Kristen talks with Fotogramas about Marylou, her character in On The Road, life after Twilight, and her ever-growing fanbase.
Translated by @WoahRobsten
Kristen Stewart, a girl like others
The Kristen Stewart we met in Cannes at the premiere of ‘On the Road’ is different. More daring, more free. And she does not renounce her fame. She knows what is the reason for her success: she’s like her fans, that’s why they like her. She tells us why she’s a girl like the others.
Kristen Stewart (Los Angeles, 1990) has the look of an iconic person. With only 22, she has gotten into the skin of several legendary figures of the past and present. As Joan Jett of The Runaways (Floria Sigismondi, 2010), she approached the punk rock of the 70s to a young audience. With Snow White and the Huntsman (Rupert Sanders, 2012) breathed a contemporary determination to the heroin by the Brothers Grimm. And as Bella Swan in the pentalogy Twilight Saga she became the Juliet of a new generation. Now, in On the Road, an adaptation of the legendary novel by Jack Kerouac, Stewart plays Marylou, the lively travel companion of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. And despite all this history, she is still a young retracted girl finding his way to the microphones of journalists and the flashes of photographers, who she amazes -or desconcerts- with explosives looks. With her meet with FOTOGRAMAS at the Cannes Film Festival, the actress wears a shirt with the single cover of ‘Picture This’ of Blondie (design by Dolce & Gabbana), black mini-shorts, high heels and an orange Balenciaga leather jacket. There you have it.
“Each time I find out that is less hard for me to stand in front of a microphone,” the actress confesses with that fast and choppy talking that has converted her in the perfect embodiment of post-adolescent angst. “Some time ago, I worried too much about protecting my privacy and I didn’t know how to mark the boundaries. With the time, I have been adapting myself, letting out a little. Also, everything changes when you get to promote something you believe deeply in, as with my role in On the Road.” Stewart tries to project a serene image: her words and reactions are restraint, yet her youthful momentum explodes in sudden outbreaks of excitement, as when she exclaims: “I think it’s soooo ridiculous when an actor tries to sell himself like someone super interesting! Some people just end becoming their own media product. Before, I had a terrible shame that people could see me that way, so that’s why I always tended to show tight.”
Learn how to lose control
As with most of the young Americans, the novel On the Road was for Kristen Stewart a mirror in which to dump her longings of adolescence. “I always identified with the character of Sal Paradise, who is mostly an observer. I’m not the type of person who open roads. I am not a natural leader. However, in parallel, the novel awoke the desire in me to grow beyond my limitations, to be a little more like Dean Moriarty or Marylou.” Thus, the film directed by Brazilian Walter Salles has allowed Stewart get under the skin of her former spiritual guide. Many people have the impression that Marylou was used almost as an object for the other characters, but in reality she received as much as she gave. For the actress, the key is how the character laughs. “When Marylou laughs, she does in a expansive and generous way, she wants to give and give for her to receive more and more. I, however, tend to laugh inwardly into myself. That small difference identifies two very different approaches to life,” Stewart concludes.
These character differences made Stewart hesitated when approaching to the character of Marylou. “I was worried about not being able to lose control and let it go. Luckily I got it” (laughs to herself). “Usually I distrust of actors who boast that a character has changed them as people, but it is true that sometimes a character can reveal a part of yourself that was hidden. Interpreting Marylou has shown me that I can be like her.” In this walk on the wild side of life, Stewart had to assemble a fictional trio with the actors Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund. “In reality, the trio scene was simpler than the other sex scenes that were more intimate and intense. It was one of the first scenes we shot and was obsessed with talking like the real Marylou: I wanted to imitate the speech they had in the 40s. I was so worried about how my voice sounded that I almost forgot that I was half naked!”
The fame and Twilight
There are a few young actresses who have experienced the fan phenomenon so intense as Kristen Stewart has. What does the actress think about the legion of followers that idolize her fervently? “Celebrities tend to be placed on a different level than the rest of the people, but I would like to tell my fans: You love me because we are alike! We are equal!”
The message could be read as a call for help: it should be easy to live under the watchful eyes of the fans … and the paparazzi.
Meanwhile, from the questioned altar that offers fame, Kristen Stewart feels any responsibility towards her followers? The actress appears cautious. Is aware that Marylou in On the Road-a girl eager to experience the spiritual and sexual freedom- is not an exemplary character in the traditional sense of the term: “People are free to choose their role models. I think if you’re not old enough to see and understand a film like this, you should not see it.”
And speaking of fans, it is impossible not to look back and remember the passing of Stewart by that whirlwind teen that was The Twilight Saga. “I vividly remember the moment when I realized it would be more successful than I expected,” says the actress. It was at Comic-Con San Diego 2008: “I expected an intimate encounter with fans, I was convinced I had starred in a strange little film. And then suddenly appeared 6,000 followers absolutely dedicated! It was surprising and shocking.” A star was born.
The maturity of the star?
There is no doubt that the work of Kristen Stewart in On the Road is a leap of complexity and maturity in the career of the young star. However, the actress maintains that he decisions “do not respond to a master plan: I have not too much tactful with regard to the design of my career.” Stewart acknowledges that “my participation in The Twilight Saga has overshadowed the rest of my work,” such as her role as Jodie Foster’s diabetic daughter in Panic Room (David Fincher, 2002), his work on the orders of Sean Penn in the drama Into the Wild (2007) or his foray into the generational drama Greg Mottola’s hand moving in Adventureland (2009).
To argue that hers is not a sudden turn, Stewart claimed other jobs that she did that involved committed thematics: “At just 13, I starred Speak (Jessica Sharzer, 2004), a film about the trauma that was dragging a girl who had been raped. Maybe I was so young to make a film like that, but I changed as an actress and it revealed the true potential of cinema. And then there’s Welcome to the Rileys (Jake Scott, 2010), where I was a stripper teenager. If that is not an adult film” … Stewart ends.