inside film

How Kristen Stewart went from Twilight’s ‘most hated actor’ to indie provocateur

The former ‘Twilight’ star has carved out a formidable career in the indie world. Her new queer romance-thriller ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ may be her most fearless project yet, writes Geoffrey Macnab

Friday 23 February 2024 06:17 GMT
Kristen Stewart at Berlinale to promote her new movie ‘Love Lies Bleeding’
Kristen Stewart at Berlinale to promote her new movie ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ (Getty)

Early on in Love Lies Bleeding, Kristen Stewart attempts to unblock a toilet. It’s a truly filthy spectacle as she sticks her hand down the bowl – shades of Trainspotting’s “worst toilet in Scotland”. As recently as 2021, Stewart was playing royalty, as a harrowed Princess Diana in Spencer. But Love Lies Bleeding makes it clear: she’s still not afraid of getting her hands dirty.

Directed by Rose Glass, the new film is an outrageous lesbian noir thriller set in the 1980s. Ex-Twilight star Stewart plays Lou, the unkempt, chain-smoking manager of a New Mexico gym. In the film, Lou soon falls for Jackie (Katy O’Brian), a young homeless woman and bodybuilder. They become lovers and partners in mischief but they’re up against two thoroughly repulsive men: Lou’s psychotic, insect-obsessed father (a lank-haired Ed Harris), who owns the local gun range, and her sleazy wife-beating brother-in-law (Dave Franco). It may be the boldest performance of Stewart’s career so far, and the film itself is invigorating, darkly funny and full of sex and violence.

But then again, Stewart has come a long way from the woman once referred to as the “world’s most hated actor”. The moniker was spread around after her early stilted turn as Bella Swan in the Twilight franchise, when some teen fans turned against her because of her relationship with co-star Robert Pattinson. She was criticised for seeming “sullen” and “ungrateful” on the red carpet, and was only further attacked for pivoting to obscure and supposedly pretentious independent and arthouse movies (Welcome to the Rileys; Personal Shopper). As the years went by, though, it became clear that she was the real deal.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in