Kristen Stewart for “The Cake Eaters”

It would be fair to say that much has changed in the life of Kristen Stewart since we first met about six years ago. Her star has definitely risen since her involvement in the “Twilight” franchise as we chat about her latest film, the Mary Stuart Masterson-directed indie drama “The Cake Eaters.”

Stewart acknowledges that one definite advantage of her new-found popularity is the ability to help get a film like “Cake Eaters” released. ” I mean we finished that movie some time ago and it was definitely a struggle to get it out there, so I’m glad that in some small way I can get to talk about a film that I’m excited about.”

There is little doubt that Cake Eaters is a vastly different character than Bella. In this quirky, family drama, Stewart is remarkable as Georgia a teenage girl suffering from Friedriech’s Ataxia, a disease that attacks the nervous system making it hard for her to walk without shaking, or talk without slurring. ” I met with a few girls who have this disease and in far worse shape than this character,” she explains when we talk about her preparation for this role. ” It was definitely a tough piece to do, focusing on the way she walks and talks but then I also played her as I would with any character, as truthfully as I could.”

Stewart has always immersed herself into whatever she does and even more so in Cake Eaters. ” Mary Stuart set me up with a lot of material and information but I couldn’t physically do it until the day we started shooting because it felt cheap like I was faking something and, until it was actually real in the moment we were actually doing it and I was actually portraying this person, like I had to, then it felt right to do it. But, before that, it just didn’t feel right. It felt strange,” Stewart confesses.

As for working with first-time director Masterson, Stewart has nothing but praise. ” She didn’t seem like a first time director I can tell you that, probably because she’s been acting since she was much younger than me. She really creates an environment for you that you just feel like you’re in the best position to give as much as you can possibly give and, it sounds kind of lame, but she’s really one of the most amazing role models I’ve ever had. She’s very ambitious and I should learn from that.”

Stewart is, of course about to start shooting the long-awaited “New Moon”, the second installment of the Twilight franchise. While there is a new director now on this film, the actress she is unconcerned about who is behind the camera but says she is excited about the new direction of the series. ” It’s a completely different story [than Twilight]. It entirely undermines the first. Edward is gone and, for me, like that was the whole story. It’s hard for me to get past that. I don’t know how Bella is going to deal with that but she matures a lot. It’s a much more painful story than the first one. It’s actually quite devastating and on a smaller scale as well. She’s very solitary for quite a while so that will be interesting. I’m excited about that.”

The actress will also be seen in the more comedic “Adventureland” and when asked if she will be tired of talking to the press by the time thsat film is being publicized in a few weeks, the actress remains philosophical. ” No because I have a lot to say about Adventureland and it’s a film that I’m also excited about.”