With Camp X-Ray hitting theaters this weekend, Kristen Stewart is finally exploring life beyond Twilight. The indie drama, which tells the story of one soldier stationed at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, is a far cry from Bella and the world of vampires Stewart became so famous for over the past five years. During that time, Stewart became pigeonholed and often hated on for her participation in The Twilight Saga. And for those who only know those films are doing themselves a disservice. Her latest film — the first of three high profile films she has coming out this year — has earned the actress accolades on the festival circuit and reminded many of the promise she showed in roles, such as Sarah Altman in Panic Room or Emily in Adventureland. It’s those films that fans (and the haters) should watch if they want to restore their faith in Stewart.
Panic Room (2002)
Directed by David Fincher, the 2002 thriller told the story of a divorced mother and her diabetic daughter who are forced to hide in their house’s panic room when intruders break in. It was in this film, at the age of 11, that Stewart showed real promise of what was to come for the actress. And it doesn’t hurt that Fincher likened Stewart to “a young Jodie Foster,” the film’s main star.
Into the Wild (2007)
A year before her Twilight debut, Stewart joined the ensemble cast of Into the Wild. As Tracy Tatro, an underage free spirit, Stewart was one of the many characters Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) encountered on his journey to the Alaskan wilderness. The actress shined thanks to a few key scenes opposite Hirsch, which saw her character seducing him and showing off her guitar skills during a charming acoustic performance.
In between the first two Twilight films, Stewart starred opposite Jesse Eisenberg in this indie dramedy about working at a local amusement park. While it’s easy to come off as trite when playing the object of desire, Stewart keeps things cool here and leaves all the silly stuff to co-stars Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig.
The Runaways (2010)
In the film based on the real lives of Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, and the other members of The Runaways, Stewart channeled her inner rocker to bring Jett’s story to the the big screen. While the film itself fell into some of the typical tropes of music biopics, Stewart and co-stars Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon kept things from going off the rails. Their performances hit all the right notes (forgive the pun). And Stewart looks like a spitting image of Jett.
On the Road
While the film largely received mixed reviews, Stewart should be applauded for going outside the comfort zone of Twilight and tackling edgier material. It was certainly her most provocative role with a lot of attention surrounding her decision to appear topless on screen. However, she did act in the film holding her own alongside Garret Hedlund and Sam Riley. And it did win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival — that has to count for something.
Stewart is not the only Twilight star changing people’s opinions. Earlier this year, Robert Pattinson turned heads with his performance in The Rover. Check out why it’s time to rethink everything you know about him.