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Preview review: Can 'Twilight' star Kristen Stewart use 'The Runaways' to become a serious actress?

March 5, 2010 |  2:30 pm

MV5BMTA2NzY5NTg2MjNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDYzODY2MDM@._V1._SX271_SY400_ Only one week after her "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson will attempt to show off his more serious acting chops in "Remember Me," Kristen Stewart will also stray from the world of vampires with "The Runaways."

In the film, which comes out March 19, Stewart plays Joan Jett while Dakota Fanning plays Cherie Currie, two founding members of the influential all-girl '70's band the Runaways. As my colleague Chris Lee wrote before the movie premiered at Sundance in January, the movie is based on the real-life band, who "between the years 1975 and '79 ... packed shows from coast to coast, toured the world and racked up hits before self-immolating in a blaze of drugs, jealousies and in-fighting."

Judging by the newly released trailer, which is narrated by Fanning's character, the movie feels almost like a grittier "Almost Famous." Currie, with her blond feathered hair, comes off as impressionable and wide-eyed, following Jett's bad-girl lead into the world of rock n' roll. Both are dressed in awesome '70s garb: studded leather jackets, hot pink lipstick and high-waisted jeans.

Interestingly, there are also no big hints in the trailer to the much-hyped sapphic romance between the characters.

Watch the trailer and vote in our poll to share your thoughts: Will Stewart ever be able to break free of her iconic Bella Swan role?

Surprisingly, it's not Stewart but Fanning who seems to shine in the film. Fanning is known for her more innocent roles in "I Am Sam" and "The Secret Life of Bees," but we were surprised by how much we bought Currie's penchant for hard partying. Stewart, meanwhile, seems to be channeling the persona the public has assigned to her: a surly, rebellious teen who wants to do things her own way.  The question, of course, is whether she has the versatility to pull off roles that go beyond that of the mopey Bella Swan  ingenue in "Twilight" and "New Moon." Despite the glimmers of possibility she flashed in "Adventureland," from the bits we've see in this trailer, we have our doubts.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Dakota Fanning, left, and Kristen Stewart in "The Runaways." Credit: Apparition.