Kristen Stewart comes bearing a gift. The actress — who’s gangly, strikingly beautiful, and still only 20 despite having made movies for nearly a decade — has baked her interviewer a little loquat pie, which she carries in a mini-aluminum tin, like one you’d find in a child’s Easy-Bake Oven set. Stewart and costars Taylor Lautner, 18, and Robert Pattinson, 24, have gathered to talk about Eclipse, which opens June 30 and is, of course, the third installment in the phenomenally successful Twilight saga. The movie, rated PG-13 and directed by David Slade, finds Jacob (Lautner) and his werewolf pals joining forces with Edward (Pattinson) and his vampire clan to defend Bella (Stewart) against an army of new vampires. At the moment, however, no one wants to talk about the movie — the darkest and most compelling of the franchise so far. They just want to try the pie, which features fruit from Stewart’s own backyard. ”It’s not warm and there’s no ice cream, and those are really the two things that would make it exceptional,” she says. ”But it will be fine.”
When Twilight hit theaters a year and a half ago, Stewart never would have baked something for a reporter. Back then, she was a nervous 18-year-old who fretted over every syllable that escaped her lips and seemed terrified of the publicity circuit. Today, Stewart and her costars exude considerably more confidence. The last two Twilight movies have earned more than $1 billion worldwide and supercharged their careers. Stewart is about to shoot an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Lautner’s embarking on John Singleton’s action thriller Abduction, and Pattinson’s starring alongside Reese Witherspoon as a veterinarian in a traveling circus in Water for Elephants. The actors make an extremely tight trio: honest, protective of each other, and warmly familial. In person, as on screen, Pattinson and Lautner’s mutual affection for Stewart is the tie that binds.
How do you think Eclipse ranks against the other two films?
Taylor Lautner It is definitely my favorite.
Robert Pattinson I don’t like it as much. [Laughs] Could you imagine if I meant that?
Kristen Stewart It’s always hard because you’re so close to it. I run this really intense list of, like, checks and balances to make sure everything has come across. But I know I pulled less of my hair out [watching] it.
Speaking of your hair, you definitely don’t play with yours as much in this movie.
Stewart [Laughs] No, because it’s not my hair.
Lautner Nope, it was a wig.
Stewart I’m just going to be really honest right now: Yeah, I finally dropped my tic.
The emotional scenes in Eclipse really play well, I think.
Stewart This is the first time that Bella actually indulges Jacob and sees that there are two very desirable paths ahead of her and not just one. It takes kissing him to see that.
Lautner [To Pattinson] Are you lifting weights?
Stewart Actually, he has been.
Lautner Seriously, he was just [flexing], and the bicep was bulging.
Is this to compensate for everyone talking about Taylor’s body so much?
Pattinson It is a desperate attempt. I’ve got body dysmorphia. I am stuck with my belly.
One scene fans have been dying to see takes place in the tent during the snowstorm. Jacob warms up Bella with his body because Edward is cold-blooded and can’t do it himself.
Lautner The tent scene is probably my favorite, because it’s the first time Edward and Jacob are actually able to connect and understand each other.
How many takes did you go through to get that scene?
Lautner Two days originally to film it, and then a full day of reshoots.
Pattinson [The director] wanted it to be more erotic. Seriously.
Stewart It’s true. In the book there’s a serious sexual tension. As I’m sleeping, Jacob is staring over my vulnerable body, and he’s naked in this f—ing sleeping bag because you heat up faster that way, and Jacob and Edward are leveling with each other.
Taylor, you and Rob have some pretty serious confrontations in this movie.
Lautner Some of those scenes were pretty hard for me. I think we ruined a couple of takes in front of the house and in the tent. It’s just, I don’t know, I have a hard time looking at him…
Stewart Ha! ”I have such a hard time looking at him”!
Lautner [Laughs] I wasn’t finished. He and I were thisclose to each other — we are literally, like, an inch away — and we’re screaming at each other.
