"I was 16, 17, maybe, when I spoke with Walter for the first time,"
Stewart and company spoke at the morning press conference after the first Cannes screening. In the movie the actress, now 22, plays Marylou, the fictionalized version of LuAnne Henderson, whose adventures with the Kerouac characters Dean Moriarty (
"As long as you're being honest, there's nothing to be ashamed of."
At Cannes, "On the Road" premiered in a 137-minute version; four months later, by the time it played at the
Which movies are, of course. "On the Road" already has opened in much of the rest of the world, beginning last summer. Four months after Cannes, Stewart, Hedlund, director Salles and others attended the Toronto International Film Festival. I spoke to Stewart and Hedlund in a hotel room. Hedlund talked at great length about research, filming, bebop and lying around naked in the desert with his co-stars (the footage never made the final cut). The actor's answers tended to end with Hedlund saying: "Sorry for the long explanation." Stewart meanwhile seemed both vexed and relieved, in a low-key way, at Hedlund's bigfoot interview approach.
Hedlund's first paid acting gig came when he was 17; Stewart's came at 9. In Toronto, Stewart spoke of the faraway notion, embodied by "On the Road," of a time when nonconformists and oddballs could actually hide out for a while. "Everyone I really hold close," she said, "all my friends, the ones I can actually experience the present with, they all have a kind of disdain for Twitter, Facebook, all that. Even if it's just them saying, 'Uck, I gotta stop going on Facebook."
Hedlund: "No one's communicating face to face. Online, or texting, you don't see the emotion in somebody's eyes. You only get to analyze their emotions by their texts."
They filmed "On the Road" in 2010. At Cannes, co-star
Salles, at the Cannes press conference, said the novel captured "the courage to experience everything in the flesh, and not vicariously." He added: "The only way you can develop a critical perception of the world is through personal experience."
Then came a question from the international press gaggle at Cannes, inevitably and uncomfortably directed at Stewart. In broken English: "Ms. Stewart, just ... thank you. So. In 'Twilight' you are playing a character who is not having sex before marriage … " And then he was cut off, politely but firmly. And then Hedlund jumped in. And Stewart looked like she regretted "Twilight" ever happened. And then "On the Road" made way for the next festival hopeful.