It was October 2008, and Kristen Stewart wasn’t yet one of the most recognizable young actresses on the planet. Mega-stardom wouldn’t come for another few weeks, when “Twilight” would earn $70 million in its first three days in theaters. She was an 18-year-old actress incredibly thankful to be taking on her first adult role and willing to do anything to deliver a killer performance.
That’s how Stewart found herself in a seedy New Orleans strip club researching her part as an underage stripper and prostitute in “Welcome to the Rileys.”
“I talked to a couple of girls who worked in a strip club that we actually used for the set,” she told MTV News more than a year later while promoting the film at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. “One of them was really dynamic, really interesting and charismatic. The other girl was less willing to talk about stuff, which means she’s probably more in touch with it than the girl that was willing to talk about it. She’s in the middle.”
Not only did she talk with the girls, but as director Jake Scott told us, Stewart practiced dancing in the club itself. It was all in an effort to achieve verisimilitude for the role and to respect the stories of the women with whom she spoke. The film follows Stewart’s character as she meets a troubled husband (James Gandolfini) who takes her under his wing, trying in many ways to find a replacement for his deceased teen daughter.
Since the film’s premiere at Sundance, the now 19-year-old Stewart has won applause for her risky performance, one that made far more demands on her emotionally than playing Bella Swan in the “Twilight” films.
“She went for it,” Scott told MTV News during a separate interview. “She got dirty. I think she was dying to do something like this.”
The MTV Movies team was all over the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Go to Sundance.MTV.com for exclusive clips, reviews, photos and interviews with everyone from Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds to Ben Affleck and James Franco.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Welcome to the Rileys.”
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