When Kristen Stewart was making the teen romantic comedy “Adventureland,” she was just another young actress whom most people had never heard of. Then “Twilight” came out and changed all of that. That movie grossed more than $370 million worldwide and propelled her to stardom.
A definite advantage of fame is to be able to call attention to “Adventureland,” a critically acclaimed independent film that screened at Sundance. “Well, that part is good,” Stewart says. “I want as many people as possible to see this movie.”
To be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Glorietta 4 & Greenbelt 3) starting July 22, the sweet coming-of-age tale is about a college graduate whose parents are forced to renege on their promise to send him to Europe because they’re broke. Teen actor Jesse Eisenberg stars as James Brennan, the young man who instead finds work at a decrepit amusement park called Adventureland. Stewart plays fellow employee Em Lewin, a confused rich girl who is far more sexually advanced than James is.
Although Stewart is actually younger than the character she plays, she responded viscerally to the character, immediately latching onto Em’s volatile mix of sexual maturity and emotional naiveté. For even as Em is fishing for lost quarters in the arcade, she’s also searching for what her confused heart really wants. “I certainly don’t have the same life experiences Em has, but I felt I could relate to something in her,” says Stewart. “And knowing that she was based on real people [director] Greg Mottola has known, I felt a big responsibility to get everything about who she is and her affect on James across.”
As for what a daring, angry, experienced girl like Em sees in a shy, anxious, virginal guy like James, she observes: “There’s something about James that is wonderfully innocent – and Em is so past that, I think his attitude is just disarming to her. James comes along right at a time when she’s involved in something very complicated that’s filled with all kinds of feelings of guilt – and what happens between them is very sweet and simple and real, which is completely new to her.”
Mottola was also excited to see Stewart have the chance to reveal some of her comic chops. “I’ve always thought she had a very mysterious quality and she exudes intelligence, but she also can be very, very funny,” he notes. “She’s one of those actresses who I find deeply fascinating to watch on the screen.”
Eisenberg says the chemistry with Stewart was completely organic: “She’s so natural and realistic. It’s shocking to see someone so young come across with so much maturity.”
In turn, Stewart says of Eisenberg: “He’s completely earnest so there was never any pretension and it never felt like we were working at it. He’s as straight up and sincere as James, so I thought he was perfect in the role.”