D.O.B: April 9, 1990, Los Angeles, California
Where you know her from: Panic Room, Into the Wild, In the Land of Women
Ideal Career Trajectory: The Jodie Foster route
Worst Case Scenario: The Tatum O'Neal route, or perhaps the Drew Barrymore route, but without the happy ending, both of which are currently being implemented by a slew of young actresses.
When I finally got around to seeing Into the Wild, I was surprised to find how much it touched me. I found Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) to be an interesting character, suffering from tunnel vision (to say the least). Not one whose outlook on life or the world struck me as particularly earth-shattering or even commendable, but you believe in him. You root for him. And at least part of that is due to Kristen Stewart. When Stewart's Tracy Tatro stares into his eyes, melting, completely won over, I buy every second of her naïve teenage romanticism. Kristen Stewart is the real deal. I first realized this when I saw her in Speak, which aired on Lifetime (shut up. It also aired on Showtime). She was only thirteen at the time, playing a high school freshman who falls victim to sexual assault (I know. Lifetime). As is often the case with Stewart, her performance was better than the film deserved. And seriously, was there a better person to play Jodie Foster's daughter in Panic Room. Just imagine if that movie had starred Nicole Kidman and Hayden Panettiere, as originally planned? (Okay, that does sound mildly interesting, but Kristen Stewart is awesome).
Kristen Stewart has mostly been doing bit and supporting parts. I, for one am ready to see her go lead in a respectable film, one that propels her stardom and notoriety, a la Ellen Page in Juno. Except, not Juno (I've made my feelings about Juno very clear. Liked it fine. Don't want to see any Juno knockoffs, even though I'm sure they're coming down the pipe). My point is, Ms. Stewart should NOT have be relegated to playing the supporting romantic reflector character for Adam Brody, an actor whose faux self-deprecating “hot-nerd” routine grew tiresome even on “Gilmore Girls,” long before he crossed over to “The O.C.” Nor should she have to play the babysitter in Jumanji in Outer Space. What this girl needs is a smart, character-driven drama. Possibly one written and directed by one of the awesome Todds (Haynes, Field, or Solondz. In that order). We can dream, right? As long as she doesn't go the way of so many young starlets (I don't have to name any names. They know who they are) and fall victim to the influences of the industry. But I have a feeling that she's pretty much in the clear. Plus her boyfriend is the innocently doe-eyed Michael Angarano of Sky High fame—I'm guessing he's not getting her into any trouble.
What does the Future Hold:
Looking forward, Stewart has a number of projects on the table. In 2008 alone, she's boasts five films (busy girl, that Stewart). She's got Yellow Handkerchief, which opened at Sundance recently and features her Into the Wild co-star William Hurt and the goddess that is Maria Bello. She also has a role in the new Barry Levinson film (also at Sundance) What Just Happened? She teams up with Ryan Reynolds in Adventureland, director Greg Mottola's follow up to Superbad. Oh, and she had a role in Jumper, but the less said about that (and Jamie Bell's involvement in the same) the better. Most bewildering is Twilight, which has Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) at the helm and tells the tale of a girl who falls in love with a vampire. Okay, I want Stewart to succeed. Not to mention Hardwicke to succeed (she showed so much promise with Thirteen) but after Lords of Dogtown and The Nativity Story, Hardwicke has two flops in a row and Twilight doesn't exactly sound like the type of film that's going to break the curse. But only time can tell. Patience, Ms. Stewart. Your time will come.