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THE RUNAWAYS

The Production
Summer 2009, Kristen Stewart transforms into a fiery red leather jumpsuit-wearing, guitar-strumming powerhouse. Immediately to her right, Dakota Fanning is now a glam rock star, wearing a tight corset and fishnets. The crowd goes wild as the band rips into the thunderous "Cherry Bomb,” The Runaways' biggest hit. 

The hyper-realistic moment is something far more than actors filming a scene: Fanning is really singing and Stewart is really playing as tears begin to fill the eyes of the real Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, who are watching their lives play out thirty years later. The fans are pretending to cheer for The Runaways but are sincerely star-struck at the site of Fanning and Stewart. 

Raw truth and authenticity prevail as Floria Sigismondi directs the camera to capture the moment at every conceivable angle. For the characters it is the apex of their journey. For the young actors, it is near the end of an intense month-long shoot, where they have been challenged by the grittiest, and perhaps deepest, roles of their careers. 

Sigismondi wasn't interested in making a biopic or celebrating the past. She saw The Runaways as a way to tell a story of empowerment where young girls come into their own and set out to make a place for themselves.

"It is a coming of age story of young women kind of getting in too far deep into, and kind of surviving, their time together,” said Sigismondi. "They just get too far, lost in their circumstance. But it is not a documentary. I have taken liberties with trying to depict the truth through the events, and finding a story beyond what we know.”

This story was four years in the making— beginning with producer John Linson (Lords of Dogtown) who licensed the rights to Currie's book and set out to get this movie made. Growing up around the entertainment business and the music industry (his father is renowned producer Art Linson— Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Untouchables, Heat— also a producer on The Runaways), John Linson was particularly versed on the toll fame can take, especially on youth.

He was at a party talking music and the name Cherie Currie came up. Cherie was someone Linson admits to "having a bit of a crush on” when he was a young kid reading the wild tales of The Runaways in "Creem” magazine. As the others conversed about the impact of The Runaways on music, Linson was struck with the idea of "making a movie about two young girls who go up against Hollywood.” To do The Runaways justice, Linson knew this wasn't going to be some PG-13 sugarcoated version of the band that quells the racier parts of the story. "It wasn't as much to do a music film as much as a teenage girl powered drama that tells the truth of what life can be and not be in LA,” Linson continues. 

To make the movie they wanted to make, the Linsons needed the right backing from a production company that was unafraid to produce films that fly in the face of studio formulas and convention. They didn't have to look far to find River Road Entertainment, given Art Linson had just produced Sean Penn's acclaimed adaptation of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, based on the life Christopher McCandless and his extraordinary journey into the American West. For a company that has made a number of "true stories,” River Road is not interested in simply recreating the past. The company aims to produce films that stand the test of time in the sense that they are more about the characters' progression and the broader meaning of their lives as much as the individual beats along the way.

The Linsons and River Road founder Bill Pohlad were in sync on the angle of The Runaways story. "It has to be about the people,” said Pohlad. "It is about girls, and the ability even at that young age to try to find yourself and try to cut something out of life for yourself as opposed to just being part of a pattern or falling<

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