Twilight Saga alumnus Kristen Stewart has come back to small films. She plays Lydia, the youngest child of Alice, played by Julianne Moore, in Still Alice. Lydia is struggling with her career as an actress, but also she is brave enough to ask honest questions of her mom. Is there anything in common with Kristen herself?
Q: How challenging was it to come back to that mindset of a struggling actress when you are a megastar?
One of the greatest struggles as somebody becoming an adult is figuring out what they want to do and what makes them happy. I think Lydia actually figured it out quite early. The courageous thing is to stick with it and see it through, see if you were correct. I admire her for the same reasons why I admire some of my friends who have not achieved what they ultimately would have liked to in their wildest dreams. They are still working for it. I am fortunate enough to have outlet after outlet at my disposal. I am still looking for them though. With every project you feel like you are trying to find your place to vent. For any actor that is typically the feeling that drives you to do it. I can relate because if I stopped working tomorrow I would have these impulses, these feelings to get out and have these desires to explore. I still can completely relate. I feel that way every time I am approaching the idea of taking on a responsibility as great as saying that I am good enough to be in your movie. It’s a huge statement to make, and every time I do, I think, “Is this the right choice?”
Q: Lydia is very accepting and mature about her mom’s condition. She asks questions that no other siblings would ask. If you were in a similar situation, would you be like your character?
Lydia is this artistically inclined person that is not entirely comfortable having the answers. She does not profess to tell you exactly what she wants. What she is telling you is, “I don’t know what I want, and that is okay and I am traversing that.” I think that it is easier for a child to appreciate and live in the moment. You can’t have a final answer about how it is all going to work out. You can’t call it by a name so it’s still worth living in that potentially wonderful moment, whereas somebody who wants to map it all out and if they can’t solve it like an equation, then they can’t have it in their lives. Whereas I can relate to my character in that I definitely don’t have the answers and that is not what I am looking for. I’m not the kind of person who says, “I just need to feel concrete or I just need to feel like nothing’s going to change.” I revel in the change. She is not emotionally stronger. It is not strength, it’s just the way people are. I think within this story and within anyone’s story or anyone’s reality that might be similar, I hope to God that they have someone who doesn’t need the answer and is just willing to sit there and forget every other sentence and still enjoy the afternoon.
Q: How did you like working with Julianne?
Well, we’ve known each other for a few years. I knew I could play her daughter. I just knew that I could have this relationship with her, and we probably only spent cumulatively before this movie very little time together. But what I came to find was other things than I expected. Obviously she transcends the technical aspect of what she does, yet she masters it. It sounds silly for me to speak to this, but I have watched a lot of people do this and I was really fueled by the fact that she liked to straddle the emotional and spontaneous and scary side. I’ve done everything I can up until this point to deliver this, but once I’m there I’m letting myself be there. I love her, and it’s weird to talk about it in the room like this (Julianne is sitting next to Kristen), but I am candidly and embarrassingly saying straight up that… if you called her a jerk, we would have serious problems [laughs].
Still Alice opens in theaters on January 19th.