A new identity: With finale at hand, Kristen Stewart talks on her evolving 'Twilight' role

Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, from left, star in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2."

Photo by Andrew Cooper, © 2011 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, from left, star in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2."

Brought back from near-death by Edward after childbirth, Bella begins her new life as a vampire and mother to their daughter, Renesmee. When the Volturi ...

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity

Length: 116 minutes

Released: November 16, 2012 Nationwide

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer

More info and showtimes »

HOLLYWOOD — Kristen Stewart arrives for a press conference looking a tad anxious. No wonder. She's been beaten up in the press as of late over her alleged affair with a married director and cheating on her hunky "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson. The incident played out earlier this year, and recently led to a reconciliation between the two young stars. They were spotted together on Halloween in Hollywood — Pattinson in a cheap 7-11 mask and Stewart in a pink wig inspired by Natalie Portman's character in "Black Swan."

While that real-life soap opera has played out in public, Stewart has a job to do. The young brunette is promoting the fifth and final installment of "The Twilight Saga" movies, based on the popular Stephenie Meyer books. The movies, about vampires and werewolves, have become a Hollywood juggernaut and a worldwide box office sensation.

The private drama between Stewart and Pattinson has only stoked interest in the release of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part II," in which Stewart's formerly human Bella comes to terms with her new identity as a vampire, wife and mother. She and undead hubby Edward (Pattinson) fight to protect their half-human, half-vampire child from an angry sect of vampires called the Volturi.

Though Stewart puts on a confident air as she sits down to tackle questions from the press, she is visibly shaking with nervousness. She is dressed in a pullover black and blue top (symbolic?), jeans and white sneakers.

Q: Now that your character, Bella, is a vampire in this one, did you feel like she was let out of a cage?

Stewart: I was really lucky to have played human Bella for so long. The best aspects of every vampire, all of their gifts, everything that makes them really special is always an enhanced version of what they were when they were human. I really did get to play an incredibly well rounded version of a vampire, because I actually got to take those steps for real.

Q: Did you keep any props or parts of your costume as a memento?

Stewart: Yeah. I kept the rings. The rings are really important to me. Her mother gives her a moon ring in the beginning. It fully and completely reminds me of (the first "Twilight" director) Catherine Hardwicke every time I look at it.

Q: Rob said the moment that he realized how big this franchise was going to be was when you went to Munich in 2008 and stepped before a crowd of 30,000 cheering fans. When did the realization hit you?

Stewart: It's grown so much, even recently, so I don't know if we ever realized the extent that it's gotten to. But (attending our first San Diego) Comic-Com, for me, was the first time I was ever hit with a wave of human energy that was like, "this is not a normal movie." We always really approached "Twilight," as something that felt so very much like our own. That first dose of sharing it with the (audience), the first dose of looking up and seeing something that's really affected you and moved you, does the same thing to other people, was like mindblowing. The greatest part of the job is to be able to share that.

Q: You finally got to kick some butt in this one. Did you embrace that and how much did you like that kind of thing?

Stewart: I broke my thumb on the first or second day. (She laughs.) That was really frustrating, but it was fun. I got a little taste of it when we were in Italy. The physicality was so important then and it finally became important again. I have been on the sidelines for so long, and just itching, going, "God, I think I could do that pretty well. I think I could do that pretty well. I think those contacts are going to look pretty cool." So I was like bursting to do it, which I think is why I probably broke my thumb. I was a little bit overzealous.

Q: If you could pause your life at one moment in time, what age would you be?

Stewart: I'm not there yet, so I'm not sure. I can't wait to get to that point.

Q: Bella's journey ends in her late teens. How did that come to parallel with your own journey, since you were nearly the same age while filming this?

Stewart: It's just about that period where you are like "Wait, do I go with this, or is that crazy?" I think that ultimately the answer for me is "Absolutely." You question yourself along the way constantly, and I don't think that you should ever stop doing that necessarily. You should always constantly question everything, push harder, but I think it just gets a little easier. I don't know, I definitely feel a little bit more realized — a lot more actually — and maybe, just by chance, we happen to be the same age. It's kind of hard to put yourself there completely, but I think I have grown up a little bit.

Q: Can you talk about the effect these movies have had on your career?

Stewart: A question that I can't answer is, "What do you want to do next? What's your dream role? What are you really looking to do, where do you see yourself?" It doesn't make any sense because that's such an outsiders' perspective. You're responding to other people's perspective of you, which is so weird. That said, things have fallen in my lap and I've been incredibly lucky to get the right things. I've gotten to meet people that share them. If I can keep doing that, I would be a happy girl.

Q: You got to play a mom in this movie. Did that make you look differently at your own mom? Did it make you want to be a mom?

Stewart: I don't know. It might be something that you are sort of born with or not born with. Some people have really, really strong natural instincts, a really strong desire to be a mom. It was one of my favorite things about the story from Day One. How has it changed (me)? I don't know. I don't think it's changed much. I've always really had a great relationship with my mom and she can be a bit feral when it comes to being a mom. I think that's kind of just what it is.

Q: But do you want to be pregnant and have one of your own?

Stewart: Dude! I can't wait to be a mom, but like, I can wait. (She laughs.)

Q: You, Rob and Taylor Lautner have been at the center of not just the "Twilight" story, but the "Twilight" phenomenon, which has got to be a pretty singular experience. Can you talk about the bonds that the three of you have formed?

Stewart: Yeah, it's nice not to be alone in that, I guess. I get asked, "How is it going to be to walk away from this?" I genuinely feel like I don't have to walk anywhere. It's what I love about this job. I wouldn't have done it in the first place if it weren't something I was always going to carry, and I think they feel the same way. They tell me they do.

Q: Are you glad it's over?

Stewart: I am so happy that the story is told; you have no idea. We had five years and so the fact that this thing is out and it's not weighing on us anymore, I'm super excited about that. But I don't want it to sound like I am excited just to be done with the experience because, to be honest, I will definitely miss it. But, again, I feel like it's not going anywhere.

Q: Rob said he's not a fan of the word "franchise." Would you be open to doing another film that's a series?

Stewart: It depends. It's hard to sign onto something before you know what it's going to be.

Q: What if they wanted to sign you up for in this case four or five films? Would you do that?

Stewart: My guess is probably not, it's just really rare to find something that lends itself to that. I would also probably want to know where it was going. I've never been a really huge fan of any comic book, so no, as of now, probably not, but never say never.

Q: Would you like to live forever as vampires do?

Stewart: No.

Q: You have done a lot of press for this. Is there something that you haven't been asked but want to say?Stewart: No, I don't think so. (She laughs.)

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