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Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart attend 'Runaways' school of rock

January 15, 2010 | 11:56 am


For anyone clinging to the image of Dakota Fanning as the lovable moppet in such movies as “Charlotte’s Web” or “The Cat in the Hat” (in which she utters lovably moppet-ish lines like “I wanna make cupcakes!” and “You better clean this mess up!”), her appearance in the rock-surged coming-of-age-drama “The Runaways” will come as a revelation (even for those who saw Fanning's tough-to-take "Hounddog").

“Hello Daddy/Hello Mom/I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!” she snarls in character as the all-girl teenage rock group’s wild child singer Cherie Currie. As is detailed in this story (which will appear in Sunday’s Calendar section), in other scenes Fanning passionately makes out with co-star Kristen Stewart (as the movie’s Joan Jett), snorts all kinds of Class A drugs and whips fans into a frenzy by appearing in fishnet stockings and a revealing bodice.

G-rated family fun, “The Runaways” most certainly is not. Audiences will be able to see for themselves at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 24 where the film premieres before reaching theaters in March.

According to the movie’s director Floria Sigismondi, Fanning and Stewart (who shared screen in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon") subjected themselves to a kind of rock ‘n' roll boot camp to more convincingly embody two still very much alive musical icons – members of a pioneering group that went on to inspire such all-female rock bands as L7, the Go-Gos, Sahara Hotnights and the Donnas.

Step 1: Having Fanning practice with the hard rocking band Living Things, which is not coincidentally fronted by Sigismondi’s hubby, Lillian Berlin.

“I put Dakota in with my husband’s band so she could feel what it’s like to have big drums and amps behind her – so she could feel what it’s like to be a singer having to fight for the sounds,” Sigismondi said on the movie’s set last summer. “You have to use your body for that. I wanted to give her that experience.”

For a month before production began, Sigismondi also had Fanning and Stewart, with costar band mates Scout Taylor-Compton, Stella Maeve and Alia Shawkat, rehearse performing together as the incendiary girl group to coax more naturalistic rock star performances from them. Then Stewart and Fanning lay down vocal tracks singing the Runaways’ songs featured in the movie.

“We rehearsed for a long time, which was a great advantage,” the director said. “We got the girls in the recording studio, got the recordings right. Then by the time we filmed it, it wasn’t lip-syncing. Because they were the ones who had done it.”

Likewise, Stewart is utterly convincing both physically -- with her black fringed shag hairdo, spiked leather bracelet and rock chic leather outfits -- as well as doing an impressive approximation of Jett’s singing voice. Which makes more than a little sense; the rock icon executive produced “The Runaways” and visited its set frequently where Jett conferred with the actress about her portrayal.

During a break in filming on the movie’s set, Fanning gushed about her front-woman duties.

“I had never experienced being a lead singer before,” Fanning said. “It was something very new, very interesting. Unlike any feeling I’ve ever had.”

“It’s like a dream to be a rock star!”

-- Chris Lee

Photo: Dakota Fanning (left) and Kristen Stewart in 'The Runaways' from Apparition.

Comments () | Archives (12)

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Can't wait to see this, Kristen Stewart is so hot.

Kristen is just gifted. So young and strong. Beauty...

steward kid is magnificent.

Stewart kid is magnificent.

I'm very excited to see this film. I know both Kristen and Dakota will rock these roles. The fact that Kristen is already know how to play guitar and she can sing (Kristen sang beautifully in Into the Wild), will make the whole rock band look real instead of lip singing. I can't wait to see this film. Both girls are very talented and aren't afraid of challenge, the make-out scene will be steammmmyyyyyy :)

Kristen looks so beautiful in this picture. I love to see her outside the Twilight saga, I love the role that she picked. Kristen and Dakota will be great in the film. Can't wait to see it.

Great article Chris! I'm insanely excited for this film. Madhouse excited. So many pieces are falling in place and it seems the film may just mirror the awesomeness of the script. Kristen and Dakota are going to blow people away ;)

so excited for this film! well basically im excited to see kristen stewart !! LOVE HER.

I can't wait to see the movie when it comes out, yes, the steammmmy scene, exactly, it'll just be so great, kristens really hot.

Love, love this article and really looking forward to see this movie. As much as I'm excited to see Dakota and Kristen lead in this movie, I'm more anxious for Kristen to get a more honest assessment in her acting in how she transformed herself into Joan. Kristen has been overly criticized by Twi fans based on their own vision of Bella, but her performance in this movie will prove the true talent she possesses as an actress on how she protrays Joan, because Joan is a rock and roll legend...and to watch Kristen pull that off, it's gonna be AMAZING!!! She is the BEST actress and love how she doesn't fall into the HW bullcrap. GO KRISTEN!!!

i cant wait to see this movie it is gonna be great.. cant wait to see the make out scene between kristen stewart and dakota fannin is gonna be steamyyy and kristen stewart is my role model i love her she is the best.....

wow so excited for this film and kristein just rocks


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