riginally, I only watched Adventureland because Kristen starred, and it didn't hurt that Ryan Reynolds was in it too. The trailers are a bit misleading, but it's really just an honest coming-of-age story set in the 80s (if you love nostalgic music...). I was wary of the fact the director also did Superbad--which I saw in theaters and I ask myself why--and that just wasn't my cup of humor, but Jesse Eisenberg's quirky but cute portrayal of James had me laughing. And Kristen? Well, you can guess my thoughts.
I don't know when my Twilight blog turned into a commentary about Kristen but I just find her completely fascinating, and I'm certainly not alone in my sentiments because so are the people that know and have worked with her.
Anyway, this time I watched Adventureland with the DVD commentary given by Jesse Eisenberg and Greg Mottola--who wrote his film semi-autobiographically, and I picked up all the bits where Kristen is mentioned. Their funny dialogue is mostly about the music, filming logistics, and the director's personal experiences, but there are some interesting notes about Kristen that I did my best to transcribe for you (these also appear chronologically in the movie):
The first time Kristen comes on camera as her character, Em:
Jesse: ..And Kristen.
Greg: And Kristen Stewart. Who apparently was in a movie about... undead people.
J: ...This is a bevy of introductions.
G: I should have probably had the vampire element in the film, I should have probably foreshadowed it earlier, but you'll see later, it comes up.
The scene after Em and James come out of her pool:
J: ..and Kristen fell in love with this song, she would play it all the time on our little iPods that we received.
G: She did didn't she?
J: Yeah, she loved this. I think it was actually playing in one of the--was it this song? ...I think while we were filming this scene, like coming out of her iPod, during this scene I think that song started playing.
G: Yeah I think it did, yeah. And sometimes I did play music just to set the mood for you guys.
The song that they are talking about is Big Star's I'm In Love With a Girl:
The scene with Em and Ryan Reynolds' character, Connell:
G: So, what the hell is he doing kissing her?
J: See I pretend like this scene is not in the movie.
G: Well, that was good for your character but, guess what, we finished the movie, there's no more reshoots, Jesse, you can let it go.
J: I think you can do something.
The scene at the bridge with Em and James:
G: We had no time to shoot any coverage on this scene, we couldn't light it, so we really just made up of those two shots, and you know, sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, sometimes it just means Jesse's forced to do kissing scenes over and over. Again with no coverage and, I can think of a worse fate I suppose, but we'll leave it at that.
J: Coverage does mean more, more times...
G: More kissing...Because Kristen was 17 when we shot it, (J: That's right it would have to be with a, uh..) You would've been making out with a teamster in a wig so...
J (laughing): I was always wondering why you gave me a teamster...seems like there would be other positions on set that would be more appropriate fill-ins for that.
The scene where Em tells James about her parents at her house:
G: This is a scene that I think--I mean I think Kristen's wonderful throughout the movie, one of the things I love about her is how she did this little speech coming up here. You know when I was auditioning people for this role, the tendency--and understandably so--the tendency was to treat this speech as a somber confession, which is probably how I even heard it in my head when I wrote it, but Kristen really had the instincts, I think, to tell this very sad story, kind of like "Hey want to hear something that's screwed up?" A very matter-of-fact way which I think is very psychologically true to somebody who has had a tragedy but they haven't processed it yet... they haven't gone through all the feelings yet. This is the only way you can talk about something that bad if you haven't processed it and the fact that she acted it that way would also, from a story point of view, would make sense that James would be scared by--knowing "Oh, this person is in the middle of something very bad and I don't know, I don't know how I fit into that," (J: Right.) but also, I mean, Kristen is a real--she's got amazing instincts as an actor, and if I could, I would have had her also play the role of James (J (laughs): Yeah.) if i had the technology, but you know...
J: Does that mean I would get to be in the Twilight movie?
G: No, that doesn't mean that.
J: Seems unfair. That seemed like an equal exchange.
The scene where Em and James get into a fight in the street (Greg and Jesse are talking about how it would be funny to do a mash-up between this fight scene and a similar fight scene on the street that's in Superbad between Jonah Hill's and Michael Cera's characters):
G: I think the idea of Jonah Hill getting into a fight with Kristen would be pretty good...
The street scene where James finds Em in New York City (Greg and Jesse are talking about how they went back to reshoot the rainy street scene on location, rather than previously where they were just trying to make it look like New York City):
J: Yeah, but I hadn't acted at that point in like eight months in anything, Kristen had been in like 10 movies and was on billboards all over the place when we shot that so I just remember being like, I felt like I just had no confidence going into this scene--and it plays.
G: I think you're very good in this scene, you pulled it together.
The end scene in Em's apartment:
G: This was shot in Pittsburgh.
J: Yeah this was not only the last scene, this was the last scene we filmed.
G: This was the last scene we filmed, and because it needed to be nighttime outside we filmed fairly late, and it was interesting to end the movie on the final scene. I think in this case it was a very good thing (J: Yeah.)--um, not for Kristen cause she had to kiss you, she, you know, but that's, you know...
J: Good for the rest of us really.
G: Yeah, well.
J: Yeah, no, it was so cathartic, you know you work on something for a long period of time, and as an actor you know you're like in it emotionally as well as there every day, and so to end with this scene, really felt like--
G: Yeah and for me even, you know, from the perspective of trying to put this thing together, to do this at the very end and to try to figure out how to explain how to act this, or talk about it or not talk about it or not get in your way in all that, I mean, it's very hard to do scenes like this. I give you guys an enormous amount of credit for letting yourselves be so, so vulnerable and intimate and--
J: No it was fun to do because you create, you know, like the last line in the movie (laughs), "Are we doing this, are we doing this?"--like it was never this like--it was never supposed to look like this perfected romantic scene, it was this very new, you know fun thing and--
G: Yeah, cause I didn't want it to be a scene about sex. It's a scene about, you know, the beginnings of love, what love actually is, you know the movie is about discovering that love is not some romantic fantasy about soulmates, it's about letting somebody close to you and loving them for their strengths and their flaws and all that stuff, and you know the little laugh that Kristen gives at the very end of the movie is something that makes me quite happy, it's the look in both of your eyes, and then her just having that moment--even in my mind, who knows what relationship this will be. It's sort of beside the point, it's the fact that he was willing to--able and willing to--get to this step was a good thing for him...
If you haven't seen Adventureland, and you're a fan of Kristen's--actually no that wouldn't make sense if you haven't seen it yet. Instead, I'll say if you want to check out the commentary yourself, it's entertaining. Maybe not as entertaining as Rob, Catherine, and Kristen bantering away in the Twilight commentary, but worthwhile nonetheless.
And just because, here's Kristen at the Sundance screening of Adventureland last year (isn't it cute that her dad is there?):
Oh, and fun fact! One Twilight connection I never realized that I found out in this commentary is that the redhead, Sue, is played by Paige Howard in her movie debut--she is Ron Howard's daughter, and younger sister to Bryce Dallas!