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‘Yellow Handkerchief’ star Kristen Stewart chats about choosing roles

Kristen Stewart, star of the new film The Yellow Handkerchief, told reporters that she doesn’t spend much time strategizing what roles she should play, either personally or professionally. “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,” Stewart said in a roundtable interview February 18 in Beverly Hills, Calif. “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, [is] 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 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,” she explained. “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.”

In The Yellow Handkerchief, Stewart plays Martine, a troubled teenager who begins to find herself when she gets lost with an ex-convict (William Hurt) and a hyperactive teenage drifter (Eddie Redmayne). She explained that Martine’s appeal was her ordinariness, but also the seeming self-discovery of a girl who starts off isolated from everyone despite her appeal, and especially her age. “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’,” Stewart said.

“I feel like she’s also isolated herself in terms of she’s put herself above everyone else. 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.”

One might expect that after the success of the Twilight films, Stewart would be fending away offers for any- and everything. She admitted there are plenty of people out there trying to make money off of her visibility, but that also means lots of different opportunities – which is what she’s always wanted as an actress. “I mean, it’s not like I’m getting [every offer],” she said. “It’s not like everyone’s like, ‘oooh.’ [And] you always sort of don’t look at scripts that are very clearly just a 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.”

Stewart’s next movie to be released is The Runaways, a chronicle of the rise and fall of the famous all-girl rock band from the 1970s. After that, it’s back to the Twilight grindstone, where she will reprise her role as Bella for a fourth time in Breaking Dawn. Stewart said that the prospect of picking parts, and then finding them picked apart by critics or fans, is something she hasn’t tried to think about too consciously. “Really I follow, to put it absolutely lamely, my heart,” Stewart said. “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.”

The Yellow Handkerchief opens in limited release on February 26, 2010.

About Todd Gilchrist

Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based film critic and entertainment journalist. Over the past decade he worked at a variety of online and print publications, including the Miami New Times, Filmstew.com, SCI FI Wire, and IGN.com, where he wrote reviews, conducted interviews with actors and filmmakers, and edited Movies, DVD and Music content. He currently works for Cinematical.com among other outlets, and has been a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association since 2005.

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