In the new film The Runaways, Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning play Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, musical pioneers who broke down gender stereotypes as members of the eponymous band. A sex-charged rejoinder to the argument that men rock harder than women, Jett and Currie found their strength even as their producer and promoter, industry luminary Kim Fowley, took advantage of their youth and feminine appeal. Unlike the characters they play, however, Stewart and Fanning aren't letting anyone exploit them, even if it's in the guise of empowerment; the actresses have spent much of their careers redefining the limits of roles young actresses can play, and the women offer equally powerful turns in this film, proving that even a downbeat ending, such as the one that eventually befell The Runaways, can turn into triumph later on.

At a recent press day in Los Angeles, Cinematical spoke to Stewart and Fanning about both The Runaways and the exploits, both good and bad, of the band that inspired the film. In addition to talking about the influence the real women had on the way they played their characters, Fanning and Stewart reflected on their own process for playing different roles, and offered a few insights about acting against a seemingly unstoppable wall of analysis coming both from the public, and occasionally, from within themselves.