The Runaways - Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart
The Runaways - Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) © Apparition
The Runaways - Dakota Fanning
Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) © Apparition

Boy has Dakota Fanning grown up! Still only sixteen years old, she’s currently starring as Cherie Currie in the new movie The Runaways, which spotlights the short history of the all-girl band, and the love-hate relationship between Currie and fellow band member Joan Jett (Kristin Stewart).

Currie met Jett when she auditioned for The Runaways, formed by the uber-eccentric Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon), a foul-mouthed manager who manufactured the girls ‘jailbait’ image, playing on the teenagers’ youth and vulnerability.

It’s another bold role for Dakota Fanning to take on, and one she spoke frankly about on the press day.

People were concerned when you played a very young girl who was raped in Hound Dog. Were you concerned that there would be a backlash regarding this film where people will say, ‘Hey, she’s still underage and playing so many ‘adult’ scenes?’

The Runaways - Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning
Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) © Apparition

I don’t want to say, ‘I don’t care,’ because, obviously, you do care, but at a certain point you can’t care because there’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t like what you’re doing, and doesn’t like your movies, and thinks you shouldn’t be doing that for some reason or another. If you pay attention to everyone, you can never make everybody happy.

In this movie, I was fifteen playing another fifteen-year-old who went through all this when she was fifteen. Why am I too good that I can’t portray that when there are people everywhere that are even younger than that going through so much worse?

Was it wonderful to have Cherie around so you could chat with her about the role?

The Runaways - Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart
Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) © Apparition

I think it’s amazing when you have the actual people there. It’s like the ultimate. With all characters, if there were a real person you could talk to, it would be amazing.

And when you are actually living someone’s life over again for them, it has to be so surreal and you want them to be as involved as they want to be and, luckily, they wanted to be as involved as Kristen and I wanted them to be.

Did you have any hesitation to do the singing yourself or do you just do a lot of singing on your own?

(she laughs) Not really. I don’t. But I never thought of doing it any other way.  I thought that’s what would be asked of me. I feel like you’re almost cheating when you don’t actually do it.  I just would have felt like I was missing something.

Talk about your own musical tastes.

My musical tastes have definitely been broadened from this movie and I have really found that I can’t get out of listening to The Runaways and Joan because it just brings back the memories of making the movie, and I love it so much and it makes me happy. So, I listen to that a lot. Before that, I loved music but I’m not a huge music person. I don’t listen to a ton of music but that’s definitely changed after doing this.

I really wanted to be part of this to bring The Runaways to a different audience that maybe didn’t know about them before, because I wasn’t aware of them before and I feel like that’s a lot of people in our generation and I think that’s wrong.

The Runaways - Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart
Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) © Apparition

Cherie did a (David Bowie) Ziggy Stardust performance at her high school. How did you prepare for that scene and are you a David Bowie fan?

I am a David Bowie fan and, for Cherie, David Bowie was a huge part of her life because that’s who she channeled on stage, and that’s who she wanted to be and wanted to emulate. I really loved doing that scene. That was a dance I had worked on with a choreographer.  I had these huge bruises on my knees the next day from going down on my knees over and over again, but it was so fun. I loved doing it.

For Cherie, that was her moment of embracing being kind of a weirdo and accepting that, because she had lived her life in the shadow of her twin sister pretty much her whole life and that was her moment of stepping out and accepting that she wasn’t like everybody else which I think is really powerful.

How is playing a performer different from a normal role?

I’ve never played a character that sings or performs and this is double the load because you’re playing a real person who performs and people know these performances. I was talking to someone who said, ‘I went online and compared you doing Cherry Bomb to her doing Cherry Bomb, so there’s that extra pressure to do it right.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.