Stewart And about to kiss…
Lautner A couple of moments it felt like that.
Pattinson Every single time we had to do a threatening thing to each other — for one thing, you always have your shirt off, and so in the tent scene I literally grabbed your breast. And it’s very difficult to remain in the moment. Also, in that tent scene, I can’t really get over the fact that the word thought sounds like fart.
Stewart The word thought does not sound like fart.
Pattinson It does.
Stewart Maybe because you are an English person.
Pattinson The opening line of that scene is ”Can you at least keep your farts to yourself?” I couldn’t quite get over that.
Taylor, you worked so hard to get the body for New Moon. Can you ever let it go? Are we ever going to see a paparazzi shot of you eating a dozen doughnuts?
Lautner Yeah, hand me some of that pie. I will eat that right now.
Pattinson I will eat the container.
Lautner I cheat all the time. I’ve got to be a lot more strict while we’re actually filming, or when a photo shoot is coming up, but I’ll eat some ice cream, some cake.
Rob, what’s the secret to not having to take your shirt off?
Pattinson Don’t work out. I just kept telling everyone why I needed to take my shirt off in a scene, and everyone else had to think of reasons why I shouldn’t. ”No, I don’t think so — Edward is much more chaste than that.”
Stewart ”He is modest. He is much more modest.”
Pattinson Then I’d say, ”No, seriously — I would like to wear a really tight tank top and have my belly come out of the bottom. And have some sweat on it, too.”
Would you guys want to star in a big franchise again?
Stewart I would have to love it like this.
Pattinson It is just the promotion part, which is the hardest part. When you see your face on, like, toilet paper and stuff, that’s when you know you have to negotiate the water very carefully afterward.
Have you guys become more savvy in terms of how your face and your persona are represented out there?
Stewart Well, you don’t have a lot of control over your persona. Trust me, I’ve had a massive amount of experience with that one.
Interviews have always been fraught for you. What helps?
Pattinson Knowing that it doesn’t really matter.
Stewart And knowing that most people don’t give a f—.
Pattinson I would do TV interviews and I would be terrified, thinking that every single word would be judged. And it’s really just, like, maybe two people on the Internet who are actually judging. The rest of the people are just watching, thinking, Oh, God, boring. You realize the [key to] marketing is just having your face everywhere, and that’s it. It doesn’t matter what you say.
Stewart Just plaster it up. Every movie that has the home page at MySpace opens at number one. Every. Single. Movie. Because it’s just there all the time. It is in everybody’s face.
So do you feel more at peace about being in the spotlight these days?
Stewart I just feel more comfortable, more myself, and I feel less bare. I feel much more like nobody can take anything from me. Before, I felt literally like my chest was cracked open and people could just reach in and examine and pick at anything they wanted, and it just freaked me right out.
You got a lot of criticism recently for comparing the intrusiveness of the paparazzi to rape. The comment got blown out of proportion very quickly, and you apologized.
Stewart I’m so sensitive about stuff like that. That is the one subject that means a lot to me. I made one movie directly concerning it and I made another one where my character has a horrible history of rape. I talked to a lot of people about it. I used the wrong word. I should have said ”violated.” But I’m young and emotional. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I just feel like people got so excited once they saw that it was me. It was like, ”Sweet! Let’s get her!” And then for the people to exploit it under the guise of being morally upstanding is disgusting — and it embarrassed me because I was a part of it.
Did you see it all unfold and then think, I have to issue an apology?
Stewart No, I was in Korea when it all got bad. My publicist called me and said RAINN had issued this terrible statement.
Pattinson Who’s Rain?
Stewart You know, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
Lautner I thought you were talking about Rain, that Korean star, or something. I was like, What did they do? They sicced Rain on you? The Ninja Assassin?!
