A First Look at Kristen Stewart in ‘J.T. LEROY’

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photo courtesy of Universal Pictures Content Group

Kristen Stewart plays Savannah Knoop in the newly released film J.T. LEROY, directed by Justin Kelly and based on the novel Girl Boy Girl by author Savannah Knoop.

Based on Savannah Knoop’s memoir Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT Leroy, this captivating true story goes beyond the headlines to tell the story of the most compelling literary ‘hoax’ of recent times. Laura Albert (Laura Dern) writes as her “avatar,” a disenfranchised young queer man named JT LeRoy. When her debut novel becomes a best-seller and JT becomes the darling of the literary world, she comes up with a unique solution to preserve her anonymity but give life to her nom-de- plume.

Enter her boyfriend’s androgynous fun-loving sister Savannah Knoop (Kristen Stewart), who connects with Laura’s punk, feminist, outsider universe and agrees to be JT in the public eye. Together, they embark on a wild ride of double lives, infiltrating the Hollywood and literary elite, only to discover who they are while pretending to be someone else.

The film stars Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Courtney Love, with Jim Sturgess and Diane Kruger and is being released in theaters on April 26th.

Bonus: If you’re a big K-Stew fan, you’ll want to check out the premiere after party photos in the slideshow down below.

FILM TRAILER:

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

“I read JT LeRoy’s novel, Sarah, upon its release in 2000. I loved his writing but I was far more interested in his character—an androgynous wunderkind, he maintained an air of mystery, secrecy, and Warholian intrigue. I lived in San Francisco at the height of his notoriety so when the news broke in 2006 that JT was a fictional character brought to life by two women I was shocked, confused, and wildly fascinated… how did they pull this off? And, why?

I am drawn to stories about people whose desire to shift their identity manifests in ways you wouldn’t imagine, and my own work often deals with the extremes that characters are willing to endure in order to be, or be perceived as, someone else, so when I read Savannah Knoop’s memoir Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy, I was beyond drawn to this story about finding

oneself while pretending to be someone else. In fact, while writing the script I kept thinking of Pinky (Sissy Spacek) in Robert Altman’s 3 Women— a character who is unable to grow into her complete self until she’s lived the experience of being someone else.

The body of JT, Savannah Knoop (Kristen Stewart) and the writer of his books, Laura Albert (Laura Dern), were quickly written off as “two women who wanted fame and money,” when their story is in fact far more complicated and… strange. I strive to tell stories about controversial characters without judgement and I believe that even those who felt betrayed will come away from this film with an understanding of why a “one time thing” turned into a years-long wild ride of leading double-lives.

Although it’s been 18 years since the publication of JT’s best-selling novel Sarah and 12 years since his world-wide fan base learned that, as the New York Times wrote, “he’s a she,” this story feels even more relevant now than ever—it’s about the power of belief, the cult of personality, the fluidity of self, and the desire to belong.”

Last night the J.T. LEROY cast and crew plus special guests Emma Roberts and Bella Thorne celebrated after the premiere at the trendy Beauty & Essex in Hollywood. Check out the slideshow for more K-Stew. 

Photos provided exclusively to AfterEllen.com by KWPR, all rights reserved.

 

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