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Kristen Stewart Talks About ‘The Yellow Handkerchief’

Kristen Stewart in 'The Yellow Handkerchief.'

Kristen Stewart in ‘The Yellow Handkerchief.’

© Samuel Goldwyn Films

Feb 22, 2010 – Before Kristen Stewart became ‘Bella Swan’ of Twilight fame, she’d already built up a decent acting resumé. Now, one of her pre-Twilight films is getting a boost – and a run in theaters – thanks in large part to the success of the vampire love story and Stewart’s popularity with Twilight fans. The Yellow Handkerchief finds Stewart playing Martine, a troubled teenager who embarks on a road trip in order to escape her life.

At the LA press day for the romantic drama, Stewart confessed she’s not really an expert on road trips. “The only road trip that I’ve ever taken was back from Portland when I was up there doing Twilight. I bought a little truck and drove home. It wasn’t like the most transformative experience, but it was fun. It gave me a sense of freedom and going away from something that was a rather intense experience.”

Of course it wasn’t the road trip aspect or the fact that the film was going to be shot in and around New Orleans that drew Stewart to The Yellow Handkerchief. “I could relate to her in that she’s so sort of the typical girl that really wants to be out there and smiling and totally in the middle of whatever is going on, but has been sort of embarrassed one too many times and has just gone, ‘I can’t do that anymore.’ I feel like she’s also isolated herself in terms of she’s put herself above everyone else,” explained Stewart when asked what attracted her to the part of Martine. “It’s like she can’t talk to people because they’ve let her down too many times and so she’s suddenly…in reaction to that, you sort of make yourself better than them. She realizes through this journey, which is a really cool thing to see such a young person go through, to go, ‘Oh God, I never looked at you and now I’m opening my eyes and I can see you and I was wrong.’ So I liked that.”

When it comes to selecting roles in general, Stewart said, “As much as you can say I’d like to do this because it’s different from what I’ve done before, I can’t really plan things out like that. Because despite whether or not a character sort of fits my description and the script is good, what actually drives me to do something like this, which is a really bizarre thing if you think about it: to play a part in a film and for more reason than just, ‘Oh, I get to be in a movie.’ It’s like, ‘No, I want to live out this life.’ It’s like, ‘Why?’ So it has to speak to me in some way and that’s always hard to describe, so I don’t know what I want to do. This is the first time I haven’t had one of my next jobs lined up, so I have a totally clean horizon. That’s actually pretty exciting.”

Even though she’s filmed a couple of movies – including Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse – since working on The Yellow Handkerchief, Stewart doesn’t think she would have done things differently. Stewart still believes she would have made the same choice to star in The Yellow Handkerchief, given the combination of the film’s script, her co-stars, the director, and the fact her Panic Room co-star Jodie Foster personally suggested to producer Arthur Cohn that she would be perfect for the part.

“I guess because I don’t hold the reins…really I follow, to put it absolutely lamely, my heart, I don’t think I would have made a different [choice],” said Stewart. “It would be really a shame if just because I did one movie – and I know it’s four or five or whatever, but it is one story, it’s one project for me. It’s the same character. It’s not like that changes… So if something like that would then affect choices, I don’t have this scheme of how people are going to receive my movies in the order that I do them and why I do scary movies and why I do movies about disaffected teens, which I get all the time. They’re just people I really wanted to play. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I’m just playing parts that speak to me.”

And Stewart’s The Yellow Handkerchief co-star William Hurt, who plays an ex-con who joins Stewart on the road trip, taught the young but veteran actress a thing or two about preparing for a role and analyzing characters. “[…]I had had roles in movies before that I took really seriously that I really liked. I guess I learned that I was a fairly impulsive actor that didn’t really necessarily need to – or I wasn’t aware of the fact that if I felt something, I didn’t need to sit down and go, ‘Okay, this is why, this is why, this is why.’ It helps so much. I understand the story so much more because of William.”

Stewart added, “The thing is about the whole rehearsal process, it’s not like we stood up and did the scenes and tried to get them right. It was just about understanding. He never stops. He never stops trying to acquire more knowledge. So much is not said. It’s not like there are a whole lot of events happening within the plot. The really dynamic changes in the story happen with – a lot of people might not be into that type of movie – but this is just that movie [where] it is very much within the glances and not really screen direction.”

At this point in her career, Stewart’s not necessarily able to have her pick of any project she wants, but she is getting a lot more opportunities to take on interesting roles than she might have been without Twilight on her resumé.

“To be honest, it’s such a weird thing to talk about in this capacity. You always sort of don’t look at scripts that are very clearly just framework and they just want to put a dollar sign in the picture frame. It’s so obvious. I only want to do work that I find to be moving, and that’s something that I can’t be specific about. So I’m totally lucky and I can’t believe that I am. I’m not saying that I can do anything, but I definitely have more opportunity than I’ve ever had so it’s awesome.”

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February 26, 2010 - Posted by | 1

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