By Elizabeth C.
POOR KRISTEN STEWART. She didn’t ask for fame, never wanted it, still hates what it demands. But there she is, looking stunning on the October issue of British Vogue, paying the price that modern movie stardom requires:
Giving access in exchange for publicity for her upcoming movie, On The Road, which premieres Thursday at the Toronto Film Festival.
Ever the reluctant celebrity, the 22-year-old bleats her familiar lament in the Vogue interview she gave in June — before being outed as the cheat who broke a certain sparkly vampire’s heart.
In cruel irony, the scandal has only brightened the blazing spotlight surrounding her. But even before her public undoing at the lips of Snow White & The Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, Stewart had refused the task of creating a persona to accommodate her fame.
“I know that if you haven’t thought about how you want to present a very packaged idea of yourself then it can seem like you lack ambition. But, dude, honestly? I can’t,” complains Stewart, 22, who’s been acting two-thirds of her life, since an agent spotted her singing in a Christmas show at the age of eight.
“I never wanted to be the center of attention,” she once said. “I wasn’t that ‘I want to be famous, I want to be an actor’ kid.” Alas, it was her unlucky fate to become rich and famous.
Even now, after starring in four Twilight blockbusters and earning an estimated $55 million fortune, Stewart resists succumbing to fame’s inevitable calculations. “People expect it to be easy because there you are, out there, doing the thing that you want and making lots of money out of it. But, you know, I’m not that smooth. I can get clumsy around certain people. Like if I were to sit down and think, ‘OK, I’m really famous, how am I going to conduct myself in public?’ I wouldn’t know who that person would be! It would be a lot easier if I could, but I can’t.”
Burnished in the public eye as the impressionable Bella Swan of the wildly successful Twilight series, Stewart’s the screen upon which a billion teenagers project their fantasies. Her three-year romance off-screen romance with costar Robert Pattinson has only compelled her to further comply with Hollywood’s commands to be a “movie star.” But to hear her tell it, all she wants to be free of people’s conventional expectations.
“There is always going to be that seam of people who want things differently to the standardized version,” she says. “It’s not necessarily a rebellious thing, it’s just who they are.”
That’s why the aimless freedom of Walter Salles’ On the Road, in which she plays a flitting teenage bride keeping the sexual company of two men, appealed to her.
“That world back then, it just seems freer to me than anything I could ever touch, and I’m fully nostalgic for it, even though I wasn’t even alive,” she tells Vogue.
It’s the loyalty aspect of it all,” she adds. “I love being on the periphery with a group of people who have the same values that I do. People who don’t get off on fame, who just like the process of making movies.”
And therein lies the core of her problem: Kristen Stewart does not need your love. And that is a curse in Hollywood.