Kristen Stewart remembers her first kiss very well – but that doesn’t mean she enjoyed it.
“It was horrible! It was so bad. It was f—— repulsive,” she tells the website in a candid new interview at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“I was 14 and it was gross. It was not good,” she adds with a laugh.
Stewart continues, “But the first time something in you opens up and affects your entire body and has this control over you, it’s scary because there’s this chemical that’s released that you become addicted to. It literally feels like you don’t have free will anymore.”
In the futuristic world depicted in Equals, humanity has completely rid itself of emotions. But Stewart and Hoult’s characters suffer from SOS, Switched-on-Syndrome, which allows them to slowly begin to tap into their feelings for the first time.
Making a movie about first love and exploring one’s emotions came at a difficult time for both Stewart and Hoult, who each began filming not long after their very public breakups from Robert Pattinson and Jennifer Lawrence, respectively.
“It was incredibly painful,” she admits. “Ugh, f—— kill me. It was a really good time for both of us to make this movie. Not all of my friends have been through what I’ve been through, or what some people have tasted at a relatively-speaking young age, and we were not expected to do anything. Everything that we did was explorative, and a meditation on what we already knew.”
Still, she added that “at least we could use some of that for some good. This movie was a meditation on firsts, and a meditation on maintaining, and a meditation on the ebbs and flows of what it’s like to love someone – your feelings versus your ideals, the bursting of bubbles, the shattering of dreams you thought were possible, and what you have to contend with as things get more realistic.”
“Relationships,” she adds, “you just never f—– know.”
But despite the heartbreak, Stewart says she’s glad for her experiences, and worries that the emotionally disconnected future portrayed in Equals is already becoming a reality.
“I don’t think that everyone is necessarily affected by or appreciates physical beauty, and I think we have been desensitized to physical beauty because of the movies that we watch, and all the images that are thrust in our faces all the time. We don’t really appreciate the body, nature, a f—— sunrise.”
According to Stewart, some of that desensitization is the result of doctors overprescribing and overmedicating American teenagers.
” ‘Oh, do you feel something? We can help you with that.’ Self-exploration goes out the door with medication,” she says. “You go, ‘Oh God, I have a little stomachache,’ and they say, ‘Here, we can help you with that.’ Well, why do you have that stomachache? Maybe it’s because your head’s in your stomach, so maybe there’s something you’re ignoring that you can work out.”
She adds, “The medication aspect I find most interesting. I know a lot of people on meds who don’t have mental health issues. Not all emotional issues are ‘mental health issues.’ They do not all hold hands.”
As for the actress herself, she says she wants to experience all of the emotions life has to offer.
“As far as we know, you have one shot at this and it can be so f—— beautiful, so why lessen the feeling of anything? Why numb yourself? I’m not on antidepressants. I think it’s bizarre.”