Question: Because you fiercely held onto this project, since before even Twilight, what is it that spoke to you about Marylou, that made you still want to be a part of this, after all this time?
KRISTEN STEWART: I really had to dig pretty deep to find it in me to actually play a person like this. 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 gotten a job on it. But, I was 16 or 17 when I spoke to Walter [Salles], for the first time. I was 14 or 15 when I read the book, for the first time. It was easy to connect the dots, after having gotten to know the person behind the character, to see what I would need to pull off a lifestyle like that, but 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, and I think Marylou is the type of person that you can’t help but be yourself around because she’s so unabashedly present, all the time, like this bottomless pit of really generous empathy. That’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. She was always getting something back. She was amazing.
Did you talk to you parents about the nudity in this film, before they saw it?
HEDLUND: My mom and sister watched it next to me.
STEWART: Yeah, that was really an interesting experience.
HEDLUND: There were a lot of laughs. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t know if the laughs were out of nervousness or because the actual text was really that humorous.
STEWART: For me, I think everyone was really happy that it took a few years for the movie to get made. My mom came to Cannes. She loved it. She was really proud. I haven’t talked to my dad about it yet, really. I think Welcome to the Rileys was probably more difficult for a parent to watch. I was so sensitive about everything, after that film. That character really found its way under my skin. I was so overly sensitive about not just anything overtly sexual, but anything about a young girl. It rocked me, and I think my parents could probably feel that, as well. It was not something that we talked about. It’s funny to talk about from an outsider’s prospective. It’s like, “It must be weird to sit down and watch your ass with your mom,” but it’s so weird, being on the inside of it. I don’t want to say that it’s like I’m watching another person because what I love about my job is that you can read stuff and find aspects of life that you relate to, that you didn’t quite know you had in you, and that can shock the shit out of you. The process of making a movie is finding out why you responded, in that way. I don’t feel like you’re ever playing a different person, but because it’s not your typical go-to, it’s more like you’re taking care of another person. You have such a responsibility to that person. It’s easy to be mature about it. It’s easy to place it in a context and feel protective of it.
How old do you think a younger Twilight fan should be, before they see On the Road?
HEDLUND: I think the rating limits that a little bit.
STEWART: I think the actual law is that, 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 and who you are. I read On the Road when I was 14, so I don’t know. My parents never wanted to shelter me from the world that we live in, so 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, then take that bull by the horns.
Are conversations with people who are passionate fans of this book radically different from the passionate fans of the Twilight franchise?
STEWART: 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. But, I find that a lot of people I talk to, and most journalists that 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 gotten to talk to a lot of passionate On the Road fans. The difference is that there’s a lot to feel in Twilight, and that’s usually my experience, having individual exchanges with those fans. You just feel it. But with On the Road, there’s a lot to talk about.
Kristen, how did you find a way to relate to Marylou and her lifestyle, at that time?
STEWART: I think Luanne [Henderson] was ahead of her time. 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. 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. 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 has 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, at 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.
Now that the Twilight franchise has ended, what advice would you give to other young actors who might be starting a major movie franchise?
STEWART: You better love it, or don’t do it. To be on one project for five years, I had the exact same feeling at the end that I had when I first started the project. The only difference is that now, at this point, I have that weight lifted and I want it back. I don’t have to worry about Bella anymore, which is so weird. She’s not like tapping me on the shoulder anymore.
On the Road opens in limited release on December 21st.
To read the rest of the interview, view the source.