VOD Spotlight: “The Runaways” lets actors channel their inner rock stars

Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett

By Elaine Bergstrom

Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning have been spending a lot of time together in the last few years, appearing together in two Twilight Saga films, and they are scheduled to appear in a third. The two also play punk rock stars Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, of the ’70s all-girl band The Runaways, in the film of the same name.

Stewart cut off her long hair and dyed it black for the role, which necessitated wearing a wig for some of her scenes as Bella in Eclipse. She also spent time on the set with Jett, who was one of the film’s executive producers. “To prepare for a role like this, you can research, read interviews, watch old footage, but to my benefit, there wasn’t a whole lot of that available. I was able to talk directly with Joan and think I would have felt like a fraud had I not,” Stewart commented.

Stewart felt driven to get Jett’s vocals down perfectly. “This is the hardest job that I’ll ever have to do, because I need to make myself nervous a little bit,” Stewart said in an interview while making the film. “Joan has such a distinct sound. … I didn’t want to sound like I didn’t sound anything like her.”

Stewart also had to learn to play the guitar. “I don’t want to look like an idiot up there. I don’t want to fake it. I want to be able to play these songs,” Stewart said. She mastered all 12 pieces and had such perfect phrasing of Jett’s songs that, at one point while listening to a tape of Stewart singing, Jett said, “Why are you playing my songs back to me, I thought we were supposed to listen to Kristen?”

Meanwhile, Fanning was working with Cherie Currie, who said of the star, “To me, Dakota is just one of the greatest actresses ever. She was so engaging and eager to make sure she was on point with her singing and her performance. She’s phenomenal.”

Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie

The work the two young actresses did to capture the personalities of Jett and Currie mirrors the work the two rock stars did years ago when they broke into the then all-male world of rock and roll. “Everyone wants to believe that the extraordinary can happen to them,” said Currie. “It doesn’t mean you’re not gonna have to work hard for it, because, trust me, a lot of people never thought we could do what we did. We went through hell making it easier for girls in music. We were the soldiers out there getting bloody and beat up. But here we are. And we’re doing okay.”

And now, Stewart and Fanning introduce their fans to the music and the stars their parents loved.

“The Runaways” is now showing on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.

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© 2010 Runaways Productions, LLC

About Elaine Bergstrom 212 Articles
Feature writer, writing coach and novelist (12 published, another on the way) in the genre of horror/vampire fiction