Monday, March 29, 2010

Reel Thoughts Interview: Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb!


Kristen Stewart trades Bella’s problems with vampires and werewolves in the Twilight movies for a ride on the wild side as Joan Jett in The Runaways. The movie, which also stars Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon, is about the girl group The Runaways that formed in 1975 and launched the careers of Jett, Cherie Curry and Lita Ford with hits like “Cherry Bomb”.

I recently spoke with The Runaways co-producer David Grace, who has worked on films like American Gun and the lesbian fave What’s Cooking? He was also executive producer on the television show Even Stevens, which launched Shia LeBeouf’s career.

NC: Kristin Stewart's career is on fire. How did her involvement help or hinder the production? How do you feel about her performance as Joan Jett?
DG: Kristen's involvement was a real help to the picture, getting someone of her caliber to play Joan Jett made the project go, and she's amazing in the role. She and Joan spent a lot of time together and I think it really shaped her performance. She really became Joan.

NC: What about Dakota Fanning? How do you feel about her work in The Runaways?
DG: I've worked with a lot of great young actors in my career, but Dakota's in another league. She has such amazing instincts as an actress, she is really remarkable. I think one of the things that makes this movie special is the fact that we have teenagers playing these roles. The Runaways were so young when the band formed, and I think having people who are the same age as they were when it happened makes the story much more powerful. I don't think it would be the same if there were 23-year-olds playing these parts.


NC: As a producer, what kind of thought goes into choosing your projects? What film or films are you most proud of having done?
DG: The most important thing to me is the story, because a film is only as good as the story it tells. That is what drew me to The Runaways. It's amazing what these girls went through as teenagers. The Runaways is certainly one of the movies I'm most proud of, along with What's Cooking? and a little movie called Keith.

NC: What was it like premiering The Runaways at Sundance?
DG: There is nothing like being at Sundance with a movie that has that much buzz going.

NC: What is your favorite thing about The Runaways?
DG: It really has the feel of the period down, it looks great and I think the three leads, Kristen, Dakota and Michael Shannon, are all amazing. I think those performances are what stands out the most for me.

UPDATE: The Runaways is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.

Interview by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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