The exploits of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady were first described in “On the Road,” Kerouac’s autobiographical novel featuring alter-egos Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, more than a half-century ago.
But the stars of the book’s first-ever film adaptation say they believe the Beat bible resonates as much as ever, and that it has coursed through their lives in unexpected ways.
“I read it at 14 or 15 and I was touched. I said ‘I need to find people that push me like this. I want to find people in my life that I want to run after,” Stewart, who costars with Garrett Hedlund (Moriarty) and Sam Riley (Sal Paradise), told 24 Frames.
At a rooftop restaurant Thursday morning, Stewart was still taking it all in. Dressed in a sleeveless leather top and sneaking in a quick snack of restaurant rolls, the actress was reflecting on perhaps her most prestigious role to date, as well as her first trip to oft-chaotic Cannes. “I’m a pretty nervous person, but for some reason I feel comfortable here,” she said..
Hedlund did Stewart’s Cannes virginity one better — before this trip, the Minnesota native had never been to France. Smoking a cigarette alongside Stewart and Riley, the 27-year-old said he was similarly moved by Kerouac, noting that it echoed through the generations because the feeling it captures hasn’t changed.
Stewart acknowledged that “On the Road” made her want to take on other real-life stories. (She also previously played Joan Jett in the femme-rocker biopic “The Runaways”)
“You wonder a lot more about the whys” with a real-life tale, she said. “And we had such an emotional responsibility to these people. They became our family, which is so much more driving.”
She said that in incarnating Marylou, who is often seen in various states of undress, “I wanted to find the person behind the character, and not the easy way of just playing the character as the girl who likes to [have sex] a lot.”