“To say that this movie opened me up in a way, sounds really obvious, but it f–king did!” says Stewart, who first read Kerouac’s classic at age 15.
“I’m not just saying this. The book has had such a major effect on who I wanted to be at age 15, which is a pretty important and formidable time.” ….
To Stewart’s thinking, the mythmaking mileage of Moriarty and Paradise …. might never have happened if it weren’t for Marylou, who is based on Cassady’s first wife, LuAnne Henderson…
“It was this bridge,” Stewart says of Marylou/LuAnne’s relationships, both amorous and amigo, with Dean/Neal and Sal/Jack.
“I think that there definitely was a commonality that they could have because of her. They may have found it through something else if she didn’t exist, but there was a trust that they had just because they shared her.”
Adds Hedlund, 28: “She was like the gal in between twin brothers who had opposite amounts of patience.”
Stewart and Hedlund both wonder how modern audiences will react to the sex, drugs and all that jazz of On the Road. It shocked people so much in the late 1950s, many would often tear the cover off the book if they were reading it in public.
“It’s not so shocking to do drugs and have promiscuous sex anymore,” Stewart says.
“It’s not too shocking to see people naked. I hate to put it this way, but when I read the book I was 15, I think I was maybe a little more fascinated with pushing myself a little bit farther and being a bit of a rebel, or whatever at that age you do. You want to push yourself.”
Brazilian director Salles, who spent many years working to get the rights to On the Road and also getting a satisfying script written, says Marylou is a fascinating character and Stewart was exactly the right woman to play her. ….
“She knew On the Road very well, but she also understood Marylou in a way that was very, very unique. And I didn’t think twice. I invited her at that point, because I wanted somebody who could understand what motivated that character more than anything else.
“The fact that she had the passion and the desire but also the understanding of that character and what made her complex was very interesting.” …..
Hedlund says everything about On the Road was profound.
“I think it opened us up to having the ability to express ourselves in a much freer way and open way. I think before doing this film, if you asked me a question, I probably would have asked you to write it down and I would have been able to write you a response in the next few days rather than express myself better.”
Adds Stewart: “I’m still in that position!”