Exclusive: Behind the scenes of Welcome to the Rileys with producer Giovanni Agnelli

A common question about Welcome to the Rileys is when exactly it was filmed. Giovanni Agnelli discusses how Kristen was able to go from newly-minted international superstar to Mallory, the troubled teen prostitute in Rileys.
We filmed Welcome to the Rileys in the fall of 2008, October through November. Kristen had filmed the majority of Rileys but had to leave for a short time to do some worldwide press for Twilight before she would return to New Orleans to finish filming.
A few days before she left, Kristen and I were standing in the street, dozens of people passing us. For the most part Kristen was really unnoticed. The attention was more from people just curious about the filming, and looking her way noticing an attractive young actress dressed in distressed street clothing. We watched on the side as people gawked at James [Gandolfini]. I turned to her and said, “This is it, this is the last time you will ever be able to stand in a crowd and be left alone. This may be the last time you are ever able to be anywhere and be left alone.”

We talked about a few other friends and people we knew that went from being working performers to becoming big stars. The sudden slam of fame is overwhelming. However, she is wise beyond her years, and so prepared for anything that life throws at her, that I knew no matter what happened next, she was going to be completely fine. She is the genuine real deal, a solid human being.

When she returned to New Orleans from the press tour, the world had changed. Twilight was taking over the world. Kristen stepped back into Mallory’s skin as if she had never left. She embodied the soul of the character she had created. She had given life to words on a page, made them into a living hurting being. To be able to leave New Orleans, travel the world, return as a superstar, and then compose herself as if not a single thing changed since the day she left, is a testament to Kristen Stewart’s incredible talent and personality.

The character you will see on the movie screen is an emotionally complex and truly beautiful creature. I witnessed with my own eyes the brutally honest and inspiring transformation of Kristen into Mallory.

I hope you all have a chance to see this performance.

– Giovanni Agnelli

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