Kristen Jaymes Stewart (born April 9, 1990) is an American actress. She is best known for playing Bella Swan in Twilight and New Moon, and will reprise her role in Eclipse. She has also starred in films such as Panic Room, Zathura, In the Land of Women, Adventureland, The Messengers and most recently, as rock star Joan Jett in The Runaways.
Kristen Stewart was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her father, John Stewart, is a stage manager and television producer who has worked for Fox. Her mother, Jules Mann-Stewart, is a script supervisor originally from Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia. She has an older brother, Cameron Stewart. Stewart attended school until the seventh grade, and then continued her education by correspondence. She has since completed high school.
Stewart's acting career began at the age of eight, after an agent saw her perform in her elementary school's Christmas play. Stewart's first role was a nonspeaking part in the film The Thirteenth Year. Then, she had another part in the film The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas as the "ring toss girl." She subsequently appeared in the independent film The Safety of Objects, in which she played the tomboy daughter of a troubled single mother (Patricia Clarkson). Stewart had a major role in the Hollywood film Panic Room, playing the diabetic daughter of a divorced mother (Jodie Foster). The film received generally positive reviews, and Stewart garnered positive notices for her performance.
After Panic Room's success, Stewart was cast in another thriller, Cold Creek Manor, playing the daughter of Dennis Quaid's and Sharon Stone's characters; the film generally failed at the box office. Her first starring role followed, in the children's action-comedy Catch That Kid, opposite Max Thieriot and Corbin Bleu. Stewart also played the role of Lila in the thriller Undertow. To date, Stewart's most critically acclaimed role may be in the television film Speak, based on the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. Stewart, 13 at the time of filming, played high school freshman Melinda Sordino, who stops almost all verbal contact after being raped and who deals with enormous amounts of emotional turmoil. Stewart received great praise for playing the character, who had only a few speaking lines, but kept up a dark-witted commentary inside her head throughout the film.
In 2005, Stewart appeared in the fantasy-adventure film Zathura, playing the role of Lisa, the irresponsible older sister of two little boys, who turn their house into a spacecraft hurtling uncontrollably in outer space by playing a board game. The film received praise by critics, but Stewart's performance did not garner much media attention, as it was noted that her character is immobilized during most of the film. The following year, she played the character Maya in Fierce People, directed by Griffin Dunne. After that film, she received the lead role of Jess Solomon in the supernatural thriller film The Messengers.
In 2007, Stewart appeared as teenager Lucy Hardwicke in In the Land of Women, a romantic drama starring Meg Ryan and The O.C. star Adam Brody. The film, as well as Stewart's performance, received mixed reviews. That same year, Stewart appeared in Sean Penn's critically acclaimed adaptation film Into the Wild. For her portrayal of Tracy — a teenage singer who has a crush on young adventurer Christopher McCandless — Stewart received generally positive reviews. Salon.com considered her work a "sturdy, sensitive performance," and the Chicago Tribune noted that she did "vividly well with a sketch of a role." Her performance was not without detractors, however; Variety's critic Dennis Harvey wrote, "It's unclear whether Stewart means to be playing hippie-chick Tracy as vapid, or whether it just comes off that way." After Into the Wild, Stewart had a cameo appearance in Jumper and also appeared in What Just Happened, which was released in October 2008. She also co-stars in The Cake Eaters an independent film that has only been screened at film festivals.
On November 16, 2007, Summit Entertainment announced that Stewart would play Isabella "Bella" Swan in the film Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire romance novel of the same name. Stewart was on the set of Adventureland when director Catherine Hardwicke visited her for an informal screen test which "captivated" the director. She stars alongside Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen, her character's vampire boyfriend. The film began production in February 2008 and finished filming in May 2008. Twilight was released domestically on November 21, 2008. After the release of Twilight, Kristen Stewart was awarded the MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance for her portrayal as Bella Swan. Stewart reappeared as Bella in the sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and will reprise this role in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Stewart will star in a film called K-11 with Nikki Reed, also of Twilight, and Jason Mewes. The film, which is being directed by Stewart's mother, takes place in a dorm of the Los Angeles County Jail, and will feature both Stewart and Reed as male characters. Stewart was also cast to portray Joan Jett in The Runaways, a biopic of the titular band from writer-director Floria Sigismondi. Stewart met with Jett over the 2008-2009 New Year to prepare for the role, and ended up prerecording songs in a studio for the upcoming film. She has recently been nominated and presented with the BAFTA Rising Star award. She also stars alongside James Gandolfini in Welcome to the Rileys, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010.
In 2009 Stewart starred in The Yellow Handkerchief, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and which was released into theaters on February 26, 2010 by Samuel Goldwyn Films. In the 2010 82nd Annual Academy Awards, Stewart and Twilight co-star Taylor Lautner presented a tribute in honour of the horror movie genre.