Movieline Kristen Stewart fans may have been disappointed that the Twilight superstar did not make an appearance at last week's MTV Video Music Awards, but crowds here in Toronto had the chance to see the actress on the red carpet for the North American premiere of Walter Salles' On The Road along with fellow cast members Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Sam Riley. Stewart spoke with ML about the part she had actually landed before she filmed her first Twilight installment. Stewart shared her thoughts on the steamy relationship between her character Marylou and Hedlund's Dean Moriarty — a life-long relationship that was rife with affairs, drugs and a wild ride on the road.
MORE INTERVIEW UNDER THE CUT
"They really are 'simpatico.' It was a tumultuous relationship. And it's hard to love like that, but they were so in love with each other and you don't know this from reading the book, but they stayed lovers until the end of his life," Stewart said during a conversation with ML at a Toronto hotel over the weekend.
Stewart first read On The Road as a high school freshman. A short time afterward, she was approached by director Walter Salles who had been told to consider Stewart for the part of Marylou after fellow filmmakers saw her in Sean Penn's Into The Wild and suggested that he consider the young actress. The project took a number of years before the actual shoot commenced and in the meantime, Stewart began doing the enormously popular Twilight series, propelling her fame into the stratosphere.
"I got the [On The Road] job on the spot and I drove away vibrating," Stewart said. In the film version of the book written by Jack Kerouac, Stewart plays the unconventional free-spirit Marylou, the former wife and still frequent lover of Dean Moriarty, a fast-talking charismatic with an insatiable libido. Dean and best friend Sal (Sam Riley), a young writer whose life is shaken after Dean's arrival take to the road. Marylou frequently accompanies Sal and Dean's travels across the country in adventures fueled by sex, drugs and the pursuit of the "It" - a quest for understanding and personal fulfillment.
"He kind of raised her and she always had a place in his heart, even though there were a lot of spots in that heart, but she was definitely one in the center and the same goes the other way around," Stewart said of Marylou and Dean, the On The Road names of the real-life individuals described by Kerouac. "They both helped each other grow up."
One of the seminal works of literature of post-war America, On The Road took decades to be made into a film, even after Francis Ford Coppola acquired the filmmaking rights to the story. Stewart said she believes that society may have not been ready to see On The Road in theaters in the immediate years after the book was published, acknowledging that the film, which has not yet been rated, is racy.
"I think it's a good time to see this story visually because we are not shocked by some of the things that we were so shocked by before and it would have veiled it," said Stewart. "It would have been so shocking seeing people doing drugs and having sex that you wouldn't have seen the spirit of [On the Road]. You wouldn't have seen the message behind it. Maybe it would have been good because it would have forced people to look, but maybe they weren't able to do it then."
She also expressed the need for young people to have dreams and a zest for life, similarly to the characters in the film, even if those dreams are not fully comprehended. "At that stage of your life there's so much ahead of you, at least it feels that way. At that age you need to have a faith and feelings you can't articulate yet because at some point you need to hold onto them and you'll find the words to describe them."
[Movieline will have more from our interviews with Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, and Walter Salles this week.]
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