dan [Radcliffe], Rupert [Grint] and Emma [Watson] and being like, "Those guys are actors." I was starstruck by them. And I was starstruck by [Taylor and Kristen], when I met them, even though I'd only seen Kristen in a few things. I've always had this separation. It's funny to see people get humanized. With Dan, Rupert and Emma… I was with them for 11 months and I still see them as massively famous. It's strange to have gone through the same experience with Taylor and Kristen, as well, and see people retain their sanity as much as possible.
Q: Kristen, did you keep any props or parts of your costume as a memento of the series?
Stewart: Yeah, I kept the rings. The rings were really important to me. Her mother gives her a moon ring in the beginning. It fully and completely reminds me of [director] Catherine Hardwicke every time I look at it. I have the engagement ring, too.
Q: What's your favorite vampire movie?
Pattinson: I really like Blade. I wish people would make hard R-rated fantasy movies again.
Q: What's been the weirdest thing that has happened with a Twilight fan?
Lautner: I wouldn't call it weird, but I find this one baffling that somebody would want to do this to themselves. When we're at signings … I sign a lot of people's arms, but this one [girl], in particular, I remember signing her arm. The very next day, a family member shot me an email and it was a link to this girl – she had my signature tattooed to her arm. I was like, "Man, that's dedication! I'm sorry you did that." These fans are passionate and they continue to blow my mind, every single day.
Pattinson: I remember, with the third movie, when we went to Munich and the entire Olympic stadium was filled with fans…. There was supposed to be a Q&A, but me, Kristen [Stewart] and Taylor [Lautner] stood in the middle of the Olympic stadium with 30,000 people just screaming for 15 minutes. It's absolutely bizarre! There's no way you can ever compute it.
Stewart: Comic-Con for me was the first time I was ever hit with a wave of human energy that was like, "This is not a normal movie." That first dose of sharing it, looking up and seeing that something that's really affected you and moved you does the same things to other people, is mind blowing. It is the greatest part of the job.
Q: If you could go back five years, what kind of advice would you give yourself to prepare you for this entire experience?
Lautner: I'd probably just say to soak up each and every moment. It's lasted for so long, but at the same time, it seems like it was just beginning yesterday. It flew by.
Pattinson: Start drinking vodka instead of beer, and try to get a six-pack as early as possible [laughs] and you'll be a much more successful actor.
Q: Is there any moment, in particular, during the entire Twilight experience that you would like to relive?
Pattinson: The whole first movie was pretty fun. I had never really done a movie like it, when there's such a big cast of people that are around about the same age. Everyone didn't really know what was going to happen, but there was a good energy…. They wanted it to be something special. None of us were really known then, as well. It was kind of a big deal at the time. The whole year afterwards was an exciting year.
Q: Kristen, what bond do you share with Rob Pattinson and Taylor Lautner that only you guys can understand?
Stewart: It's nice to not be alone in that .… I guess we share the movies. Another really common question is, "How is it going to be to walk away from this?" I genuinely don't feel like I have to walk anywhere. That's what I love about this job. I wouldn't have done it in the first place unless it was something that I would always carry, and I think they feel the same way. They tell me they do.
Q: What is the greatest thing you learned about yourself from this entire experience, and how do you think it's affected your career choices?
Lautner: I've learned a lot, in the sense that I've just grown up a ton. I did start this when I was 15 years old, so that was bound to happen, but it was at an accelerated rate. … I love the fact that we had different directors for each movie, except for these last two. That was amazing to play the same character, but be directed in a different way every time and have different input. It's an actor's dream. I can't be more thankful for this franchise and everything it's given all of us. It's given us the opportunity to do the things that we love, and be able to pick and choose, to a certain extent, the certain ways that we want to challenge ourselves.
Stewart: I think things have always fallen in my lap, and I've gotten incredibly, insanely lucky. You can read a fantastic script and it might not necessarily be in you to do… I think scripts can really surprise you. You go, "Wow, I did not know that that response could come from me. I did not know that I had that in me." And so, the process of making the movie is just finding that and digging a little deeper.
Pattinson: It's not necessarily that satisfying getting monetary success, but sometimes it keeps the door open to make what you want to make. Other times, you can make five massive hits in a row and still not get cast by the directors you want to work with, doing little movies. There are no guarantees. I'm trying to sign up and do movies that I'll be proud of if it's my last one.
Q: Kristen, what was it like to see the montage at the end that sums up everything you've been working on all these years?
Stewart: It's so crazy! You typically just don't get that opportunity to look back…. My favorite thing about it is that [Bill Condon] understood. He really put his finger on what drives this thing. He wasn't shying away from anything. This thing is romantic. That's what is attractive about it -- what is so stirring. Bill lent himself to it so fully, and I think you can see that at the end. You can tell that he's a huge fan of the story and everything that's been going down. It's a nice little knife twist, as well. Really? It's over? I loved that.