Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are set to headline the upcoming premiere of their new film, on May 9th, but they’ve been keeping busy since the Twilight saga wrapped in 2012. They started an art collection called “Love Salvage”, and they renovated their 17th century villa in France – the inspiration for Summit’s lavish lifestyle series, Game Of Thrones – where they host exclusive art exhibitions and invite famous creators for open-house parties. For the fashion world, it’s been a steady stream of high-profile appearances and red-carpet moments as the couple explore their romance in public. We spoke with the couple about their new film, their art collection, and their evolving public image. Here are excerpts from our conversation:

On the Set of their New Film, Pattinson Reveals Why They Felt the Need to Create a Break from the Past

It’s important to have happy couple moments in movies, and Game Of Thrones did that beautifully. But the world wants more from us as individuals than what’s on screen. We want to see our heroes fight for good reasons, stand for greater ideals…we want to see them at their best and their worst, laughing and crying and feeling and doing things that make us believe they’re similar to us.

I wanted to make a film that reflected reality. My reality is that I often don’t feel like myself when I’m onscreen. On this journey, it’s been really nice to find a character that I can be comfortable with, that makes me happy and that I can explore. My film is about a girl called Anna, who is a bit cynical and rough around the edges, but also has good heart. I liked the contrast of who she is versus how she acts. She has to be strong and independent because her dad is an alcoholic, and she has to be careful around men because they can abuse their power over her – especially Liam (Taylor Lautner), who is already doing that when he drives her home from school.

So, my film is about a girl who is trying to find herself and navigate this world, all while keeping her dad afloat. Thematically, it’s about growing up and finding your place in the world. But it’s also a love story that explores the concept of family and the importance of loyalty and respect – topics that speak to me as an actor and a man.

Why Family is Such an Important Theme in Your Film

There are themes of responsibility and independence in my film, but they sit alongside responsibility to family and duty to one’s own community. I want audiences to walk away with a healthy understanding of how they can contribute to making the world a better place. This is a message that hopefully will resonate not only with children, but with adults as well. We live in a world full of hatred and divisiveness. I don’t want my film to be a trigger for war and chaos, but I also don’t want it to be a wallflower. Everyone needs to contribute in some way, and I hope my film leads to better understanding.

On Being Able to Contribute to Good Without Feeling Like You’re Taking Advantage

In my film, I play the role of Liam, who is a bit of a bully. He treats girls like dirt and sees them as nothing more than submissive sex objects, with no willpower or agency of their own. His attitude perpetuates abuse, and it wouldn’t be hard to argue that he’s setting a bad example for the younger generation. While I don’t condone violence of any kind, I do believe that standing up for yourself, in whatever way you can, is a good thing. Even if that means standing up to a bully. It’s better to fight fire with fire.

What I enjoy most about being involved in a project like this is that I get to put my point of view across in a way that reflects my personality. It’s strange to say this, because usually you don’t get to choose your characters in a movie. The great thing is that for the first time, I get to decide what type of person my character is, and I get to decide that he’s a good guy. Even though he’s got a terrible temper and he uses his brute strength to control others, I still believe he can be redeemed – not only do I believe in redemption, I want to see it myself.

On Taylor Lautner’s Performance

When I first read the script, Liam’s character scared me. He’s a lot like me – actually, most of the guys I play are a lot like me. We’re not here to make friends, we’re not here to be liked, we’re here to assert ourselves and show the people around us that we won’t be pushed around. But beyond that, Liam is also arrogant and condescending, the type of character who looks down on everyone around him. But after spending some time with Taylor Lautner on set, I discovered an acting talent that I didn’t see coming. He’s got an amazing depth of character, and he’s able to play all of this while keeping a friendly face.

The great thing about Liam is that while he can be a bit much at times, he also has a conscience. It’s not easy finding these types of characters, and I think Taylor did a great job of showing this contradiction. I had no idea what the character was going to become, but I’m so glad I didn’t write him off as soon as I saw him. It would have been easy for me to do so, because he initially comes off as a jerk, but I think the writers and director balanced that by giving him a soft spot. At the end of the day, he still cares about his friends, and he wants to change. He’s just stuck in his ways, and he needs to learn to trust again.

Kristen Stewart’s Performance

Kristen Stewart is a master class in acting, and the fact that she agreed to take this role is a testament to her ability and her generous spirit. She is a complex character – she’s a girl who’s trying to navigate this world as a woman, while also being a girl who cares deeply for her family and friends. On one hand, she wants to enjoy the life of an actress and a single girl, but on the other, she’s still finding her identity and isn’t sure how much she wants to be a part of this industry.

In my film, Kristen plays the part of Victoria, and she is the ultimate bad girl. She can be as seductive as an actress can be a girl and still remain a total villain. But when you get to know her, you realize she’s actually a good person who is looking for love, but doesn’t know how to find it. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how – and it’s an incredible journey to watch her try. It’s been an incredible experience making this film, and I cannot wait to show it to audiences.

I feel like my film, as a whole, is a love letter to our society. It celebrates the magic of life, and all of its diversity. I want people to walk away feeling that the world is a beautiful place, and that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or who you love, you’re sure to find a place among the people you love.