Pattinson None of those associations came out and gave a statement [criticizing Kristen] without being called upon by the media first — who were doing it specifically to get hits on their websites. That whole system of Internet journalists, where no one is called to account, is almost entirely about hate. All these people get away with doing it because they have no responsibility to anyone. All they need is to get a salacious headline and people click on it, because it’s easy. And it’s quite good being part of these Twilight films because you have to give so many interviews all the time, you can defend yourself. That’s the only way. All of us stick together as well. There are so many little nerds behind their computers, on their little blogs.
Stewart See, if I said that? Crucifixion. You can say so much more than me. It’s insane.
Pattinson That’s not true at all. When did I say anything [controversial]?
Stewart You’re really good, but you could say ”I just took a s— on the Queen’s face,” and people would be like, ”Oh, I love him! I love him!”
Pattinson That is so not true.
Kristen, you obviously feel like you’re under more of a microscope.
Stewart I’m a girl, and our fan base is primarily other girls. I would be the same way. I’d be like, ”That b– doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
Pattinson One of the things that really annoys me about the rise of all these celebrity websites is that anyone who becomes famous — people are so desperate to prove that [celebrities] are lower than the average person on the street. Why destroy any hope for anyone else? When I grew up, looking at movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and stuff, it made me want to do things. And you don’t want to believe that someone you admire…
Stewart …is an a–hole. Now they can’t wait to call you an a–hole when you’re not.
Pattinson And any way that you can promote positivity — I know it sounds ridiculous — but it’s the best thing you can possibly do.
Taylor, how do you feel about being in the public eye? You seem comfortable.
Lautner I get nervous, for sure.
Stewart He gets very nervous.
Lautner Us together — it’s not good.
Stewart You make me feel a lot better.
Lautner I’m glad I do.
Stewart I am so shocked that you get nervous that it instantly takes mine away.
Lautner Yeah, it gets your mind off it. Like at the Oscars.
Stewart We were both so goddamn nervous.
Lautner I was standing backstage waiting to go out, and I could feel the veins in my neck just pulsing. I was like, Whoa, I need to loosen this jacket a little bit.
Stewart Literally, you are standing there in front of…
Lautner …everybody you’ve looked up to your entire life…
Stewart Your whole life. And they’re looking at you slightly baffled and saying, ”What are you doing here?”
What about when you guys were on Oprah recently? There was a story all over the place that Oprah talked to you backstage and demanded to know if you, Kristen and Rob, were a couple. And that you said yes. Did that really happen?
Stewart [To Lautner] Did you see my interaction with Oprah backstage?
Lautner Yeah. I witnessed it.
Stewart She glided over to me — and she was strong, by the way, really firm hands — and she said, ”How are you?” I said, ”Good.” She said, ”Good. Are you nervous?” I said, ”Yeah, I am, but I think I’m okay.” She said, ”Good. We’ll have fun.” And then she just walked away. And that was the most I talked to her backstage.
You didn’t tell her you were a couple?
Lautner It never happened.
Stewart Did [Oprah herself] actually say that? I don’t think she did. Of course, when we go on Oprah, someone is going to say, ”We got the scoop!” No, sorry, they didn’t. I never told them anything. Why would I go tell Oprah that?
Rob and Kristen, you’ve both been making other movies. Being in Twilight must be a pretty good calling card.
Pattinson One of the best things is how fast you can get a film started. I don’t know how much longer it is going to last after the Twilight films finish, because now you can read a script and get it greenlit in three months. It’s crazy. It’s like having your own studio.
Stewart I still can’t get K-11 made because I’m playing a boy in it. If I were playing a pretty girl, it would be done already.
Pattinson How much is the budget? I can get it made. Let me produce it.
Stewart Please do. There’s this project that I’ve been talking about forever, and it just hasn’t gotten off the ground. My mom and her writing partner wrote a script called K-11 that takes place in a jail, and I would play a man. But people don’t want to see Bella doing that, so they didn’t want to raise money.
Rob, your movie Remember Me came out not long ago. Do you think it’s unfair when people say, ”Remember Me wasn’t a blockbuster, therefore he can’t do anything besides Edward Cullen?”
