The Career Analyst: Kristen Stewart

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So last week’s Adam Sandler analysis really took off and we got some interesting comments, which means it’s time to delve into even more controversial territory, which certainly may be the case with our latest candidate for career analysis: Kristen Stewart. At this point, we probably don’t even need to mention any of “The Twilight Saga” movies in which Kristen Stewart has starred as Bella Swan, because everyone already knows how successful they’ve been. That’s really the role that Stewart will be remembered for, probably for at least the next two decades.

Looking at Kristen Stewart by The Numbers, she’s got a billion dollars under her belt in domestic box office by the age of 21 and she’s likely to be adding another $600 to 700 million (just domestically) in the coming year. She has seven positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, probably more than Adam Sandler who has made far more movies. You won’t see a “Twilight Saga” installment among them, though.

Most moviegoers’ first impressions of Ms. Stewart was when she played Jodie Foster’s daughter in David Fincher’s Panic Room in 2002, a big role in a movie that made nearly $100 million domestically. Some may have been surprised when she followed that up with two very different movies, both which bombed, the thriller Cold Creek Manor, playing Dennis Quaid’s daughter, and Catch That Kid, a family action-adventure in which she starred. In 2005, she had a small role in Jon Favreau’s family adventure Zathura, then two years later starred in the Screen Gems horror film The Messengers, although like so many movies, these just barely made a mark and were quickly forgotten. She also started getting more roles in independent films that would receive acclaim at film festivals but then mostly get ignored theatrically.

In 2007, she had a small role opposite Emile Hirsch in Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, which was the closest Stewart has gotten to an Oscar-worthy movie so far, and also appeared in In the Land of Women, which put her opposite Meg Ryan, another iconic female star who could potentially offer her some career advice.

Not that she would need it because next came Twilight, a movie that would forever change Stewart’s role in the business as well as her image, as she and her co-star Robert Pattinson were immediately elevated to the level of some of the biggest stars in the business. Of course, that’s to be expected after the first movie grossed nearly $200 million and then both of its follow-ups floated closer to the $300 million mark.

Even so, she continued to take on daring roles in movies like Greg Mottola’s Adventureland ($16 million gross) opposite Jesse Eisenberg, played Joan Jett in The Runaways ($3.5 million) and took on the role of a stripper in Jake Scott’s Welcome to the Rileys, which had her acting opposite award winners like James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo. All three of those films appeared at the Sundance Film Festival, where Stewart has become a regular fixture, but she’s been in too many movies that barely even made $500,000, and that’s after 2008 when her Q-rating notched up so drastically.

Either way, it’s the “Twilight” movies that have made Stewart in hot demand on the late night talk show circuit, but recently, when she appears on these shows, it seems like she’s bored or too cool to be there.

We may as well just call it as we see it: “Kristen Stewart can’t handle fame.”

Granted, lots of great actors don’t like doing press and almost immediately crawl back into their shell when confronted with questions about their work or craft. Being interviewed is actually an odd thing and probably the worst part of being any sort of artist. Even so, Stewart is an actress, so she needs to find a way to use her acting skills to make it seem like she’s comfortable in her own skin. She’s been acting long enough and she’s been dealing with all the other stuff involved with the movie business for nearly ten years now.

You’re a star, Kristen, act like it. You can be famous and not be an a-hole and let it go to your head. You have to accept that you’re famous and that people want to talk to you and not try to act like being famous is below you. Many people would kill for your success as well as the number of people, particularly young girls, who love and look up to you.

You can be an artist and keep making movies like The Runaways and Adventureland and Welcome to the Rileys but f*ck’s sake, find a role that lets you smile a little bit. I know–do a comedy! Prove to the critical people who don’t feel you have any sort of acting range that you can surprise them. It’s actually worked in career-changing ways for other actresses who took on roles one normally wouldn’t expect of them, and it will keep you in the public eye when you’re not promoting “Twilight.” (And who knows? We can definitely see the day that Stewart will be in a role that gets her awards attention, but she has to be ready to glad-hand and kiss up to those annoying voters!)

The best thing going for Stewart is that next summer, before the last part of “The Twilight Saga” is released, she’ll be starring in the big budget fantasy epic Snow White and the Huntsman, a take on a classic fairy tale that will have a trailer in front of this weekend’s “Breaking Dawn – Part 1.” This is a good way for Stewart to keep making big movies that bring in audiences that aren’t necessarily “Twilight” and who knows? Maybe the movie will do well enough that it can lead to another movie or franchise for her, something that will allow her to keep making smaller movies as well.

In the meantime, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 will open on Thursday at midnight and seeing how many sell-out shows it already has, we expect it to be another movie that completely shocks people with how much money it makes.

The Career Analyst’s Rating for Kristen Stewart:

B

Reason for this Grade: Stewart has a lot of potential as an actress, especially when taking on daring roles in independent films, which often helps them get made and possibly seen. She also has the potential for being a serious box office star outside the “Twilight” movies, but her attitude kind of sucks–or at least it comes across that way–and it’s the kind of thing that can have her fans turning against her in a heartbeat, especially once “The Twilight Saga” comes to an end.

(Photo credit: WENN.com)