For TWILIGHT's Stewart, Familiarity Breeds Contentment

With three movies under her belt playing Bella, the object of intense affection by the namesakes of Teams Edward and Jacob, it’s safe to say Kristen Stewart has a good read on her character.

“It’s really easy to project yourself onto Bella. She does have a lot of qualities that most girls have,” Stewart said when asked to describe her character’s appeal to the legions of Twilight fans.

During a recent phone conversation with Newsarama to promote “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” which opens this week, Stewart acknowledged Bella is far from the usual female lead role found in mainstream Hollywood productions. Let’s face it, Bella’s no Elle Woods. She’s not stylish, and she’s as cheery as a root canal. But Stewart thinks Ms. Swan’s melancholy is what helps many female fans relate.

“Yeah, and I also think that like, when you read the book, it becomes so addictive because, as a girl…I don’t know, maybe it would be different if you read it,” Stewart said. “…But when we read it, it’s so easy to put yourself in [Bella’s] position because it’s so vicarious, it’s so first-person.

“She’s self-deprecating, but at the same time, you know, she’s completely okay with the fact that she is the way she is, and she kind of owns it and is like awkward but strong,” Stewart continued. “I don’t know, I feel like she questions herself about as much as most girls do, and trusts herself as much as girls would want to.”

This latest chapter in the “Twilight” story is all about choice.

To paraphrase Meatloaf: What’s it gonna be Bella, Vamp or Wolf?

The decision Bella must make, choosing between Edward and her Jacob – and if you need us to tell you the names of the actors playing those characters, you’ve clicked on the wrong story – is the crux of the film, but it’s not the only big choice Bella is mulling.

At the start of “Eclipse,” the soon-to-be high school grad is bound and determined, despite everyone’s warnings, to go ‘all in’ on her relationship with Edward by becoming a vampire. That stubbornness, which is so typical of a teenager in love, is yet another quality that Stewart admires about Bella.

It’s also something the actress can certainly understand.

“To sacrifice things that may make your life a little bit harder, for something that’s as fulfilling as being in love with someone on such an epic level as she is with Edward…I can relate,” Stewart pointed out. “[I can relate] to sometimes making decisions that aren’t necessarily going to benefit everybody and not being 100% concerned with everyone liking you.”

Stewart seems to work very hard at not letting the Twilight media monster swallow her whole, be it through her other film choices or by her refusal to play the modern celebrity game. She does appear to be much more comfortable on this press tour than she was during the first two movies. She sounded genuinely excited about the recent announcement to shoot two films adapted from the final Twilight book, “Breaking Dawn.”

She also didn’t let the recent hubbub over her controversial comments regarding the paparazzi stop her from some playful World Cup pot stirring.

We spoke to Stewart the afternoon of the USA-England first round World Cup match, a day when millions of Americans became temporary fanatics of ‘The Beautiful Game.’ After Team USA rallied to secure a 1-1 draw, Stewart added some lighthearted trash talking.

“The English, they think they‘re like, good at soccer and s**t. F**k your futbol,” she said laughing, before getting serious and adding, “I think we should be really proud [of the U.S. team].”

While they may disagree about which team to cheer on, Stewart raved about working with British director David Slade (“30 Days of Night.” “Hard Candy”) on “Eclipse.”

Slade is the third director to work on a Twilight film. One would think the ‘musical chairs’ approach the franchise is taking with directors would make life more difficult for the actors, but Stewart enjoyed it.

“I love the fact that we get to work with different directors every time because it forces you to reconsider everything,” Stewart said, before copping to the fact that she is protective of her role.

“They [the director] may have certain impressions from the book, they may have certain impressions from the movies, whatever…but I’ve had so much time playing her that I can’t just go and change things [without discussion],” she said. “It’s cool, because not only are you introduced to a whole bunch of other ideas, it also makes you work harder.”

Considering their immense popularity right now, Stewart and co-stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner would seem to have their pick of projects to pursue, post-Twilight. Just like the “Harry Potter” stars, it will be interesting to see where their career paths take them, as they get older. But Stewart said she and her two leading men haven’t sat down to discuss career choices.

Pattinson appears happy to hide in the relative safety of smaller-scale ensembles like the recent “Remember Me” and the upcoming “Bel Ami” and “Water for Elephants.” Stewart’s indie film tastes are already well known. Even though rumors keep popping up that she may take over for Angelina Jolie in a “Wanted” sequel, less bombastic movies like “On the Road” seem to be her future calling.

Lautner is the one embracing his newfound fame the most.  He’s reportedly signed to do back-to-back action thrillers, “Abduction” and “Stretch Armstrong,” something that didn’t surprise his “Twilight” co-star.

“I think we all… We all know each other pretty well now. I mean, I completely expected that from Taylor [to do action movies]. He likes those kinds of movies,” Stewart said. “That’s what he wants to be a part of. I’m the one who sits around and says, ‘no, come on, just read the subtitles. I don’t care if you’re tired. It’ll be good.’

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