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Kristen Stewart praised by James Gandolfini, 'Welcome to the Rileys' co-star

11/01/2010 by Corinne Heller

James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart in scenes from 'Welcome to the Rileys'. (Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films) James Gandolfini of The Sopranos appears with Kristen Stewart in Welcome to the Rileys, which sees the Twilight star playing a teenage stripper and prostitute, and praises the 20-year-old actress as a "smart young lady".

Galdolfini, 49, made his comments to the Reuters news wire in a recent interview to promote the film, which was recently released.

"I thought it was an interesting choice for her," Galdolfini said, referring to Welcome to the Rileys. "She wants to do certain things as an actress on the screen, and that's nice. She's a smart young lady and that's nice to see."

In Welcome to the Rileys, Gandolfini and Melissa Leo play couple Doug and Lois Riley. When their teenage daughter dies in a car accident, Lois becomes depressed and afraid to leave home, while Doug becomes more distant. He befriends Stewart's character, a 17-year-old stripper-turned-prostitute, during a business trip to New Orleans and bring her in to live with him and his wife.

Stewart said she practiced pole dancing to prepare for the part and that the exercises left her with bruises all over her legs.

The actress, who is followed around by paparazzi due to her role in the hit Twilight vampire film series, recently said she never wished for stardom and that she never wanted to be as famous as Angelina Jolie.

Stewart says she's "incredibly pregnant" in part of Breaking Dawn, the final installment in the Twilight vampire romance saga, but has been dieting in recent weeks to prepare for scenes in which her character, Bella Swan, is not expecting. The Twilight films stars Robert Pattinson as Swan's vampire love Edward Cullen. Breaking Dawn's first part is set to be released on November 18, 2011

Think you know Kristen Stewart? These 20 facts may surprise you.

Kristen Stewart: 20 Fun Facts (Summit Entertainment)