Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Twilight Zone: Kristen Stewart's Miranda/Bella Character

A long time ago when I learned that Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak had been made into a movie I added the title to my neverending Netflix queue, bumping the film down on the list as new movies came out that I wanted to see. It finally came to pass that Speak made it to the top of my queue and it arrived at my house today.

I pop in the DVD, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Kristen Stewart playing virtually the same character and acting in some of the very same scenes in Speak that I recall from Twilight. Now, Speak is one of the most beloved books to me, and was THE book that turned me on to YA lit when I first read it back in the fledgling years of this decade, and I want to note that I mean no disservice to this book, which changed my life. Rather, I just think it's beyond eerie how many similarities there are between Kristen Stewart as Melinda and as Bella - from the actual scenes to the solemn face to the broken, stuttery, hesitant delivery, I half expected R. Patts himself to show up and save the day.

The evidence:
1. Miranda/Bella heads off awkwardly and reluctantly to her first day at a new school
2. Miranda/Bella meets and makes pseudo-friends with a girl who talks and talks and talks
3. Miranda/Bella walks to the school building, only to be caught off guard by a camera-wielding classmate
4. Miranda/Bella arrives at science class, and teacher assigns her to dreamy lab partner (who might I add looks familiar, even though I never really watched Will & Grace)
5. Miranda/Bella exists at school, but does not really participate, playing a tertiary role in the story of her own life

From there the stories pretty much quickly diverge, but let me tell you, there was some whacked out deja vu happening as these scenes flashed before my eyes.


  1. Hullo Alicia!

    I haven't seen the Speak movie, and I'm not sure if I want to - I have very definite pictures in my head of what the characters and settings of Speak look like. Your list made me think of the similar one I made for Welcome to the Hellmouth (Buffy episode 1) and High School Musical, which I can dig up at some point if you want.

  2. Ooh! Now I need to rewatch both of those. Please do send along the list if you find it.

  3. Welcome to the Hellmouth/High School Musical:

    First scene (not counting HSM "prologue") opens with a shot of students arriving at school and milling around
    The first character we meet is the male lead
    The female lead, new to the school, arrives with her mother and has a conversation with the school principle about her prior academic record
    We meet the local nerd (female)
    We meet the Mean Girl
    Scene in a classroom (which is much too small to be a real high school classroom)
    Male lead lurks outside classroom trying to get the attention of female lead and follows her down the hallway...

  4. that should be "principal" above

  5. I've read "Speak" but have avoided the Twilight series thus far. Seriously--should I read it?

    But moreso, my dear Alicia, I am now going to be a loyal blog reader because I LOVE young adult lit and I LOVE that you are writing about it. It is the very best.

  6. To read or not to read Twilight, that is the question. I say, read it, but go in knowing that it's a character driven novel, not very well edited and has no literary merit. Edward sure is droolworthy though. And Jacob. Jacob. Jacob.

  7. I am a high school English teacher and I have read Speak in my class the last 3 years. When I first saw Twilight (haven't read it and only watched it because I had to see what all the fuss was about with my students) I noticed all the similarities between Bella and Melinda. There is no doubt in my mind that Kristen got the role because of her role in Speak. She has this vague, careless expression all the time but yet knowing the characters personalities, you know that is not the case. When I first saw Speak, I didn't really like Kristen Stewart but when I saw Twilight (which I still don't really like), it made me respect her more as an actress.