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Though most famous for her role as Bella Swan in the Twilight saga, Kristen Stewart has been a working actor since her early years in Los Angeles, California. Her parents, John Stewart and Jules Stewart, both work in film and television. Her mother is Australian. The family includes three boys, her older brother Cameron Stewart, and two adopted brothers Dana and Taylor.
After a talent scout caught her grade school performance in a Christmas play at the age of eight, she appeared on television in a few small roles. Her first significant role came when she was cast as Sam Jennings in The Safety of Objects (2001). Soon after that, she starred alongside Jodie Foster in the hit drama, Panic Room (2002) and was nominated for a Young Artist Award.
Praised for her Panic Room performance, she went on to join the cast of Cold Creek Manor (2003) as the daughter of Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone. Though the film did not do well at the box office, she received another nomination for a Young Artist Award. After appearing in a handful of movies and a Showtime movie called Speak (2004), Stewart was cast in the role of a teenage singer living in a commune in Sean Penn's Into the Wild (2007), a critically acclaimed biopic. A third Young Artist Award nomination resulted in a win for this role. She also appeared in Mary Stuart Masterson's The Cake Eaters (2007) that same year.
Just 18, Stewart took on the starring role in Twilight (2008/I) opposite Robert Pattinson who plays the vampire lead, Edward Cullen. Based on a series of the same name written by Stephenie Meyer, the novel already had a huge following and the film opened to fans anxious to see the vampire romance brought to life. Awarded the MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance, Stewart's turn as Bella continued in the sequels New Moon (2009) and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010). The final installments of the series start filming in late 2010.
Rocketed into stardom with the Twilight films, Stewart has continually shrunk from the spotlight. She's also taken on a number of indie projects such as Adventureland (2009) (filmed prior to the Twilight series) and Welcome to the Rileys (2010). And she took on the daunting task of playing rocker Joan Jett in Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways (2010) alongside Dakota Fanning. Though most critics heaped praised on Fanning for her poignant performance as Cherie Currie, Stewart also received praise for her acting and musical performances.
One of Stewart's next big projects is the upcoming film adaptation of the classic novel by Jack Kerouac, On the Road (2012), in which she'll star as Marylou. Shooting begins in the summer of 2010.
Stewart continues to live in Los Angeles, California.