Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Kristen Stewart gets dirty in fishnets, g-string

By Jay A. Fernandez

LOS ANGELES - "Twilight" fans are in for a shock.

Beautiful, virginal Bella Swan has morphed into a smoking, cussing 16-year-old New Orleans stripper/sex worker marked with bruises and scars named Mallory. Or Alison, actually.

Kristen Stewart, who has drawn legions of devoted followers as "Twilight's" conflicted protagonist, flips that portrayal on its head with "Welcome to the Rileys," the very R-rated indie drama that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday.

Stewart is raw, feral, feisty and utterly believable in ways that should remind everyone that she has chops well beyond teenaged vampire soap operas.

On Sunday, she starred in the premiere of "The Runaways," which is slotted for a March release through Apparition, the indie banner behind "The Young Victoria." That should seal the deal for any doubters.

Unfortunately, Stewart's younger fans are unlikely to see "Rileys," since it features a pot-smoking Stewart tossing off sexually explicit lines often delivered in various stages of undress -- or in her dancing get-up at the Dixie Divas club, including red Xs taped across her breasts, fishnets, a g-string and five-inch heels.

All of this is couched in a melancholy story about a middle-aged Indianapolis couple played by James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo numbed by the death of their daughter who eventually become entangled with Stewart's Alison in New Orleans in a misguided effort to "save" her.

Stewart was on-hand after the screening, hooded, arms crossed, and struggled to articulate just how she lived with the character and learned to understand what her life was like. As is often the case with Stewart's public appearances, her intense efforts to verbalize her thoughts came off as endearing.

Regardless, the excited pre-show chatter and fawning audience members proved that Stewart's star is unlikely to be tarnished anytime soon.

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