Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart: The Movieline Interview

Aside from The Runaways, Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart have appeared in three other projects together -- two Twilight installments and the Kate Hudson-directed short Cutlass -- but it's only in next week's band biopic that the two finally get to show off the rapport they've always had in real life. Each is well-cast in The Runaways, and when Movieline spoke to Fanning and Stewart yesterday in Los Angeles, they recalled their characters both literally and subconsciously: The 16-year-old Fanning is as California wholesome as Cherie Currie with the same cool, intellectual drive, while the 19-year-old Stewart is all inchoate passion and feeling, channeling Joan Jett's emotional thrusts despite her own delicate frame.

So what was it like to play two young girls on the precipice of fame when both Fanning and Stewart have been dealing with it all their life? I asked them how that felt, and how they navigated the movie's tricky depictions of sexism and teen sexuality.

It's interesting how the movie uses Cherie's sister Marie as the example of the sister who is left behind and resents how Cherie -- this girl she grew up with -- becomes famous and successful. You both were child actors. How did you navigate potential resentment about your career, whether it came from family or friends?

DAKOTA FANNING: I don't know how you would do that. I'm lucky -- I mean, I have a sister who also acts [laughs], and she's not really resentful of what I do. I've been lucky, because I think I've never experienced it.

But you go to high school right now--


--do you feel like you have to act a certain way to compensate for the fact that you're "the famous one" at your school and people already know who you are?

FANNING: No. I think that is who I am. I have to be the same person when I'm working as I am when I'm just going to school.

KRISTEN STEWART: And if you change who you are for people who are resentful of you and want you to be a certain way--

FANNING: Yeah...

STEWART: --they don't have your best interests at heart. Their criticism is rooted in their resentment, so it's like, why would you change to abide by that?

Do you think Hollywood is harder on young actresses than it is on young actors?

FANNING: I think it can be, just because girls are "supposed" to be a certain way. In this movie, girls aren't supposed to play an electric guitar and they're not supposed to be in a band that plays this kind of music. These girls kind of broke that stereotype a little bit, but I think there's still some of it today, maybe.

STEWART: Yeah, they had different challenges. I mean, I think that we're allowed to be a little more outspoken, and to be specific to the movie, more sexually assertive in terms of being the aggressor instead of like...uh, I don't really know what the opposite word for that would be. [Both laugh] I think in the business, it's harder for girls, and it's so obvious and transparent. You don't have to be perceptive to see that girls are "supposed" to be a certain way, and if they're not...there's just less room for individuality for girls. At least, people will notice if you're different, and they will talk about it. It's weird.

How often do the two of you hear "You're not supposed to do this"?

FANNING: I don't know if I've ever heard that.

STEWART: It's funny. I'm affected by these ideas all the time, but if you start to get specific about the details I'm responding to, they're ridiculous things. Like, you know, people always talk about what girls wear and what they look like and how they're talking.

Whereas a guy can just show up on the red carpet in a suit or a tux.

STEWART: Yeah, exactly! I guess that's a good example of how different it is.

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  • Sebastian Tovar says:

    I really like this interview...the girls are very mature and playful. I thought it a would a little confusing reading an interview with three people talking, but this is beautifully structured and so informative.

  • Lauren says:

    I don't understand Kristen Stewart. She has such a strange fashion sense -- I have yet to see her in a decent-looking dress. What's up with that??

  • Tiffany says:

    I agree with Lauren. I also still can't figure out why, if she's going to be on the cover of any magazines, SHE doesn't look like she grooms/ showers properly? Plus, she's got that half-baked look which is kind weird, plus she never smiles like she happy.... Very sad


    Come on, guys, did you not comprehend the interview? You're saying the EXACT things that they, especially Kristen, are referring to as oppressive and sexist.

  • RoosterTree says:

    Hear hear. I quite enjoy watching her being interviewed specifically because she gives her answers a lot of thought, with the look on her face hinting that her mind is able to go to those dark places only men are supposed to go. Who cares if she's in a jeans & T-shirt?
    I daresay she could be her generation's Nicholson, if, as she ages, she chooses her roles well.