It was early April 2008 and [movie id="369195"]"Twilight"[/movie] hadn't yet become a global box-office phenomenon. That wouldn't happen until the fall, when the adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's first vampire book reeled in $70 million in its first U.S. weekend alone. In the spring, though, when [movieperson id="262629"]Kristen Stewart[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="365131"]Robert Pattinson[/movieperson] were just two up-and-coming actors making a movie for an independent studio, MTV News traveled to the film's Portland, Oregon, set to find out just what was happening with this vampire love story everyone seemed to be talking about.
What we found was a picture of two artists before superstardom set in. In MTV's first-ever interview with Pattinson and Stewart, the duo were alternately shy and revealing, jokey and awkward, self-conscious and utterly sure of what they were doing. The contrast with how they act alone and together these days -- with the press invading every aspect of their personal and professional lives -- is striking.
"Kristen's the best actress of her generation, and that's why I wanted to do this movie," Pattinson said as they stood next to each other in winter coats. "I don't know why she is, but she's better than everyone else."
He started laughing, but it seemed as though his comments were meant to deflect the attention from himself. "You don't want me to talk about you?" Stewart asked, before doing just that.
"I think he's really handsome," she admitted. "He can't lie. He's incapable of lying."
Throughout the interview, they exchanged knowing glances, laughed at themselves and each other, and paused for long periods as they searched for the right word or phrase or anecdote. They also revealed how they prepared to portray Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. Together they watched the NC-17-rated Marlon Brando film "Last Tango in Paris" ("That's kind of what we're basing the entire relationship on in a lot of ways," Pattinson said) and he bought Stewart a copy of Virgil's "Doomed Love." They also studied the script together.
"We sat around my dining room table for two entire nights and read the script," she said.
"Two nights?" he replied. "It was more than two nights."
"It was actually all of pre-production, but there were two nights that were actually productive."
"We did a lot of rehearsing," he laughed. "We're staying two blocks from each other. We hang out quite a bit."
And at this point in their "Twilight" careers, the actors were open, if a bit reluctant, to discuss what it's like to kiss each other on camera.
"His teeth are pretty sharp," Stewart laughed. "It's great. I like it."
"Every time I just try to kill her," Pattinson responded.
"And [Bella] likes it," Stewart said. "She's a total sadomasochist, if you think about it."
Check out everything we've got on "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."
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