A Runaway Red Carpet
Thursday night's premiere brought out stars Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart and original Runaway Cherie Currie
By Ashley Moreno, 12:51PM, Fri. Mar. 19, 2010
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At the Q&A after the screening of The Runaways, Dakota Fanning admitted she wasn’t everyone’s first guess to play cherry bomb, Cherie Currie. “People think of me as a lot younger just because I’ve been acting for a long time,” said Fanning. But at the real Currie’s request, Fanning performed one of the singer’s go-to moves. Turns out, Fanning did get taller.
Director Floria Sigismondi’s previous work in the music industry made The Runaways, her first feature, seem like a natural progression. “I’ve wanted to make a feature for the last five years. So when this came along it sounded perfect,” said Sigismondi. “It just felt like the right thing to do – being in the music world and about young girls and what it’s like to grow up in that crazy world.”
When asked at the Thursday night's event at the Paramount about her inspiration, Sigismondi listed, as one of her sources the 1980 film Foxes, which Currie co-starred in as angry runaway Annie. “It was the closest I could get to her face,” said Sigismondi.
According to Currie, Foxes accurately reflects her at that stage of her life, and served to help Fanning with her portrayal as well. “Annie was really me. I started that film right off the heels of the Runaways. I even told Dakota, I wasn’t boisterous and in-your-face like I am now – now that I’m old,” said Currie. “I told Dakota to look at Foxes because that was really the way I was. I don’t know how to act.” Later in the Q&A, we saw some of the boisterous bravery that comes with age, when a young female audience member asked Cherie about a scene in which the girls get into an altercation with two members from an all-male, 1970s-style, stadium rock band. “I think that scene must have been based on the band Rush,” said Currie. “They were god awful.”
While the film includes side stories about the girls’ families and the rest of the band, it really focuses predominantly on Joan and Cherie. “They were nicknamed salt and pepper. I was really drawn to the two of them as the main story,” said Sigismondi. “Working with the ideas and everything that happened, I knew what would stick and what wouldn’t just by the story that I wanted to tell – which was their friendship in this world and how different they are and how they came together and how special that was.”
The band’s manager, Kim Fowley, played by Michael Shannon, attended the screening as well. While he didn’t comment how accurate he found Sigismondi’s script and Shannon’s performance, which seemed unflattering, Kristen Stewart (playing Joan Jett) did talk about her conversations with Jett about Fowley and their relationship. “Kim has a strange reputation,” Stewart said. “One of the things that would not have been conveyed correctly had Joan not been on set was that I thought he was such an asshole too. And I was I like, ‘Why would you listen to someone that told you that you need to be more of what you already are?’ And she was like, ‘You’re not threatened by him.’ They were friends. They had a really cool and really neat friendship. They were writing partners. She got her start with Kim.”
Sigismondi also picked up on the dual nature of Fowley’s relationship with the band. “I interviewed everybody, and everybody has their point of view on that,” said Sigismondi. “Joan was more friends with him, and Cherie looked at him in a very different way. Her relationship with him was very different. That’s how it was. That’s how it came out in the film.”
Overall, the characters and their relationships with one another took precedence in the film, which means that Sigismondi took some historical liberties with the plot. For example, in the film, Fowley is still around when the band breaks up. In life, he was not. “To me it was important to bring [Fowley] back into the film at the end because they had just gone on tour, and it was just the band without him for a while. I felt like we needed to see some of what was going on between Kim and the girls,” said Sigismondi. “For me, it was important to catch the characteristics of the personalities, and build the scenes according to that.”