Kristen Stewart’s been living a double life. By twilight, she stars as Bella Swan in the red-hot vampire franchise (the first two, “Twilight” and “New Moon,” have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, and “Eclipse” earned nearly $300 million domestic).
But while these global blockbusters have supercharged her career, the 20-year-old actress has also been moonlighting in such edgy indie films as “Welcome to the Rileys” (as a strung out New Orleans stripper) and “The Runaways” (where she portrayed hard-living ’70s rocker Joan Jett). Both premiered at Sundance and further cemented her reputation as that Hollywood rarity, a beautiful actress more interested in substance than glamour, and with the acting chops to back it up.
The L.A. native has showbiz in her DNA — her father’s a TV producer, her Aussie mom a script supervisor — and was discovered by a talent scout at a school Christmas play. After some small TV roles, she appeared in “The Safety of Objects” and then got her big break playing Jodie Foster’s daughter in the David Fincher-directed 2002 thriller “Panic Room,” mixing it up with provocative dramatic roles along the way, including a memorable turn as an underage, desert commune-dwelling seductress in Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild.”
Despite her new career trajectory, Stewart shows no sign of wanting to leave her indie cred in the dust. She just wrapped production on “On the Road,” an adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel directed by Walter Salles that shot in Argentina, and will play a male-to-female transsexual in “K-11,” a prison drama co-written by her mother, who will also direct.