PARK CITY, Utah — Kristen Stewart has jetted into the Sundance Film Festival four times before, but none of the 19-year-old's visits can possibly compare to her experience at the 2010 fest. Not only has Stewart fully established herself as one of the biggest stars on the planet after two blockbuster "Twilight" films, but the actress is premiering two films at the festival and dealing with all the publicity needs such films require.
So, there she was on the red carpet at "Welcome to the Rileys," in which she plays a damaged teen stripping for cash in the seedy back alleys of New Orleans. There she was on the red carpet of "The Runaways," the rock biopic that has her assuming the role of Joan Jett. She spent her weekend dutifully posing for photographs and making her way down the press line, because that's what a teen superstar has to do. But when the flashes died down and the hungry reporters retreated, Stewart had a chance to enjoy the aspect of this cinema carnival that she truly embraces.
"The coolest thing about Sundance is coming back and seeing the people you made the movies with," she told MTV News on the "Rileys" carpet. "Everyone on 'The Runaways,' we became really close. Me and Dakota [Fanning] are really close. I love that she can see ['Welcome to the Rileys'] with me."
Stewart is already receiving strong reviews for her turn in "Rileys." It's a role she told us is the most personal of her career, a transformative experience that has stayed with her long after production wrapped. More than a year has passed since the shoot, and Stewart still finds it difficult to talk about the role. She said she had trouble separating her own life from her character's.
"It doesn't feel like a movie," she said a day later during a sit-down interview.
Nor does it feel like any of her previous trips to Sundance. All the attention that has come as a result of the "Twilight" films has conspired to deprive her of another of her favorite aspects of the festival.
"I can't walk up and down Main Street, and walking up and down Main Street is sort of where you see everybody and you see what's going on," Stewart said, pausing momentarily. "Whoa, I was going to start crying."
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