Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning transform themselves into real life rock legends Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in The Runaways. There’s no doubt about it, these two young vixens give themselves completely to the real life story of becoming of rock star by the age of 14-years-old. Both encompassed the look and the feel of these bad-ass chicks, smashing through stereotypes and being pushed to the edge of their sanity. Dressed in almost nothing, both actors leave their innocent selves behind and become real teenage rock stars.
We were able to catch up with the duo at a roundtable for the film and ask them some questions about becoming The Runways below…
Does every successful actor harbor dreams of being a rock star?
Dakota Fanning: I think everybody has that inner part of themselves that wishes they could perform and be on stage. I’ve definitely had that. I think doing this movie and performing Cherry Bomb and doing the performance scenes is the closest I’ll ever get to those dreams.
How did you capture that Japan performance of Cherry Bomb?
DF: I think just watching the Live in Japan videos of Cherie and getting to know her and realizing that especially Cherry Bomb is like a choreographed dance. She did the same thing each and every time and it was a routine and she did it without even thinking about it. So making that performance like that for me was really important.
How did you capture not only the performance but the character of Joan?
Kristen Stewart: Well, luckily they were so open and enthusiastic and ready to tell the story that we had them as a constant resource so we never felt like we were making anything up because with a story like this, it’s so not your normal experience on a movie. Usually you get to sort of on the fly or in rehearsal, create something. This was not that so the fact that they were there and so sort of open and awesome made it a lot easier, but both of them are really hard characters to play actually, because you meet them and they’re so dynamic. They’re just really big personalities. You hope to capture an essence because they become your friend and it’s a huge responsibility.
What are some lessons you took from them that will carry on the rest of your life?
DF: Wow, I think it’s really tough because I feel like when they become your friends, they just keep giving you stuff every day. I talk to Cherie a lot. She just says little things that kind of inspire me and I remember and are important to me. Something that relates to the movie is her sacrifice at the end of the film. She sacrificed everything that she loves and this career because she knows that she’s not going to make it much longer if she continues on this downward spiral and she’s not really equipped for the lifestyle that she’s been leading.
KS: And Joan is.
DF: So that just taught me a lot about what she gave up. I don’t know if I could give it up when faced with that. She just was so courageous in that decision. That was really inspiring to me.
How did you first get involved? Did Joan come to you?
KS: I read a script and just was very pleased that they wanted me to be a part of it. I met Joan after I got the part and it was so scary because it sort of felt like this is the meeting that either fires me or keeps me on. My hair was still long. I was about to do New Moon. I sort of felt like she was going to look at me and go, “What makes you think…?”
When you have people who are so accessible, what’s the advantage of knowing them besides being able to ask them questions? Do you work harder or is it easier?
DF: I think it becomes easier. I think it becomes a lot easier and definitely the way I wanted it to be and I was just really happy that both of them supported the film and liked making the film because I just think that would be really horrible if they didn’t obviously.
KS: Especially, I mean this is just an interesting thing, they’re public figures. So we could have made this movie regardless. They covet this thing and us to a certain degree which sort of is like everything you could ever hope for.
The treatment floated around for 30 years in Hollywood. Is there a sense of destiny when the scripts find you?
KS: For me, it always has to be, and I know Dakota is sort of the same deal. You can’t do something so ridiculous as to play another person in a movie for pretend, unless it speaks to you in a certain way and you feel like it’s worth it. You take something from every character you play. You get to use their lives sort of like – - and in this case, considering – - there’s a million reasons why this movie is cool but there is an indescribable thing that fills you with the thought that you can actually do it. Because there’s a lot of scripts that I read that like oh, it’s my age for a role, but I can’t play that part. I don’t have that in me. I guess it could be considered, I don’t know, kismet. It’s in the stars.
How familiar were you with the music before?
DF: I was familiar with Joan Jett. I didn’t know who the Runaways were and I wasn’t familiar with Cherie, as I think a lot of people our age are not familiar with The Runaways, which is kind of weird now thinking back because they were like the first all girls rock n’ roll band.
KS: Literally, which is a weird thing to think. I didn’t really consider that a whole lot when we were making the movie.
A lot of musical biographies deal with drugs and alcohol and it can be exciting for actors to play. Was it important to you that that wasn’t the total focus of this movie?
DF: Definitely. I think that there’s so much intense subject matter in the movie but it’s just all kind of there. It doesn’t focus on one particular thing and I think that’s what makes it the whole story. Especially for Cherie because she really gets into the whole drug thing and ultimately can’t get out of it and is not equipped to deal with it. So that’s kind of a part of her but it doesn’t define her in a way. I didn’t want it to be like the only thing about Cherie is that this happened to her. It was just another thing that makes up who she is today.
Was there any discovery about life in the valley back then versus now?
DF: Yeah, I mean I’m not from L.A. I’m from Georgia. But yeah, I live there and I go to school there. It’s funny because I was reading Cherie’s book which the script’s kind of based on it. She had a really big car accident at what is now Twains, at Coldwater and Ventura which I see every day. She had like a near death car accident there. I was reading that and I was thinking like, “Okay, I drive by there every day. That is so…” There are so many things, like the rehearsal trailer was on Ventura Blvd. which is we’re pretty much all on Ventura Blvd. at some point. So there are so many things that we probably drive by every single day we don’t know that they’re so historic to this story and this time.
Is this the first R-rated movie you’ve each done?
DF: No, not really.
KS: Not at all actually.
Are there some scenes you warn your parents not to watch? Is it weird?
DF: I mean, one of the first movies I’d ever done was pretty intense subject matter and my parents have kind of gotten used to it by now I guess. They know it’s just acting.
KS: Do you find that it’s gotten easier because I find that it has. Seriously, I was more nervous about it when I was younger and it was like a slow wearing down of like okay, Kristen’s going to do what she’s going to do. She’s just going to do these movies. Not that they were against it, just that projection I took away from them. I sort of didn’t care anymore. I was like, “Are you guys cool with this?”
Joan said the chick better like Suzie Quatro. Do you?
KS: I do now. That’s what’s cool about this movie. I did not know Suzie Quatro. Joan loves music. I know most of her – - she loves the Stones, she loves stuff like that I know but Suzie Quatro’s great.
They released 10 seconds of the Eclipse trailer. What should we be excited for in the full one?
KS: I don’t know, I haven’t seen it.
DF: We were supposed to watch that.
KS: We were supposed to watch that at lunch.
What are you excited for in Eclipse?
DF: I’m in it a few scenes. I filmed only for a little bit but I’m excited for it. I think it’ll be really good.
Check out Fanning as Cherie Currie and Steweart as Joan Jett in theaters this Friday March 19th in The Runaways.
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