Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne’s Road Trip Romance
We’re with Kristen in Beverly Hills!
Before the “Twilight” phenomenon, a just turned 17-year-old Kristen Stewart was in the post-Katrina New Orleans area filming a sensitive, warm and romantic road trip film called The Yellow Handkerchief in which she plays a beautiful but rejected-by-guys teen ready for a new adventure in life.
At her side in the film is a very cute Brit actor named Eddie Redmayne (of The Other Boleyn Girl) who was surprised to be cast as a quirky, vagabond young American guy from Oklahoma!
These two share a few kisses in the film and were both nervous and anxious to do their “getting-to-know-you” scenes justice. We wanted to know which scenes intimidated Kristen and what she learned from bigtime actor William Hurt on the project.
Why were she and Eddie worried about their final kiss in the movie? You'll find out.
Kristen told us that she didn’t get to party in New Orleans because she was very underage (you might feel her pain).
We think Kristen is as sensitive as the character she plays in the film. When she talks about her teen character Martine, is she sort of talking about herself? Check out what else we learned about acting and this touching road trip movie from Kristen and her cute co-star!
Q: This was probably your first big lead role in a film. Was that an adjustment to play the lead at that time?
Kristen: Anytime you have to play a person who is not yourself, you’re stepping out of a comfort zone but that’s what we do and if the role is bigger that’s just more to chew on and that’s always good.
Eddie: There is more of a sense of responsibility. What was great about this film is that it’s an ensemble piece in the sense that it really is about the four of us, I’m certain Kristen and I felt in incredibly safe hands having William (Hurt) and Maria (Bello) around us and because of the intensity of the film, having three of us in a car for three months shooting, we ended up being close as a trio which is wonderful because any fears or problems you have, you have the other two to turn to.
Q: Kristen, your character Martine has bad luck with guys. Her dad has a new girlfriend and is sort of ignoring her and a guy at the first of the film kind of dumps her. So, what do you think it was about Eddie’s character Gordy than finally won her over?
Kristen: I think she probably wouldn’t have needed to be won over had she just opened her eyes and not been so affected by the other guys who had hurt her. I think that she’s the type of girl who really wants to let her face hang out and every time she does that or puts herself out there, she get embarrassed or disappointed by people. I think the journey that they take, there are a lot of revelatory things that happen. For me, what really made Martine re-evaluate him was how Brett (the Hurt character) looked at him and moreso, there’s this thing that happens; we hit a deer with the car and he does this thing and she has this…. (pausing)
Eddie: Emotional reaction to it.
Kristen: Yeah. There you go. And, he helps me earlier as well. It’s about a girl who is dropping prejudices as well that she really didn’t know she had. She’s becoming more open to people. She was very closed off in the beginning and realizes ‘I don’t want to be like that actually at all’.
Eddie: A lot of the film is about prejudice, pre-judgment.
Eddie: And that’s what I love about it. Even though these characters have been prejudiced against, they also have their own prejudices and that’s what’s kind of overwhelming about all of it.
It’s about everyone dropping their guard and seeing people for who they really are beneath the veneer. Whether it’s the eccentric quality of Gordy or the self-guardedness of Martine or just the holding back of the Brett character, it’s about seeing through that translucency and finding something real.
Q: Eddie, how much a fish out of water did you feel when you started this movie and when did it click in and you felt a part of the movie and America?
Eddie: That’s a wonderful question. The truth of the matter is, when I got sent the script and asked to audition for it, I thought it was madness, I thought it was absurd and I said ‘really? Go to New York and audition for this? Guys, it’s never gonna happen’ (Kristen is laughing). ‘It’s playing an adopted Native American from northern Oklahoma. Do you really think it’s gonna happen?’ (laughter).
I’d never gone to an audition caring less because I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in Hell and I went in five minutes, threw this ridiculous audition down, left the room not caring what was going on ‘I’ll never hear back from that’. And, when it did happen, Udayan (Prasad) the director, coaxed me into it.
On set one of our first days, I was terrified. I’d done lots of work with a dialect coach and done some research but it was like ‘right, f**k it! Here goes!’ (laughter) It was a deep breath and I was well aware that I could end up with egg on my face. But ‘why not give it a shot’. (we think he was wonderful in the movie).
Q: Did either of you have a particularly challenging scene or one that you were either not looking forward to or wanted to get to so badly that you couldn’t wait?
Eddie: I had one scene when we’re in the motel and it’s pouring with rain outside and we kiss. I got to kiss her for the first time and (I say), ‘If I kiss you, then all the temptation will go away’ and she’s like ‘really?’
Kristen: And she’s like, ‘really’? (laughter)
Eddie: It’ll go away? But it was only because the producer kept saying ‘this is the scene’ and I’m like ‘This is the scene? How much can my eyes do in this scene to make it work?’
Kristen: That really was ‘the scene’ too. It was really a big deal, especially the way it was written. My character was so explosive and so sensitive and just like (frustrated breath). You would never expect from this tiny little thing, so much. Like (her saying) ‘what is wrong with you?’
