PARK CITY, Utah — One year ago this month, [movieperson id="76079"]Kristen Stewart[/movieperson] was a respected young actress known primarily for playing Jodie Foster's daughter in "Panic Room," floating around Sundance with a William Hurt/ Maria Bello indie called "The Yellow Handkerchief." On Monday, she returned to a decidedly different environment.
"[To me], all of a sudden Sundance has become this very commercial thing — which, it started out to be the opposite of that," she told us just minutes after being rushed around Main Street. "So, it is weird to see massive hordes of paparazzi, and people who aren't talking about the movie that I have here. They're talking about something else."
The [movie id="369195"]"Twilight"[/movie] A-lister would prefer that people give some love to "Adventureland," a heartfelt comedy/drama written and directed by "Superbad" director Greg Mottola. And after attending the jam-packed premiere of the film Monday night, we can see why folks may finally come around to KStew's way of thinking.
"It's very honest; it's not manipulative," the 18-year-old said of the Mottola's loosely autobiographical flick, set in an amusement park in 1987. "Greg's films are so real. They're about real people, and it's not trying to be anything. He just takes a snippet of somebody's life."
In the film, Stewart plays Emily, a beautiful-but-damaged carnival game worker who hates her stepmother and is largely ignored by her father. Taking solace in music, parties and the occasional drug-laced cookie, the hardheaded girl seems to have everything in control. But when she finds herself caught between a torrid affair with an older, married man (Ryan Reynolds) and a sweet romance with a virginal new park employee (Jesse Eisenberg), Emily isn't sure she can live with the duplicity.
"She works at the park with these guys, and is as miserable as they are, and they can relate to that," she explained. "She has a really hard time coming out of herself and she — at least for a summer — lets her face hang out for a minute. It's nice to see her loosen up."
Stewart told us that shooting [movie id="363422"]"Adventureland"[/movie] in a real amusement park in Pennsylvania was a relaxed experience, and also a bit therapeutic, since it helped the actress get over a long-held childhood phobia. "I was always afraid of Disneyland," she grinned. "Because there was an urban legend that they used to steal the kids and shave their heads. They'd take them out of the parks, and then the park would shut down [in an emergency] to try to find the bald child. I never wanted to be that child!"
Unlike Emily, however, Stewart doesn't have any qualms about continuing to explore her own dual personalities — jumping between small films like "Adventureland" and blockbusters like "New Moon," which she'll begin shooting in just a few weeks.
"They feel like the same to me," she said. "And then you get questions like, 'How does it feel to do such polar-opposite movies?' Well, the press is different, but the making of the films is always the same for me."
And as the paparazzi waited outside our interview to try to snap more photos of the in-demand star, Stewart insisted that she doesn't plan to change a thing about her approach to acting.
"I've been really lucky to do things [people like]; I could never work on something unless I felt entirely compelled, or else I would just feel baffled and confused in every scene," Stewart said of her unwillingness to reside permanently in either the "indie" or "blockbuster" box. "It's not like a thought-out thing. I did [the movies I've made in the past year], and one of them got really popular, and the others were appreciated by some and dismissed by others. It doesn't matter; it's just the process of doing them."
The MTV Movies team is the braving Utah temperatures, celebrity-packed screenings and swag-filled parties at this year's Sundance Film Festival to bring you news and sneak peeks of the big screen's next big things. Head over to the MTV Movies blog for reviews, interviews, clips and more.