Hollywood Flashback: Kristen Stewart Hit Toronto Fest With 'Into the Wild' in 2007

GEORGE PIMENTEL/WIREIMAGE
Kristen Stewart and Emile Hirsch attended an 'Into the Wild' party at the Park Hyatt in Toronto on Sept. 9, 2007.

Just one year before she was cast as Bella Swan in 'Twilight' — thereby launching her career into the stratosphere — the then 17-year-old actress had a supporting role Sean Penn's fourth feature film.

One year before she was cast as Bella Swan in Twilight — thereby launching her career into the stratosphere — Kristen Stewart, then 17, had a supporting role in 2007’s Into the Wild. She played Tracy Tatro, a teen singer from Slab City, California, charmed off her feet by Emile Hirsch’s Chris McCandless as he heads out on an ill-fated quest to abandon the grid and rough it in the Alaska wilderness.

The film was the fourth feature from director Sean Penn, who himself was arriving to the Toronto International Film Festival amid a cloud of bad press — the actor-director had caused a stink the previous year when he refused to extinguish a cigarette while promoting Steven Zaillian’s adaptation of All the King’s Men, flouting Canadian laws.

While Wild generally drew favorable reviews, The Hollywood Reporter was less than dazzled, deeming Penn’s direction "extravagantly ambitious" yet "unfocused," adding that Hirsch, then 22, "doesn’t project the magnetism that would give credence to McCandless' supposed liberating effect on the people he encounters." It went on to win two Golden Globes and was nominated for two Oscars. Now 29, Stewart next plays French New Wave icon Jean Seberg in Seberg, bowing Sept. 8 at TIFF.

This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter's Sept. 6 daily issue at the Toronto Film Festival.