At a press conference in Los Angeles on Friday to promote New Moon, the film’s star Kristen Stewart talked openly and at length about the evolution of her character Bella between Twilight and this second film, including why filming the breakup scenes between Bella and Robert Pattinson‘s Edward Cullen was “the scariest thing.”

On the Development of Her Character in New Moon:
“What I really love about New Moon is that you see this girl build herself back up and by the time she makes this sort of rash decision to spend eternity with a vampire she’s in a position where you actually believe her. You’re like, ‘Okay, you’re old enough, you’re mature enough to know. You’ve lived life.’ She grows up. I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore.”

On the Breakup Scene with Edward:
“That was the scariest thing. I was almost as worried about messing it up than I was about what I actually should have been thinking about which was the issues that Bella is dealing with. Reading it, it’s so iconic. There’s nothing like that moment in reality even. It’s not even like a normal breakup scene. I know what’s it like to get broken up with but I don’t know what it’s like to get broken up with by a vampire who I’ve now been physically and chemically altered by. Suddenly you take an addict, you take whatever they’re addicted to away from them and there’s withdrawal. So that was the most intimidating scene in the entire movie. I don’t know how to explain how I did it…

“I mean, the breakup scene that I did with Rob, that’s not where it happens yet. That’s not where I was intimidated. That was still, like she doesn’t even believe it yet. It’s when he goes, the absence of him that I was scared of. I was like, ‘How am I going to by myself in the woods with a hundred guys standing around me, filming me, die?’ Basically, literally having the equivalent of like a death scene but stay alive and get up and keep walking. It was hard. It was really intimidating. I still don’t know. I’ve seen the movie. I really like the movie but I don’t know if anyone ever really would’ve been able to bring that to life the way that Stephanie Meyer writes it.”

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On Working with New Moon Director Chris Weitz:
“Chris has everything. I think to be a good director you have to be a good person and you have to care about people. I don’t know a more compassionate human being. I couldn’t have done this unless I had such a believable environment, a comfortable and safe environment to be so vulnerable in. He provided that tenfold. He’s one of the coolest, one of the smartest and funniest guys I know. He really loves the project as well. He wasn’t just jumping on the next big thing. So it wasn’t about breaking him in at all. He only helped make everything better. He made everything what it is. He’s incredible. I love him.

“Chris did a very different thing that I’ve never had a director do. He put together, it’s like a syllabus almost of what we were supposed to achieve and how he was going to make it easier for everyone, sort of an introduction to how he likes to work. It didn’t only introduce the idea of collaboration, it was like inviting everyone onto this project and saying, ‘Please, everyone love it, and please, everyone be invested and work hard.’ It was very encouraging.”

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On the Attempt to Recast the Part of Jacob Black for New Moon:
“I think that controversy has probably been like made bigger than it was. We needed to be sure that whoever played Jacob was going to be Jacob in New Moon. He’s such a different person. He becomes a man. There’s an entire thing. It’s not just a physical transformation. He really becomes an adult. I mean I always knew that Taylor could do that but we just needed to make sure because it was so important. So once he actually proved himself, which wasn’t hard to do, even seeing him walk around on set was like a different experience. He’s literally become a different person. He’s just grown up. He’s so confident and the nicest guy that I’ve ever met. I know that I’m using this grammatically incorrect but he’s the funnest guy I’ve ever hung out with. So he’s great. I’m so proud of him.”

On Having to Ride a Motorcycle for Her Role:
“I’m definitely never going to be a biker. The idea of riding, I mean I’m scared of cars so the idea of riding a motorcycle is just never going to be something that I’m into. I was towed ridiculously. I was on the back of this truck and I probably looked funny doing it. Taylor rode motorcycles really well. There’s this one part that’s sort of undeniably him. He rides up and skids. I left that to him. I wasn’t about to do that. I don’t even think that they would let me necessarily. They would have more faith in Taylor to do that.”

On Filming Scenes in Italy:
“The fact that we didn’t have to be on a set and we were really in Italy, it makes it so much easier to immerse yourself in this world. It was so cool that we got to go to Italy and that we didn’t have to fake it…. To go from Forks to Italy is such a stark contrast and romantic just in the idea of it. So then to be there and feel it, of course it helps to have the real environment.”

On Bella as a Role Model for Young Women:
“I think that Bella is such a good character for girls not to look up to because it’s not looking up. The fact that she’s normal, and I think the most typically relatable thing is that she’s awesome and she doesn’t know it and she’s very sort of confident but also not arrogant… I think she is a good example for a young girl.”

On Becoming Attached to Her Character:
“I’m very protective of her. I feel a shared ownership. It’s weird. If you were talk about the character in a way that was not at all thought out or flippant I would be right there to say that you didn’t know what you were talking about. I’m so defensive of her. So, yeah, I feel like I like her a lot.”

On What to Expect from Eclipse:
Eclipse is such that, just like New Moon, it sort of starts and becomes a completely new movie. Just as soon as you think you’re going to get the same story it’s sort all of a sudden that it completely changes. Bella is much more back to herself. She’s content now. She’s comfortable and self-assured in a way that she wasn’t in New Moon.

“I think what I really love about Eclipse, what was interesting for me to explore, was different levels of love and acknowledging that the ideals that you maybe had a little while ago aren’t true. Bella is innately honest. That’s something that I feel she is. In Eclipse she lies to herself and she lies to everyone around her about the fact that she’s in love with Jacob, just not as much. It’s not that extra thing that you can’t really even describe.

“I loved watching the three of them. I loved playing with the three characters together. There’s literally a scene where Edward and Jacob, who are mortal enemies, are in a tent with a sleeping Bella in between them. It’s a ridiculous circumstance to find yourself in. We had so much to work with.

On Working with New Cast Member Bryce Dallas Howard in Eclipse:
Bryce is scary. She’s really oddly sweet as well. So it’s funny to see her switch back and forth, but Victoria for Bella is like an ever-present fear. Even when Victoria isn’t around she’s scared that she’s coming back. Bryce is such a good actress and it was easy to be scared of her.

On Her Expectations for Breaking Dawn:
“I can’t wait to do the fourth one because I’m sure that I’m going to come in and say that everything I said this time was wrong, that I actually know Bella more now. And actually we have such established dynamics. The way that I know Bella deals with Edward, you sort of can’t mess with that. I know how she deals with him. I know how she deals with Jacob. I know how she deals with Charlie, her dad, and to have people come in and help that process out is only cooler. You always get a different perspective.”

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