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Kristen Jaymes Stewart (born April 9, 1990) is an American actress who is best known for playing Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga. She has also starred in films such as Panic Room (2002), Speak (2004), Zathura (2005), The Messengers (2007), Adventureland (2009), The Runaways (2010), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), and On the Road (2012). Stewart was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her father, John Stewart, is a stage manager and television producer who has worked for Fox. Her mother, Jules Mann-Stewart, is a script supervisor originally from Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia, who has also directed a film. She has an older brother, Cameron B. Stewart, and an adopted brother, Taylor. Stewart attended school until the seventh grade and then continued her education by correspondence until completing high school.As she grew up with a family who all worked behind the camera, Stewart thought she would become a screenwriter/director, but never considered being an actor. "I never wanted to be the center of attention – I wasn't that 'I want to be famous, I want to be an actor' kid. I never sought out acting, but I always practiced my autograph because I love pens. I'd write my name on everything." Stewart's acting career began at the age of eight, after an agent saw her perform in her elementary school's Christmas play. After she auditioned for a year, Stewart gained her first role in a small, nonspeaking part in the Disney Channel original film The Thirteenth Year. Then, she was cast in the film The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas as the "ring toss girl". She subsequently appeared in the independent film The Safety of Objects (2001), in which she played the tomboy daughter of a troubled single mother (Patricia Clarkson). Stewart also played a tomboy in the film Panic Room (2002), as the diabetic daughter of a divorced mother (Jodie Foster). She was nominated for a Young Artist Award for her performance.After Panic Room's success, Stewart was cast in another thriller, Cold Creek Manor (2003), playing the daughter of Dennis Quaid's and Sharon Stone's characters. She was nominated again for a Young Artist Award for her performance. About this time in her career, she started homeschooling because of her irregular schedule, which was affecting her grades. She said, "I started homeschooling because my teachers were failing me. I think it was just resentment – I made more work for them. But homeschooling is great; you can study what you want, which allows you to get more excited about what you're doing".Her first starring role followed, in the children's action-comedy Catch That Kid (2004), opposite Max Thieriot and Corbin Bleu. Stewart also played the role of Lila in the thriller Undertow (2004). Stewart starred in the Lifetime/Showtime television film Speak (2004), based on the novel by the same name by Laurie Halse Anderson. Stewart, 13 at the time of filming, played a high school freshman, Melinda Sordino, who stops almost all speaking after being raped. Stewart appeared in the fantasy-adventure film Zathura (2005), playing the role of Lisa, the irresponsible older sister of two little boys. They turn their house into a spacecraft hurtling uncontrollably in outer space by playing a board game. The film received praise by critics, but Stewart's performance did not garner much media attention. Her character is immobilized during most of the film. The next year, she played the character Maya in Fierce People (2006), directed by Griffin Dunne. After that film, she received the lead role of Jess Solomon in the supernatural thriller film The Messengers.Stewart appeared as teenager Lucy Hardwicke in In the Land of Women (2007), a romantic drama starring Meg Ryan and Adam Brody. The film, as well as Stewart's performance, received mixed reviews. That same year, Stewart had a small role in the Sean Penn-directed adaptation Into the Wild. For her portrayal of Tracy – a teenage singer who has a crush on young adventurer Christopher McCandless (played by Emile Hirsch) – Stewart received mixed reviews. While Salon.com considered her work a "sturdy, sensitive performance", and the Chicago Tribune noted that she did "vividly well with a sketch of a role," Variety's critic Dennis Harvey said, "It's unclear whether Stewart means to be playing hippie-chick Tracy as vapid, or whether it just comes off that way." After Into the Wild, Stewart had a cameo appearance in Jumper and also appeared in What Just Happened, which was released in October 2008. She also co-starred in The Cake Eaters, an independent film that has been screened only at film festivals.