Stewart Like, ”The Runaways was an enormous failure,” which it so wasn’t.
Pattinson Remember Me was the perfect movie to do for such a short period of time. And I really liked it. I guess maybe it could have been marketed differently. But I think it did really well for a small-budget thing.
Is there freedom in doing a different role from Edward?
Pattinson Yeah. And I think, Oh, I only have to do my job. I don’t have to think about how the poster should be.
Did you find yourself thinking about the poster for Twilight?
Pattinson Yeah, all the time. No one ever listens to me. [Laughs] It’s difficult now. On the first one we had so much more creative input, but now it’s so huge that it’s too big to steer. And if you want to say ”I’m going to steer the whole Twilight machine,” you get fired. And the other thing is, it’s way too much responsibility. Why would you ever want that?
Taylor, you’ve taken advantage of the opportunities that Twilight has given you. What has this ride been like?
Lautner This was an amazing platform, and it gives you the opportunity to be picky and do what you want to do — and that is the actor’s dream, to be able…
Stewart …to choose stuff.
Lautner Yeah, and now I’m choosing projects that I’m extremely passionate about.
Stewart [Fondly] You cute-ass mother-f—er.
What are you most excited about?
Lautner I’d have to say Abduction, because I start in three weeks. I play a high school senior who finds a picture of himself on a missing-persons website and realizes his whole life has been a lie.
What do you guys think of the career choices Taylor is making?
Stewart It’s crazy how ambitious he is. I’m so different from him. We were on the plane and he said, ”So what do you think I should do about this?” And it was concerning his massive movie, and I was like, ”Dude, I don’t make movies like that. I don’t know.”
Lautner It doesn’t matter. She’s an excellent person to go to for advice. I probably bug her because I go to her for advice so much.
Stewart Taylor, I would do anything for you.
Pattinson Okay, that sounded like the most insincere thing.
Stewart See, you actually have a real moment and people just think that you’re lying.
You guys are about to start shooting the two Breaking Dawn movies back-to-back. You signed on to this franchise before the novel Breaking Dawn was written. When you read it, were you thinking, How is this going to be turned into a movie?
Stewart Yeah, definitely. What is Renesmee going to look like? Is it going to be this little teeth-baby running around? It’s going to be weird.
Pattinson [Laughs] ”Little teeth-baby.”
Stewart Yeah, but I think it’s going to be cool. One of the main objectives of the series is to get Bella to a point where she’s mature enough to make such a hefty decision, and she goes through a lot. In the fourth one she is going to become a wife. She is going to become a mom. She is going to become an adult and a vampire. To do it so young, it needs to be believable. So I’m really excited about playing that.
Some people read Breaking Dawn as very pro-life and Mormon because Bella decides to have her baby even though it’s endangering her life. Did any of that bother you when you read the book?
Stewart No, because it made sense. Not wanting to give up the baby is about her holding on to that last thing that she would have to give up if she was not human anymore. Right after she and Edward sleep with each other for the first time, she says, ”Oh, f—-, I might want to be human for a little bit longer.” The baby is just an even more intense version of that.
Pattinson I think people make up all these Mormon references just so they can publish Twilight articles in respectable publications like The New York Times. Even Stephenie [Meyer] said it doesn’t mean any of that. It is based on a dream.
The Breaking Dawn movies are the last in the series. How do you feel about all of this coming to a conclusion soon?
Stewart In terms of shooting them, they’re almost done. We’re going to be done by March.
Lautner It will be so weird, the last day of filming that last movie.
Stewart It will be sad, too. It’s been one of the most crazy, indulgent experiences as an actor, to be able to follow a character for this long.
Lautner I think stopping will be very weird.
Stewart It will just feel like a chapter has been closed.
Lautner A big chapter.
Stewart I’m going to be like, ”But wait, there’s this scene…”
Pattinson [Laughs] ”I know how to do the tent scene now! I’m 30!”