LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kristen Stewart strides into the room in a power pantsuit and high-heeled pumps.
Within minutes, the actress kicks off her heels and sits cross-legged on her chair, getting comfortable to talk about the good moment in her career, a very different time from her blockbuster "Twilight" years.
Stewart has earned acclaim for her supporting roles in two art-house films: as the daughter of a woman (Julianne Moore) suffering from early onset Alzheimer's in "Still Alice," opening in Los Angeles and New York this weekend; and the assistant to an aging movie star (Juliette Binoche) in "Clouds of Sils Maria," a Cannes Film Festival favorite out in U.S. theaters this spring.
"I am thrilled. I love movies. I don't have those nagging, regretful feelings about either of them," Stewart said.
"It is a miracle," she added. "Jesus, when the stars align and you are allowed to feel that way, it is why movies are made. It is why they affect people."
Critics have taken note of what the former child actress and teen phenomenon is showing the world at 24 years of age. Variety's Peter Debruge called her "the most compellingly watchable American actress of her generation" and A.O. Scott at the New York Times said her more recent roles "should help re-establish her as an insightful and unpredictable talent."
'LIKE BEING HIRED'
Stewart has known Moore since she was 12 and took on "Still Alice" because she knew Moore would deliver on the difficult role. As it happens, Moore is now the overwhelming favorite to win the best actress Oscar this year for her role as Alice.
"Her capability is astounding and motivating as all hell," said Stewart. "I get on a set with her - and I have been acting since I was 9 - whoa, I am not there yet. I am striving; I am trying."
Stewart's Lydia is the untethered daughter who comes home to care for her mother, who rapidly loses her faculties at the age of 50.
"The movie is supposed to show how you deal with what you still have and you focus on what you retain rather than what you have lost," said Stewart.
Raised in Los Angeles by parents who work in film and television, Stewart "idolizes this industry" and would love to do big franchise movies again and even be a Marvel superhero.
Looking back at her years as Bella, the lovestruck teenager entangled in a forbidden romance with a vampire in the "Twilight" movies, Stewart is nostalgic.
"I felt into it. I loved it," she said, adding, "I got into that for absolutely the right reasons. There was never any regret."
People in the industry have pushed her to go find stories she wants to do and start a production company to have more power over her roles. But she's not ready for that yet.
"I like being hired," she said. "I like the feeling of having no control over something."
(Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Lisa Shumaker)