Twilight star Stewart plays pole-dancing prostitute

Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:08pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. actress Kristen Stewart, best known as Bella in the hit "Twilight" franchise, ditches her image as a wholesome, reserved teenager to play a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking prostitute in "Welcome to the Rileys."

The movie, which is at the Berlin film festival without its two biggest stars -- Stewart and "The Sopranos" lead James Gandolfini -- has found a distributor for the key U.S. market and will hit cinemas in the autumn.

Director Jake Scott, son of Ridley, said he first considered Stewart for the part of Mallory when Sean Penn recommended her on the strength of her performance in his movie "Into the Wild."

Stewart, 19, has become a teen idol for her part in the two Twilight movies released so far, and her involvement in Welcome to the Rileys is likely to be a major boost for a low-budget, independently produced film.

"We shot this in 2008, so Twilight came out when we'd wrapped," Scott told reporters in Berlin on Monday. "I saw her in 'Into the Wild'. We got lucky."

Stewart plays Mallory, a down-and-out teenaged stripper and prostitute in New Orleans who Doug Riley, played by Gandolfini, takes under his protective wing.

We quickly learn that his affection for the girl is driven by a desire to find a surrogate for his own daughter, who died in a car crash aged 15.

Riley's wife, played by Melissa Leo, overcomes her grief and paranoia and drives from their home to see him, and she quickly agrees to play the role of mother in the new "family."   Continued...