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Kristen Stewart, Nikki Reed talk 'Twilight'

T06622_3 It’s only one day until our exciting Twilight issue of USA WEEKEND, and we have something very special for our readers: an exclusive chat with two of the movie’s stars, Kristen Stewart and Nikki Reed. Our Brian Truitt caught up with the two friends at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., this morning, just a few hours before Stewart was headed down to Northern Virginia to sign autographs at a Hot Topic store in Fairfax. The Twilight Tour has been utter insanity so far: In San Francisco, so many fans showed up to get a chance to meet Stewart’s on-screen paramour, Robert Pattinson — who plays the vampiric suitor Edward in the movie — that there was a near-riot. And at 3 a.m. this morning, 2,000 fans were at Fairfax’s Fair Oaks Mall trying to be one of the lucky 500 to get a wristband and opportunity to meet Stewart. Ah, the wonders of being involved in a project beloved by bajillions of teenage girls. Click read more below for the first part of Brian’s interview with the actresses (stay tuned for part two tomorrow) and remember to check here to find out where you can find your Twilight issue of USA WEEKEND starting tomorrow!

It almost seems like a day in the life of Bella and Edward in Forks, Wash., with all the cold and the rain. Yet it’s nothing new for Stewart — who plays Bella in the movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s mega-popular book, in theaters Nov. 21 — or Reed (who co-stars as the gorgeous vampire Rosalie), as they spent five drenching months shooting Twilight in Portland, Ore. “It’s very oppressive,” says Stewart, sporting tousled hair, jeans and a “Defend New Orleans” T-shirt (she just finished shooting a movie there). “It’s like a blanket. You can’t see the sky and it’s always rainy and always dark and you’re stuck in a place, it adds to the seclusion. The weather’s kind of a character in the movie.” Reed, clad in a Diet Coca-Cola shirt, agrees. “I was questioning my sanity by the end of it, honestly. Lack of vitamin D, that’s not good.”

Kristen, you do realize that 2,000 people lined up at a mall this morning in the rainy cold just to get a chance to meet you.
Kristen: Oh my God.
Nikki: That’s why Kristen and I truly have developed the buddy system. It really is important in this kind of situation with this kind of film. It’s really overwhelming for everybody, especially for her and Rob and Taylor Lautner. Actually, any of the boys and Kristen. It’s really overwhelming to hear the screams of these girls. We try to do things together and it’s nice to lift a little bit of that and put it on somebody else.

I really didn’t even realize how big Twilight was until I attended the panel at Comic-Con in July, where 6,500 fans packed in to check out the whole cast. You might as well have been parting the sea.
Kristen: That was the first time I saw it, too. There’s really nothing to think about it. They’re not screaming for me, I could be anybody and it’s really bizarre to find yourself in the position of figurehead for so many people who are obsessed with your character. And it’s so weird, too, because it’s such a personal thing for me: I’m obsessed with my character, too, and I care about the book just as much as they do. So it’s so weird to have their concerns pushed on me. When I play roles, it’s always been so personal — I don’t really affect people unless they choose to let it affect them, but they don’t have preconceived ideas about it affecting them. But how do I deal with people screaming and how do I deal with direct contact? I’m very, very, very, very outside myself. It’s like when people compliment me: “I love you, oh my God, I love you, you’re so beautiful!” I’m just like, “Thanks, I’ll tell her, because that’s this other little thing that you’ve got going here that you’re looking at, and that’s not me. I’ll tell the girl that you’re talking about that you like her.”

Do you understand the fandom on some level? Did you love something this much when you were younger?
Nikki: No, but I do understand that heightened sense of when you’re young, when you’re at that transitional period, everything feels like such a big deal. That’s what this movie is about: It’s like your first love, your first everything, you create an obsession with your best friends in school or the guy that you’re dating.
Kristen: When you’re a teenager, man, those heightened emotions are crazy.
Nikki: They sort of run you. But you’re talking to the wrong people, because both she and I started at a young age in this business. I made it all the way up to high school in public school, and then I didn’t go anymore. We’re plucked from the normal public and put into our own little bubble in a weird way when you grow up as an actor.

Kristen, you’re playing an everyday girl who stumbles a lot and is really klutzy. Can you go back to a time in school where that was you as a gawky teenager and did you bring some of that into the film?

Kristen: You put me in a room with 150 extras and I feel like I’m in high school. It’s like, “Oh, there’s the lead actor” and you’re stared at. I went to school until I was in the seventh grade, so I had public middle school. It’s high school but you’re just a little younger. Oh my God, it was terrible.
Nikki: Yeah, middle school’s awful! You have no identity. At least in high school, you go off into your little group — middle school, you have nothing.
Kristen: So I know the feeling very well. Plus, when Bella gets to Forks, one thing that I like about her is that she’s very content. You could have a love story this epic and think that typically, the beginning of the story is going to have a character searching for something and she finds it in this man. But she’s fine. She’s very self-assured already, so when she gets to the school, it’s just like, “Alright, I hope everybody’s going to be OK dealing with the fact that I’m very solitary.” But then people take notice of her and she’s like, “Why?” and that makes her self-conscious. She’s fine with being an outsider. Everybody says that to me: “Can you relate to Bella in that she’s an outsider trying to find her way?” No. She’s not. She’s fine. She’s just swept into something that’s crazy.

T05113 Nikki, you’re a natural brunette but you sport blonde locks as a vampire considered to be the most beautiful girl in the world. People who know you from Thirteen might not even recognize you.
Nikki: This was an opportunity for me to look completely different, I didn’t recognize myself, and Kristen was totally getting to know me with that look. And now I finally feel like myself again. Every feature that I had that I was born with that put me into that “good looking” category was wiped away! [laughs] So that was bizarre for me. It’s not every day that I get calls to play the angelic-looking, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett-ish person.
Kristen: Some people would call it bad casting. [laughs]
Nikki: The fans were really horrified at first, but they kind of were with everybody.
Kristen: They weren’t happy with anybody that was cast.
Nikki: When you have 20 million people reading a book, there are going to be 20 million different paintings in their mind of each character. So believe it or not, even Mr. Robert Pattinson got a really hard time in the beginning. And then once they see you as that, then they become more accepting. I’m not in the trailer, I’m not in any of the promo stuff, so when there were set visits from MTV and stuff and they recorded footage, people seemed to hop on the Nikki Reed-playing-Rosalie boat. You know what, as hesitant as I was at first, I think I make a really fantastic Rosalie and I actually think I look “a’ight” as a blonde.




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