John Corbett talks about Kristen

Twilight and Sex and the City have something big in common – and it’s more than just the fact they’re box-office blockbusters.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s on-screen ex, John Corbett, co-starred with Kristen Stewart in the 2007 horror flick The Messengers – and he still stays in touch with the actress and her family.

So did he have any inkling that Stewart, 20, would become household name? “I thought Kristen was a rockin’ actress back then, but you never know anyone’s going to be a phenomenon when you’re working with them – especially at that age,” he tells PEOPLE.

Bizarre Heights of Fame

The actor says Stewart’s overnight rise to fame has not been an easy adjustment for her family.

“I saw Kristen’s dad John, and we were talking about this phenomenon she has become, and quite frankly what a pain in the ass it is for her, too,” says Corbett, 49. “I think ‘bizarre’ is the word to describe how Kristen’s dad feels. It’s his little girl, and I think he feels very protective over her. I’m not putting words in John’s mouth, but it’s not natural to have your kid be the subject of so much attention – wanted and unwanted.”

Meanwhile, Corbett has his own career to focus on. Aside from just wrapping the second season of Showtime’s United States of Tara, he’s reflecting on the outcome of SATC2. “I was a little dismayed that critics treated it so harshly,” he says. “It’s hurtful to hear people put it down for what I feel is an unfair reason. I’ve been in a lot of movies, and I know when I’ve been in one that’s not that good. This isn’t one of those.”

In fact, Corbett believes that despite the film’s poor reviews, the franchise will continue. “I think they’ll make another Sex and the City movie,” he says. “It’s all about commerce, and if the studio makes some money, they’ll say, ‘Okay, let’s try this again.’ I think they’ll try it again and again until it just doesn’t look like a winning proposition.”
So What About RPattz…?

Getting back to Stewart, Corbett says he regrets not chatting with her dad about – who else? – Robert Pattinson.

“That’s the one thing I should have asked him about, but we didn’t get that far,” Corbett said. “If he and Kristen really are dating, I think they’d be a good match. They seem like two really sweet youngsters. Kristen was beautiful back when I worked with her, and I knew she would blossom into a beautiful woman.”

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