Her problems are so far away from anything that he could understand. You have these two things like opposite sides of a magnet that just ‘flip them over!’ You know what I mean?
Eddie: On stage you could have an hour to build up to that explosion whereas when you’re filming on set, Kristen has to wipe away the tears. ‘Cut! Sorry the focus was wrong. Cut! And go again, ‘stop!’ It completely cools her freaking out and it’s tricky. It’s just different.
Kristen: And even watching this, I’d already seen the movie once but I’m like ‘bluh (negative?) okay’.
Q: So that would be your scene too?
Kristen: That was what I was most intimidated by just technically speaking in that she’s so explosive in that scene and so emotional and so raw in that moment and you don’t know her yet very well. It was a very defining moment for her. If you do that wrong, if it seems out of nowhere, if I seem like an explosive, weird, emotional girl for no reason arbitrarily, that’s what I was nervous about.
The characters were drawn so wholly and completely that, if we didn’t play them that way, it would not have made sense. It would have been like ‘this is a bit of a random story’ because it’s so quaint. It’s not like all these plot events happen so all of the little character things….
Eddie: What’s unspoken.
Kristen: Yeah, yeah. So I was nervous about that but the last scene of the movie is what I really was putting everything in. It was written differently as well. We were in a car and they went further. They drove away and wanted to come back and see something.
We got there and didn’t have a whole lot of time to shoot and it was raining and it was like ‘okay, we’ve got ten minutes to get this’. The way it was written, she was so emotional. Everything effects her. She’s thin-skinned and feels everything so much and that moment where everything comes to fruition, she’s deeply affected.
Eddie: And there is an ambiguity to that. It’s not ‘oh, they lived happily ever after’. I think it worked in the film where we are there and we watch them (Hurt and Bello) together but we’re not comfortable yet together.
Kristen: At all! It’s not we’re together now and they’re together. It’s like we’re parents looking at our kids (kissing and) going ‘awww’.
Eddie: You’re right. It’s so much in the script. We both read the script and reacted incredibly emotionally to it. But, there is so much on the set. That’s why it’s both a dream for actors and a challenge for actors, this film, because it’s about filling in the spaces and making the people who are idiosyncratic people feel real.
That last moment, if we had played it slightly close together (he pulls her closer), it would have told a completely different story for the ending.
Q: What was it like for you, as young actors working with cool, experienced actor William Hurt?
Kristen: Yeah, we’ve been talking about that all day. He’s absolutely the most attentive hardworking actor I’ve ever worked with. I say that a lot about actors that I Iike to work with. I say that about a lot of people ‘oh they’re really hard-working. I really appreciate them’ but he is absolutely, you don’t know more than him.
But, regarding the story, he just makes you work so much harder to understand. I wouldn’t understand this movie as I do if it wasn’t for him. I’d have a completely different impression I’m sure.
Eddie: He would have us in his trailer reading a book of short stories about the South. It was so important to him that a fifth character in the piece was Louisiana about getting under the skin of what that place was about. It was never-ending, his commitment to it. A lot of people including myself, when I started doing films, see people turning up at premieres in fancy dresses and say ‘oh, these actors swan from one thing to another’ but I’ve never seen someone work with such continual commitment that, for both of us, it raised our game, no question.
Q: Any particular example of how he helped you guys?
Eddie: Not only would he help us, but there were three of us in a car and in one scene, just after a fight has broken out at this store, William drives off the car quickly and it’s the first time that Gordy breaks and says ‘I can’t deal with this’ and Kristen and I sat in the back of the car having this conversation and William is driving, he kept giving us ideas.
Kristen: And he didn’t look back, he just kept driving (she indicates him holding the steering wheel staring straight ahead) (laughter).
Eddie: And there’s also a risk on film, you feel like you have to underplay things and he was like ‘go for it’. He gave us the balls to go for it and to lose fear. Yeah, we learned a lot.
Q: How big a challenge was 43 different locations?
Eddie: We were all over the place.
Kristen: Yeah. We were everywhere. It was cool though because it was a road trip movie so we felt like we were on that a little bit.
Eddie: And the continuity was the car so we had this thing that did become part of us.
Kristen: That’s such a cool idea.
Eddie: And what’s lovely is often, on film, you have hundreds of different people coming in doing various things and camera angles but because there were three of us geographically confined by the space of the car it meant that people had to kind of stay out. It was the actors so we could work together.
Q: Did either of you get to go have fun in New Orleans at all or were you busy shooting every day.
Kristen: I think I was 17 but, if I was, I was freshly 17. I’d just turned 17 so I didn’t really go out. I love New Orleans and I’ve worked there since…also underage. I’m sooo underage and New Orleans is such a ‘going out’ town that just walking around is awesome.
It’s an amazing place to be. You can go see music but you have to stand outside the club and be like (she looks sad), oh great. (laughter).
You were awesome in the movie. So believable.
Kristen: (smiles) Oh, thank you!