Kristen's Interview With The Philadelphia Inquirer

'As soon as somebody said, 'Hey, do you want to play Joan Jett?' I said, 'Yes, definitely!' And then you realize afterward what a big job that is."

That's Kristen Stewart talking. And, as things turned out, that's Kristen Stewart playing Joan Jett in The Runaways: punked out in leather and a Jett-black shag in the just-released rock biopic about the '70s all-girl glam band.

In the film, which opened Friday and neatly captures the head-spinning rush of being onstage thrashing your guitar when you're 17 years old, Stewart is the Wynnewood-born Ms. Jett and Dakota Fanning - another kid actor who has managed to segue into young-adult roles - is Cherie Currie, the blank-faced blond lead singer in the stripper couture.

Stewart, who turns 20 next month and has a modest little franchise going with The Twilight Saga, says that for her generation, the Runaways - up and running from only 1975 to 1979 before hitting a wall of drugs, drink, egos, and exhaustion - are pretty much unknown.

"That's what's so cool about the movie," she says, on the phone from New York last week. "My generation is very unaware of the Runaways and what they did for music. And I was too. I knew who Joan Jett was, but I didn't know where she came from.

"There were definitely women who played rock music before them, but they were the first to present themselves in this aggressive, guylike way. It wasn't easy for them - a bunch of young, punky-looking, sexy girls coming up and dealing with these guys who have been mastering their instruments and rocking out for 10 years and [getting] all the girls they want."

Stewart made The Runaways, directed by the Canadian music video veteran Floria Sigismondi, during a six-week window last year between the filming of Twilight: New Moon and Twilight: Eclipse. From Bella Swann, moody Vampire muse, to Joan Jett, adrenalized rock chick, and back again.

"Right before I went to Vancouver to do New Moon, I went to Washington and Joan was playing a show," Stewart recalls, noting that Jett had approval over who was going to portray her. "I saw the concert and I went back to her place afterward and we talked. She had every opportunity to say that I wasn't right. . . . and then she ended up being so giving and awesome and we just understood each other. . . . And it doesn't always happen like that."

Stewart, whose mother was a script supervisor and father a TV producer, has been on movie sets since was in grade school. Since her 2000 debut (uncredited) in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, she has appeared in 24 films.

"I always wanted to help the crew, I always wanted to be a prop guy or be on catering," she says about being a kid on set. "I was just enamored by that world. But the only thing you can do as a kid on a movie set is be an actor. I got lucky. Somebody called after a school play . . . and they asked if I wanted an agent. And I was like 9 years old and kind of oblivious and went, 'I can do that, totally.' "

Although she played Jodie Foster's daughter in David Fincher's 2002 home-invasion thriller Panic Room, it wasn't until the next year, when she shot the indie Speak, that Stewart realized she had found her calling.

"It was this tiny thing. It went to Sundance, and it ended up playing on Lifetime. . . . And people my age really loved it, girls my age seemed to really connect with it, and it was hard to play the part. It was sensitive. At 13, to do a movie about date rape was really intense for me, and I realized it was so worthwhile. It was an important personal experience, but it was also something that other people were talking to me about and being enthusiastic about."

Her work since has been marked by a small but memorable turn in Sean Penn's Oscar-nominated Into the Wild, by her performance as a moody, messed-up college kid in the smart, poignant coming-of-age comedy Adventureland, and as a small-town Louisiana teen in the road movie The Yellow Handkerchief, opposite William Hurt and Eddie Redmayne, currently in theaters.

And then there's that vampire business. And it is a business: The first two Twilights have grossed more than $1 billion in worldwide box office.

Stewart says those kinds of numbers, and the saga's epic pop-cult status, were unimaginable when she signed on to do "this really different, really weird, dark love story" with a director, Catherine Hardwicke, known for a handful of films about teenage sex and skateboarders.

"When we did Twilight we had no idea that we were even going to do a sequel. Catherine had done indie movies, and it was like, 'Cool, let's do this,' " she says. "And then it turned into this enormous franchise, which is awesome, because as an actor, you never get to do anything for more than like six weeks that you really love.

"Like on The Runaways, it was six weeks of being able to play Joan, and then over and out. So, I have the luxury of being able to return to Bella a few more times."

The downside, Stewart says, is having all this attention on you instead of the film.

"What really throws me for a loop is how, suddenly, everyone is waiting to see how Kristen was in her latest movie, you know what I mean?" she says. "Before, when you did a movie, if it got attention it was because the movie was noteworthy. It didn't get attention because I was in it.

"So that's been different. But it's also awesome, because I have people watching my movies, and I have people sharing what I really love."

source via RobstenLoveCom