After 18 years of being utterly ordinary, I finally found I could shine. So says protagonist Bella Swan in the just-released trailer for the final chapter of The Twilight Saga movie franchise, Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
Her eyes are red. Her skin sparkles. Her hair is dark and luxuriant.
She’s a vampire now – chic, powerful and confident – and a new mum hell-bent on protecting her baby. No time for all that mopey lovesick nonsense then.
“Bella is no longer human,” said Kristen Stewart, the 22-year-old US actress who has become a superstar playing the heroine.
“She’s always been this sort of vessel for your experience and now things are very, very different.”
For those who’ve been hating on the Twilight films for the past four years, it’s obviously annoying that the series has become such a global success.But it must be particularly galling to see how far Bella has come as a character, and how far Stewart herself has come as an actress.
Especially when certain noisy quarters still feel that she can’t act her way out of a paper bag and is nothing but just another ingenue.
Yet, Stewart’s star power can’t be denied.
According to Forbes, she earned US$34.5 million (S$44 million) over the past year from her performances in the two Breaking Dawn films and Snow White And The Huntsman, making her the highest-paid actress in Hollywood.
This is even more impressive given that she is 16 years younger than anyone else of the list, including Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron.
However, when asked by Access All Areas during a recent interview in Sydney – just hours after the news hit the Internet – how she felt about reigning over all the A-listers, a clearly embarrassed Stewart said: “Oh, wow. What are you talking about? I didn’t know that.”
Not that she’s uncomfortable with her new title.
She added: “I think pressure is kind of a big part of the job and I really appreciate pressure, but it’s not really from stuff like that. Any pressure I feel is self-inflicted.”
But while Forbes giveth, Forbes also taketh away. Soon after the annual list was published, a contributor for the same publication, Kyle Smith, came out with an article titled “Kristen Stewart’s Lavish Pay A Sign That Nobody In Hollywood Knows Anything”.
Writes Smith: “The saga was a smash in book form long before she became Bella, and any one of a hundred other actresses could have swooned and bared her neck as prettily as Stewart.”
Anyone can be a star – obviously!
Which explains why every pretty girl in the world IS a star. It’s dead easy!
The simple fact is that Twilight owes its success to Stewart as much as Stewart owes her success to Twilight.
Rupert Sanders, the director of Snow White And The Huntsman, actually thinks that Twilight is holding Stewart back.
“She’s been imprisoned by Twilight and this is her breakout,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Kristen’s very talented and she’s got a huge career ahead of her where she will constantly surprise people.”
While it’s nice that Sanders is praising his leading lady, the fact that he needed to diss Twilight in the process is neither cool nor classy.
It’s not as if Snow White is Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Like Twilight, it’s another fun fantasy focusing on both romance and female empowerment.
It appeals to Stewart’s core fan base of sympathetic young girls and enamoured young boys.
“People are going to think that I’m trying to either distance myself from Twilight, or trying to prove myself beyond it or whatever,” she said during a recent Snow White screening.
“But it’s just good timing. I think it’s all fallen off the truck in a really lucky way.”
In addition to her two big 2012 blockbusters – Snow White is still in theatres while Breaking Dawn – Part 2 comes out in November – Stewart is also starring in the indie prestige picture On The Road, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which she attended with director Walter Salles and cast members like Garrett Hedlund and Viggo Mortensen.
Now, for a certain segment of the moviegoing public, the fact that On The Road – the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel – was at Cannes will give Stewart a certain air of legitimacy.
She’s totally a beatnik, she shows her boobs, no one’s a werewolf – hence, she’s a real actress!
Her character engages in a threesome sex scene to boot.
She was quoted by Viva Press as saying: “I wasn’t scared about doing sex scenes. I love pushing and I love scaring myselfï¿½As long as you’re being really honest, there’s nothing ever to be ashamed of.
People are too uptight when it comes to sex.”
She added to E! News: “I can’t say it’s not a little bit jarring, but it’s jarring in the right way. I wanted it to be. I’m really proud of it.”
Recently, there has even been talk that she could star in the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, an erotic novel that has recently become something of a sensation.
Handled correctly, it could finally merge both sides of Stewart’s career – the “girl next door” side and the “doesn’t mind showing her boobs” side.
Oddly enough, the book actually started out as a piece of Twilight fan fiction.
Written by E.L. James, it tells the story of a college student seduced by a billionaire sadomasochist.
It’s the first book in the trilogy, which means there’s tons of franchise potential.
Asked recently whether she would take on the role, she said: “I don’t know yet. I haven’t finished the book.”
Whether or not she takes the part, there’s little doubt that she will continue to make waves.
And if she’s still dating Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson – who is worth just US$26.5 million, according to Forbes – and dominating tabloid headlines, all the better.
Next year, once all the Twilight hubbub has died down, she’s set to appear in the Nick Cassavetes crime thriller Cali.
Just over the past month – with the buzz around On The Road, the success of Snow White, the release of the kick-butt Breaking Dawn trailer, and the announcement of her incredible earnings – it’s become glaringly obvious that Stewart is more than just some teen sensation.
She indeed can shine.
She’s been shining all along.
Source: Asia One