Kristen Stewart’s latest movie is based on a book with a much longer shelf life than Twilight, but you may not have heard of it recently. On the Road was written by Jack Kerouac and published in 1957. Based on Kerouac’s own experiences traveling with Neal Cassady, the book renames Kerouac Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty becomes the pseudonym for Cassady.
In the movie version, Stewart plays Marylou, based on one of Cassady’s girlfriends LuAnne Henderson. He would have others. Living Dean/Neal’s wanderlust lifestyle full of free love and drugs is a harrowing journey for Marylou. If the things Stewart has to say about her latest role intrigue you, add On the Road to your Fanhattan watchlist.
Kristen Stewart on her connection to Marylou in On the Road
“I really had to dig pretty deep to find it in me to actually play a person like that. It took a long time. Initially, I couldn’t say no. I would have done anything on the movie. I would have followed in a caravan had I not had a job on it. But I was 16 or 17 when I spoke to [director] Walter [Salles] for the first time and 14 or 15 when I read the book for the first time. It was easy to connect dots after having gotten to know the person behind the character, what you would need to pull off a lifestyle like that. That didn’t happen until deep into the rehearsal process. At first I was just attracted to the spirit of it. I’m the type of person that really needs to be pushed really hard to be able to really let it all hang. I think Marylou is the type of person that you can’t help but be yourself around because she’s so unabashedly there, present all the time, like this bottomless pit of really generous empathy and it’s a really rare quality to have. It makes you capable of living a really full, really rich life without it taking something from you. You couldn’t take from her. I don’t know she was always getting something back. So she was amazing.”
Kristen Stewart on the real LuAnne Henderson
“I think Luanne would have been ahead of her time now. Generally peoples’ expectations for their lives in a personal way are not a whole lot different. It’s a really fundamental thing to want to be a part of a group. We are pack animals. In a way she had very conventional ideals as well. She had this capacity to live many lives that didn’t necessarily mess with the other. She was not above emotion. She was above jealousy but not above feeling hurt, but not slighted. Maybe if this movie was made back in the day as opposed to now, people would be so shocked and awed by the sex and the drugs that they would actually miss what the movie’s about. Whereas now we’ve just seen a little bit more of it so it’s not so shocking to stomach. It’s easier to take. Sure, times have changed but people don’t change. That’s why the book’s never been irrelevant. There will always be people that want to push a little bit harder and there are repercussions. It’s evident in the story as well. Even in that little glimpse, that moment in time. Knowing what happens to all the characters afterwards is interesting. She knew Neal to the end of his life, and they always shared what they had. It never left their hearts even though their lives changed monumentally.”
But should teenage Twi-hards go see the R-rated On the Road?
“I think the actual law is if you are with a parent you can go and see an R-rated movie, if you’re over the age of 13. I guess it depends on who your parents are, who you are. I read On the Road when I was fourteen, so I don’t know. My parents never wanted to shelter me from the world that we live in, so I think I’m probably not the right person to ask. I think if you have a desire to see it, and your parents don’t want you to see it, take that bull by the horns.”
Getting intellectual about books
“I don’t get to have very many involved conversations with Twilight fans. It’s really rare. Sometimes, the girls that run the fan sites will come in and do an interview and I absolutely love doing that. I find that a lot of people I talk to, most journalists I sit down with, are huge On the Road fans. I feel that they’re even assigned to those stories because they have an interest in it. I’ve got to talk to a lot of passionate On the Road fans. The difference is there’s a lot to feel in Twilight, and that’s the experience usually of having individual exchanges with fans, without even saying anything you know, you just feel it, but obviously with On the Road there’s a lot to talk about.”