BEVERLY HILLS, California — Asking fans to name the best "Twilight Saga" actor inevitably results in a debate only slightly less passionate than the topic of whether "Breaking Dawn" was a worthy finale for the novels. No matter who your pick is, however, it's hard to deny that at the tender age of 19, [movieperson id="262629"]Kristen Stewart[/movieperson] has positioned herself to become a dominant Hollywood actress for decades to come.
With more than 20 movies under her belt, acclaim in such wide-ranging flicks as "Into the Wild," "Panic Room" and "Adventureland," and praise from the likes of Jodie Foster and Ryan Reynolds, KStew is undoubtedly an actress to watch.
But according to her, it was next week's [movie id="414921"]"New Moon"[/movie] that demanded some of the most difficult work yet in her young career.
"That's what I try to do," she laughed when told that her acting in the November 20 film, which KStew often carries on her shoulders alone, was already earning raves from audiences who've seen the film.
"It was hard to do, because I had to go back and forth from being pulled out of that deep depression," Stewart said of the plot that has Bella on the verge of suicide as she's torn between Robert Pattinson's Edward and Taylor Lautner's Jacob. "Within a day, I'd have to go back and forth from doing a scene with and without Jacob. So I would have to be dead, zombie Bella who's just absolutely destroyed, to waking up again."
In many of the Jacob scenes, KStew had to be in a giggly state of puppy love. In the Edward scenes, she was required to act like a suicidal Juliet without her Romeo. In many key "New Moon" scenes, Stewart had to do everything from bawl her eyes out in bed to thrill-ride on motorcycles to frantically running across a crowded Italian plaza to save her lover.
"The first ['Twilight'] movie was all about thrusting yourself into something and being impulsive," Stewart said of how the acting necessities have changed between the first two films. "It was all about discovery and first love and abandon. And so that's like a little bit more thoughtless. I went to work. It was a more natural approach.
" 'New Moon' was more labor-intensive," she admitted. "Because everything that we established in the first movie, we basically come in and say that [Bella] was just wrong. And so, that's how I start off the movie. As 'New Moon' begins, she knows that she's going to get broken up with, so it's this natural progression of seeing a girl who you saw being so confident in herself to something so daring and new to her.
"Now [Bella needs to] actually get to know herself in a way that you could say, 'OK, these big decisions that she's making, maybe she's smart enough and in a position in her life to make them,' " Stewart said of what she felt she needed to do with the character. "So it's labor-intensive in that it was more emotional. She literally goes into the depths of [depression]. I had to imagine what it would be like — not just not be broken up with and be devastated, but it's this other world of reality that's not anything that I've ever felt.
"It's close to death," Stewart explained. "And I've never died. So it was always, how do I [do this]? I've been depressed and sad, but how do I go further than that?
"It's a movie set and a different reality," she explained of Bella's intensified "New Moon" situation. "And that was what was really difficult for me."
MTV delves deep into the "Twilight" universe with two can't-miss specials: "Love Bites" chronicles the budding rumored romance between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart on Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, while "New Moon Revealed" will feature die-hard fans as they gather to meet the saga's stars Monday at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Check out everything we've got on "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."
For young Hollywood news, fashion and "Twilight" updates around the clock, visit HollywoodCrush.MTV.com.