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Welcome to Stardom, Kristen Stewart

A few months ago, nobody knew who Kristen Stewart was. Now, thanks largely to Twilight’s huge opening weekend, she’s just a blog post away from her very own celebrity nickname.

This might not be good news for K-Stew because it probably means she will be answering stupid questions about dating vampires until Breaking Dawn comes out on DVD. (For the uninitiated: that’s the fourth and final book in Stephenie Meyer’s young adult series; film adaptations of the other two, New Moon and Eclipse, are already a go and the whole enterprise has created mass hysteria –seriously, have you not heard about this?)

Generally, though, Twilight’s success is great because not only does picturing Stewart as Bella Swan make Meyer’s swoon-y heroine more tolerable for some of us, it also helped her land the role of Joan Jett in the upcoming biopic The Runaways. Even though I have no idea who else was up for the part, I’ll say this: She is unequivocally the right choice.

How annoying would it have been to watch a flashier actress — like, for instance, that emaciated girl from the new 90210 who plays Silver and bears a passing resemblance to Jett — vamp her way through this project, making token comments about “women in rock”?

Not to be wildly speculative because I’ve never met Stewart, but she seems like the kind of girl who knows the difference between Kathleen Hanna and Katy Perry. (And for the sake of convincing myself of that I am also going to assume that when she told David Letterman she would like to drive from London to, hmm, Russia, she was merely humoring him). Either way, she definitely earns points for telling Cinematical that some of Bella’s lines were “trite crap.”

The fact that Stewart gets uncomfortable every time her Twilight co-star Rob Pattinson tells a reporter that he has a crush on her makes her seem as endearing and approachable as the angsty, androgynous girls-next-door whom she’d portrayed even before Bella: Meg Ryan’s bratty daughter in the abysmally-titled but decent In the Land of Women? That was Stewart. The guitar-strumming nymph brimming with emotion who tried unsuccessfully to seduce Emile Hirsh in last year’s Into the Wild? Also Stewart. (It was Hirsch who reportedly recommended Stewart to Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke). And this March, she’ll play the object of Jesse Eisenberg and Ryan Reynold’s affections in Greg Mattola’s awesome 80s-era drama Adventureland, so far my favorite movie of 2009.

I’m relieved that Stewart is contractually obliged to appear on film for the next couple of years. She’s a refreshing change from the silly, overly-coiffed teenagers of shows like 90210 and Gossip Girl. And her eagerness to avoid talking about Twilight for the rest of her career will probably mean she’ll keep taking more challenging roles. And, no, I don’t just mean by playing a hooker (though she will do that in next year’s Welcome to the Rileys. Edward wouldn’t approve).

I look forward to seeing her Joan Jett. Now if we may nominate Friday Night Lights’ Aimee Teegarden for the role of Lita Ford….

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