Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kristen Stewart - The Princess of Sundance?

I find it a little odd to think that a 19 year old girl will likely be the most photographed and talked about star at this year's Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah. There are Academy award winners, fame whores, Industry heavy hitters galore. But all the photogs, all the reporters... they are all hoping for one thing. Kristen Stewart. Granted, Kristen is in 2 films at Sundance this year. But it is not like that has ever happened before. What is bizarre to me is that from the second she landed by private jet on Friday until she leaves, all eyes will be on her. And considering that Kristen Stewart is as fond of attention as women are of Brazilian's, I am sure this experience will be interesting!

Welcome the the Riley's is in competition at Sundance. This is the much anticipated K-Stew as a stripper role that was filmed before, during and after the press junket for Twilight back in late 2008. Lurking on some of the boards apparently there are a large number of fans who simply want to see their K-Stew naked. Sorry to disappoint all you skeevy pervs, but from what I have read, it isn't gonna happen. The film premiered yesterday and Kristen and co-star Melissa Leo were on hand to promote promote promote. I have not seen any inkling of James Gandolfini in Park City, so I am assuming that he has opted out of the press duties for this one

The reviews have been mixed. While most have consistently praised the performances, a number of reviewers have found the story to be cliched and lacking in originality. There has also been quite a bit of criticism heaped on Jake Scott's directorial efforts. I have read the script. And I agree that the story of a little girl lost who is saved by a couple who in turn are saved by the little girl lost is a little cliched. But, I am looking forward to seeing Kristen as something other than Bella Swan and for her to show to the world that she is capable of so much more than Twilight. One teeny beef I have with the reviews I have heard is that they are saying that Kristen is trying to "break free" from Bella Swan. Ummm.... no. She made this movie when Twilight was on the cusp of becoming the worldwide crazy insane phenomenon that it is now. I am pretty sure that Welcome to The Riley's does not have a distributor yet. So I don't know when we will get to see it.

Kristen's other movie at Sundance has distribution (yay!) and will be released in North America in March. It is also not part of the competition for Sundance. This is The Runaways - the Rock biopic about the Joan Jett, Cherie Currie band - The Runaways. This film is also very "buzzy" as it features fishnets, drugs, same-sex kissing, booze, rock and roll.... all those fun things that make a film buzz-worthy. Especially when they involve a kiss between Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning.

Although this was touted as a K-Stew film - early reports say that the standout in this is most definitely 15 year old Dakota Fanning. Dakota and Michael Shannon as sleazy manager Kim Fowley are apparently the stand outs in this movie. And before you lynch me, I am not saying that Kristen sucks in any way shape or form. Or that reviewers are saying she sucks. What reviewers are saying is that this is such a departure for Dakota - who has been America's sweetheart for how may years now? - that she becomes so immersed in her role that she is barely recognisable in parts. Even looking at these pictures, she is so grown up! And so pretty! Can't wait to see her strung out, in a fishnet stockings behaving in a decidedly non-Dakota way.

But really, I am sad to say that much of the focus on Kristen at Sundance will not be about the work that she has poured her heart and soul into. I think that most of the bloggers and detractors will be focusing on the number of times that Kristen smiles during interviews, how she doesn't look as polished as the Disney starlets she is constantly compared to, how she doesn't answer interviewers questions with that perfect sound byte. You know, the really important stuff. Gah. To dispel at least one of these things: I have purposefully included as many pics of Kristen looking at least half-way happy. Some are from The Runaways shoot and for those of you not as obsessed as I am: the top left photo is with director Floria Sigismondi
I wonder if Phillip Seymour Hoffman is ever talked about for his Sundance ensembles? Prolly not.

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