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Twilight Kristen Stewart has been talking about her new movie On The Road, which sees the actress make the leap into a more adult role.
In the adaptation of the acclaimed novel the 22-year-old actress plays a sexually liberated young woman – which meant she had to do sex scenes, requiring partial nudity. Although the scenes are risqué, Kristen felt no shame.
Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, she explained: “As an actor you want to get as close as you can to the real thing and I couldn't have done that being…modesty doesn't fit in this movie.
“There is really no shame in it. I felt so safe and comfy with these people as well. I'm really proud of it actually and really not uncomfortable with it all.”
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She stars in the film alongside British actor Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund. The trio play the central love triangle in Brazilian director Walter Salles' film.
On The Road, which was published in 1957, is the tale of wannabe writer (and Kerouac surrogate) Sal Paradise and his friend Dean Moriarty crisscrossing the United States in search of freedom and the elusive “it”.
Salles' adaptation is the first film production of the classic novel, which everyone from Marlon Brando to Jean-Luc-Godard has circled over the last six decades.
Salles said he covered nearly 100,000 kilometers (more than 62,000 miles) making the film, as well as spending five years researching an as-yet-unreleased documentary.
He explained: “I really felt like I needed to immerse myself into this material and I did 5 years research o
n it – on the characters, on Kerouac, on the Beat Generation.
“That ended up informing the work that was in the film.”
The fact the story has taken 55 years to hit the big screen meant the actors felt quite a lot of pressure.
Riley, who plays Sal, said: “I don't know whether you try to live up to people's expectations, but you are aware that people have expectations.
“Particularly that Walter chose Yorkshire man to play Jack Kerouac will raise eyebrows before they even look at a frame of the movie.”
Kristen, who plays Dean's teenage bride Marylou – a free spirit torn between the lure of adventure and desire for a more settled life – also felt a weight on her shoulders.
She said: “At the end of the documentary that Walter made, he asked Sean Penn and a series of other people what they want from the movie and Sean takes a second and he looks up and he goes – clearly because he waned to do the movie – he looks up and goes 'I hope it's well acted,' and it's like oh God, we hope so too.”
On the Road, which premiered this week at the Cannes Film Festival, has been a long time coming. Salles, who made the Che Guevara road movie The Motorcycle Diaries, has been involved since 2004.
He finally got the go-ahead, with Francis Ford Coppola's son Roman Coppola producing, to shoot a film whose fourth main character is the American landscape – though Salles had to travel far and wide to recreate the 1940s U.S. setting. The movie was shot in Canada, Chile and Mexico as well as the United States.
On The Road was one of 22 films competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or – the Cannes Film Festival's top prize.