January 22, 2009 / 9:40 AM / 10 years ago

"Twilight" star Stewart rides roller coaster of fame

PARK CITY, UTAH (Reuters) - Vampire romance “Twilight” hurtled Kristen Stewart to the kind of fame that can turn a life into a roller coaster ride, so it seems appropriate that her new movie revolves around an amusement park.

Actress Kristen Stewart poses for a portrait while promoting the film "Adventureland" at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 20, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

“Adventureland,” which premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival, is one of a string of quirky movies Stewart, 18, has starred-in since her first film at age 11.

But none of those movies ever brought the actress the sort of attention she has received the last two months since “Twilight” struck gold at box offices with more than $324 million worldwide since its November debut.

In the movie, Stewart portrayed Bella Swan, a love-struck teen adored by millions of young girls after they began devouring the series of books on which the movie is based.

Stewart is a child of Hollywood — the daughter of a stage manager and a script supervisor — and her Los Angeles upbringing provided a close up view of fame that has helped her handle the three-ring media circus of Hollywood celebrity.

“I grew up on a set,” she told Reuters at Sundance. “I don’t take it as seriously, and then at the same time I take it more seriously than anyone. It’s like a balance.”

“Adventureland” is a coming-of-age movie about a recent college graduate named James, played by “The Squid and the Whale” star Jesse Eisenberg, who takes a summer job at an amusement park.

There, he falls in love with a tortured but sincere young carnival worker named Em Lewin (Stewart) and finds that true love is an adventure in and of itself.


Miramax Films will release the movie in March, following its premiere at Sundance — the No. 1 U.S. gathering for independent film. At the festival, a quirky and offbeat love story like “Adventureland” can gain the kind of media attention it needs to lure audiences to box offices.

“Adventureland” director Greg Mottola, who made 2007 hit comedy “Superbad,” said he has counseled Stewart about handling fame and fortune because the microscopic scrutiny by the media can be overwhelming for a teenager.

“I think there are some people who have some innate movie star gene that lets them just walk into that, like a George Clooney,” he said. “But it didn’t happen to him when he was that young. So I feel for her, that’s a really hard thing.”

She may be young, but Stewart already is something of a veteran and appears to handle the media glare well and she wants to stay active in Hollywood.

Already she has 16 movies on her filmography including “Panic Room,” “The Cake Eaters,” “Into the Wild” and “What Just Happened.” Her first role was 2001’s “The Safety of Objects,” about suburban families whose lives intertwine.

With upcoming roles as rocker Joan Jett in a biopic and again playing Bella in “New Moon,” the next installment in the “Twilight” franchise, Stewart said she has no immediate plans to attend college.

“Not now, maybe if I can grow up a little bit,” she said. “But not yet, I can’t. It’s just I’ve had a lot of demands put on me for quite a long time.”

editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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