Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll is a lot for any 15-year-old to handle, but for Joan Jett and Cherie Currie of The Runaways, it became a lifestyle.

In the new biopic 'The Runaways,' stars Dakota Fanning (as Currie) and Kristen Stewart (as Jett) portray these young rock icons with fierceness and honesty. It was a filming experience that both say they will never forget.

Fanning felt a kindred spirit to Currie, being 15 herself at the time the movie was made, and wanting to prove that despite growing up on the big screen, she has the maturity to take on controversial subject matter and nail it. Stewart, a self-professed tomboy at 15, related to Jett's relentless battle against the stigma of being a female guitarist in a macho music business. Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll is a lot for any 15-year-old to handle, but for Joan Jett and Cherie Currie of The Runaways, it became a lifestyle.

In the new biopic 'The Runaways,' stars Dakota Fanning (as Currie) and Kristen Stewart (as Jett) portray these young rock icons with fierceness and honesty. It was a filming experience that both say they will never forget.

Fanning felt a kindred spirit to Currie, being 15 herself at the time the movie was made, and wanting to prove that despite growing up on the big screen, she has the maturity to take on controversial subject matter and nail it. Stewart, a self-professed tomboy at 15, related to Jett's relentless battle against the stigma of being a female guitarist in a macho music business.

In an exclusive interview, the two young actors talk about their experiences making 'Runaways' and what they learned about themselves playing the girls who changed the face of rock.

You can't tell the story of The Runaways without the trifecta of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Did you think of these as controversial subject matters for you to tackle?
Dakota Fanning:
For Cherie, drugs are obviously a big thing. It's ultimately why she leaves the band and ends this part of her career. I didn't want that to be all her character is about and all she is, but it is a big part of her storyline.
Kristen Stewart: As much as people think that it's half a success story and half a cautionary tale, it's sort of strange because from my perspective, and maybe it's just because I'm younger, I don't see the movie as something to learn from. What I learned from it is something very simple and fundamental, is just that people are different and you should always stand up for that. This is a moment in history where The Runaways did that and look at how cool that is, but the whole thing about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll and how it affects children's lives, I just wasn't thinking about that.

Cherie Currie and Joan Jett were 15 when they started the band. Where were you emotionally when you were that age?
Fanning:
Where I'm at personally doesn't really affect the roles that I choose. For this one, I really liked that I was 15 and Cherie was 15 when she was going through all of this because I never wanted it to be like I was pretending to be older and doing things that were too "old." This was a real thing and she actually went through this when she was that age, and I liked that parallel and similarity to her. My mom told me when I read the script that I had on a cherry temporary tattoo, which is kind of weird. Cherie loves that story. I think she tells it to everybody!
Stewart: It's funny how you remember your life in movies, like how old were you when you did this movie. I remember being 15 when I did 'In The Land of Women.' I was still in school, which was different, but like Dakota, I lived a really normal life that is really starkly different from theirs.

What would you say were the toughest scenes to shoot and why?
Fanning:
The performances, because you're having to do the things that they did and having to emulate that. And also the scene where I leave the band was really hard. It was towards the end of the movie and we all had become really close. It was like it was real and it was sad.
Stewart: Yeah, and I built that scene up so much in my head. The way it was written, not everything was on the surface. There was so much going on that I was so concerned about getting it. And it was so sad when the movie ended. We had done so much that we just wanted to chill out and be retrospective.

Were you nervous about the kissing scene you two share?
Fanning:
For me, because people have seen me grow up since I was 6, I think people feel like they own a part of me in a way. That's completely understandable because now I'm 16, so it's been 10 years from when I was a little girl. I'm not grown up yet, but I'm a lot older and I think sometimes people don't want to see you in certain positions. But you have to understand [that] I'm an actress and I'm going to do all different things and it's not me, personally. It's just a movie and it's just acting. I'm not too good to be in that position because so many young girls are in worse positions than what I could do in a movie.
Stewart: I thought of that scene as raunchy and vulgar. They didn't take it seriously because that is what Joan is about. She demands to have her sexuality be respected. She is an aggressive person in that way and so it wasn't like a romance. They [Cherie and Joan] were just really best friends and they were so close, so it just happened. It was very impulsive the way the scene was written and the way it happened, apparently, it was very natural. It was a couple of lines like, "They're walking down the street and you can barely see them and then all of a sudden there's a light, and ... " In the script it was very subjective and vague.



In real life, Joan and Cherie say they were shot down for being women in a man's world. Have you ever experienced something similar to that?
Fanning:
I've grown up thinking I could do whatever I wanted and it didn't matter. I think a lot of people our age don't realize there was a time where you actually couldn't do certain things without it being such a huge deal.
Stewart: I was a total and complete tomboy and it was completely OK. I had brothers, so when I was little I did not want to do girl stuff, ever. It was weird. I just wanted to play with my brothers. My brothers were great, and they're still like my best friends. I've always done everything with them. Joan was a tomboy, too, and people had issues with that.

How do you think fame in rock 'n' roll compares to movie star fame?
Fanning:
I think when you're acting, people like the characters that you play and that's who they want you to be. I find most of the time, especially when I was younger, everybody was calling me Lucy from 'I Am Sam' and that's who they thought I was. When you're a musician they want you, which is a different thing.
Stewart: I think the biggest difference is that as a musician you're writing songs and you're saying things with your music. You're making statements and you're expressing yourself. We express ourselves in a very different way. We, for whatever reason, are compelled to play other people so we're not representing ourselves. But as a musician you have a serious opportunity to get yourself out there and for people to know who you are and what you're saying. So the way you react to the fans is going to be a completely different experience. Even though we're public figures, I don't really feel like one because people don't really know me.

What were the most surprising things you learned about yourselves playing Joan and Cherie?
Fanning:
All four of us have become really close. This experience means so much to me and I think changed me. I see things differently now that I've done this, and I compare so many things in my life to this experience and to them.
Stewart: Every movie experience changes you to a certain degree, but this more so than others. They're just very, very inspiring women and it's always awesome to see people that age be so cool. Joan is one of the nicest and most confident people I've ever met. She's got a crazy set of morals. She's righteous but rightfully so. I would love to be like them.

CATEGORIES Interviews