Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning
The Runaways stars Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning playing real life rock icons Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in the 1970’s LA music scene during the formation of their band. With the film premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, we got to sit down and talk with them about their preparation, being at Sundance and the music.
Sex, drugs and rock and roll – this sure isn’t Twilight!
Q: What was it that drew you both to "The Runaways"? Was it the characters, or the role, or did you know the music?
Kristen: The script. I knew about Joan Jett, which most people probably would say, but I didn't know anything about The Runaways, and I thought it was really cool to see a character that was so different from who she seems to be now because she's so…you can just talk to her. Very self-assured and she really, really knows who she is and so I thought it was cool to like see her become that and see the relationship between her and Cherie and see how sweet that is…it's just an interesting story.
Dakota: For me, I read the script and wasn't really familiar with The Runaways either and just loved the relationship between them and things that I would get to do [by] playing Cherie.
Q: You both delivered fantastic performances, and obviously this wasn't a big budget film where you can spend a lot of time doing a lot of stuff. How did you prepare for the roles versus others?
Dakota: Well, obviously there was the singing that I had to prepare for, which was kind of a daunting task, but something that I think adds to the movie… I actually did it and it wasn't just her voice, you know? So, yeah, to make it just like her was kind of intimidating.
Kristen: We had to make sure that we looked right and moved right. When they were younger, they had such specific idiosyncrasies…they're riddled with little particular details…they're just really cool to look at. But preparing for a movie is always…there's a bigger responsibility here because it's not just somebody that you're making up.
Q: We talked to Cherie, who said she feels like she's living in a dream because you're playing her, and Joan said you guys had very similar energy. How much time did you guys spend with them before and during the production?
Dakota: A lot. They were there pretty much every day and I spent a lot of time with Cherie before we started filming. I think it was important that they were there… because it's their life, you know?
Kristen: There wasn't a period of 'let's feel this out and see how much we're willing to delve into personal aspects of your lives and how much we're willing to expose ourselves'…but we really liked each other…there was just something really special.
Q: Was part of your attraction to the role the fact that this is about something that's still very taboo…women doing certain things?
Kristen: Yeah, that was a huge thing and especially for Joan, it's still such a huge [thing].…we're girls that have both been brought up thinking we can do whatever we want and there are a lot of very empowered females [now], but it just wasn't like that then. And I think that people don't really realize that The Runaways were the first girls to play music like that and it could have been someone else, but it wasn't. It was them.
Q: Could you talk about being at Sundance and what that means for you? Have you been able to feel the atmosphere here where people really love movies?
Dakota: I think that's great because this is not your typical movie. This is for people who really love stories and characters and the relationship between characters. And also, there's the musical aspect of it which I think people really like here [at Sundance], and getting to be around the people that helped make the movie, too, is really special.
Q: [The Runaways'] clothes are very different. As actors, getting to step into the period costumes, how did that play into how you were able to become Cherie and Joan?
Dakota: It was a big part of it. Especially because the jumpsuits and the boots and everything I was wearing were so kind of out-there and it was like a performance….her clothes were like a performance in [and of] themselves for Cherie. And they were really important to what she made herself be to the public. Do you know what I mean? They were a big part of her persona that she created for herself.
Q: The Twilight franchise is a big thing. And you have a lot of young fans. This film is very descriptive and it shows a lot of stuff. Were you hesitant at all?
Kristen: People really love Bella, and I do too, but I'm not her. I don't think anybody expects me to try for the rest of my career to appease an audience that once liked "Twilight", you know what I mean?… I don't plan things out based on other people's opinions of how I think they're going to receive them. I do it for the experience…Basically what I'm saying is I don't take that responsibility. I think that Joan's story is really something that you can learn from and also "Welcome to the Rileys" [Stewart's second film at the 2010 Sundance Fest]…I don't believe in censorship…both of these movies are rated-R, and if these kids, it's too much for them, then they shouldn't watch.
Q: Cherie said about the movie, “you know that’s just how it was in the 70’s. Sexuality was ambiguous. That’s just how life was.” But [the kiss between you two] is going to be one of those button issues that people talk about…do you think that’s unfortunate?
Kristen: People are always going to find the [scenes] with the weird, buzz-worthy thing [in a] movie and run with it…I don’t think it’s relevant…it’s not a romantic relationship. They’re best friends…It’s sort of like a fleeting love story and they both realize it. It’s like, yeah this is cool, right now, but it’s not like the big make out scene in “The Runaways” is like… they’re just… it’s just something they did.
Dakota: And especially when you read the script, it’s not a big thing.
Kristen: It just pops up.
Dakota: It’s just like okay…the next thing, you know?
Kristen: They didn’t even talk about it afterwards. It’s like, what happened? Why did [we do] that? And I think it’s cool, they don’t go any further with it.
Q: What was it like on-set? Was there any discomfort between you two?
Kristen: We had done a song that day that was in the roller rink and we had done ‘I Love Playing with Fire,’ and so I was way, way, way more worried about that than having to touch her. I don’t know. I remember kicking off extras. I remember…people trying to take pictures.
Dakota: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Kristen: Which really, really pissed me off.
Q: Had you guys met and made Twilight before this, and did you know each other before either of those projects came about?
Dakota: We met each other briefly before we did "New Moon" but really briefly…we did "New Moon"…and then this movie.
Q: Did you guys bond at all as young actors?
Kristen: No. (laughter)
Q: I know they've been talking about doing "Breaking Dawn" as two movies. Is there an update if it's going to be two or one?
Kristen: No. No. No updates. I wish.
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