I started Born to be Jetthead on September 22, 2009 (Joan Jett’s birthday), but I’ve wanted to have a site like this for a long time. I used to write about Joan in my MySpace blog, but only a few people ever saw it.
All the way back in May, before The Runaways was filmed, I wrote an open letter to Kristen Stewart expressing my confidence in her ability to portray Joan. After seeing The Runaways trailer this week, I know that I am right. I am re-printing my letter to KStew here. Let me know what you think. (I can be a pretty emo broad, I know. :D)
Read my emo-tastic letter to Kristen after the jump.
You have no idea who I am, and you will never read this.
I have recently become a fan of yours, and that’s mostly because of your upcoming role as Joan Jett in The Runaways movie. I have been a Joan Jett/Runaways fan for 21 years, which is why I am compelled to write this letter (that you will never read).
When I heard that you had been cast to play Joan, I had no idea who you were. But with Joan herself at the helm, I trusted that she would surround the movie with people that would respect her first band, her baby.
I was curious and excited.
Since then, I’ve been reading and watching your interviews, checking out your other movies, and trying to decide if I think you can be Joan Jett.
First, the screaming attention you are getting from Twilight will be good practice for playing a teenaged Joan Jett being chased through the streets of 1977 Japan. That’s the easy part.
Your challenge is to figure out who Joan Jett is. You are familiar with the terms that the media uses to describe her: Icon, trailblazer, badass. Those words are convenient, but I think they are cheap. They don’t come close to the truth.
We, in the Jetthead community, don’t merely admire Joan for her accomplishments. We love her. We don’t love her wardrobe, her haircut, her platinum records, her legacy, or her business acumen. We love her for one reason: She is one of us.
Her music is what gets us, literally. It got me when I was 12. The last song on the Up Your Alley album, Play That Song Again, is about a broken, lonely person who just wants it all to go away—until they hear music, and they get a little stronger. That song was about hope. That song was about me. I soon found that every one of her albums had a piece of me in it. I wondered how she knew.
There is more to Joan than some intuitive lyrics wrapped in a leather jacket. She has a special way of interacting with people through her eyes. You’ve hung out with her, so I know you’ve seen it. We call it the “Jett Eye Lock” when it happens during a show, but her energy can penetrate TV screens and the pages of a magazine. She seems to be trying to tell you all the truths to the universe with her gaze. But in that shared moment, only one truth matters: This is Who I Am.
Joan started out as a girl with a dream that defied logic. People laughed at her. People told her that girls could not and should not play the guitar. People called her horrible names and told her to grow up, get married, have babies, and whatever else would be “normal” and “proper” for a “young lady.” But she did not stop. They threw things at her on stage, yelled at her to go away, and she still did not stop.
When I learned of this, I became very protective of Joan. To believe in a reality that no one else could imagine, without question and without hesitation, must have been lonely. I could relate. I am not strong enough to slay her dragons, but I can easily take a few insults on the schoolyard, or write letters like this. She deserves it. The woman inspires loyalty.
And you are the lucky one—the chosen one—that gets to bring all of this to the big screen. It’s a weighty responsibility.
My advice to you is to keep it simple. Joan Jett is the ultimate symbol of faith and hope to many, but she doesn’t strut around like some feminist gift to the universe. This is just her life. This Is Who She Is. If Joan’s quiet determination is anything like Bella Swan, then music is her Edward Cullen—her entire reason for being. Like Twilight, The Runaways movie is a love story, just not a romantic one.
I wish I could promise you that every Jetthead will be on your side. Some will be, but some of them will be passionately against you. To some, no one will be good enough. That is not your fault. They just want to protect her.
To take this role on, you need to stay focused. People will criticize you in ways you can’t even imagine, but for God’s sake don’t listen. Don’t worry about how you are going to live up to our expectations of Joan’s character. Listen to your inner acting voice and trust that you already have what it takes to be Joan Jett. You may not have known the magnitude of the Twilight universe at first, but you do understand Joan’s influence now. You feel the pressure, and it scares you—but you’re doing it anyway. And you can’t get any more Joan Jett than that.
I’m not worried about your ability to perform the music in the film either, but if you are, just fill the premiere with Runaways fans. We’ll sing with you.
Much love and thanks,
See? Totally emo. 😀