LOS ANGELES — One of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars often retreats to a nondescript building on a quiet industrial street in Van Nuys. For Kristen Stewart, the hide-out provides an escape from prying eyes of the paparazzi, a place to play arcade games and read scripts in her own private office. And if the 22-year-old ever needs motherly advice, all she has to do is walk down the hallway.
That’s where her mom, Jules Stewart, is busy plotting her own career. At 58, the elder Stewart is trying to emerge from the shadow of her daughter, who rocketed to fame on the vampire franchise “Twilight.”
After spending three decades as a script supervisor on films such as “Mortal Kombat” and “Little Giants,” Stewart’s directorial debut “K-11” hit theaters Friday. But she’s worried that people will think the only reason she got her $3-million gritty, L.A. jail drama made was because of her famous offspring.
“It’s extremely frustrating for me, because she’s 22 years old and I’m almost 60,” said Stewart, who looks almost Goth with her long jet-black hair, chunky silver rings and sleeve of tattoos. “In terms of life experience — hello! — I have it all over her. It’s not like I came out of nowhere.”
Stewart has worked on dozens of films since arriving in Hollywood at age 16 from her native Australia. Her knowledge of the industry helped her daughter break into the business: The young actress’ first role — she had no lines — was in 1999’s “The Thirteenth Year,” a Disney Channel television movie on which her mom was also employed.
Director Brian Levant, who has collaborated with Stewart on pictures such as “Are We There Yet?” and “Snow Dogs,” said he has long felt Stewart had the potential to command a set. As a script supervisor, she learned a lot about how directors work, serving as the liaison between the director and the editing room. She monitored shoots on sets daily, taking notes on what scenes have taken place and ensuring the internal continuity of the movie by making sure actors looked and sounded the same from shot-to-shot.