Kristen’s Interview with The Ottawa Citizen at TIFF

The Ottawa Citizen [On The Road] became the defining document of the so-called Beat Generation of young hipsters in postwar America.

“As a sensitive girl of this time who is maybe a bit more conventional – ha ha – I kind of was curious about how you could have the strength to do the things she did,” Stewart said…. “And it’s not that at all. It takes a lot of strength to be super-vulnerable. She was so so so open to the world.”

“If you approach it as a completion of the process, there are things that would never occur to you if you weren’t asked the question,” Stewart said about the interviews. “Sit down and have 10-minute conversations with 15 different people; if you don’t take something from that, you’re a sociopath.”

Hedlund added, “At the end of the day we both know it’s the end of a long road we’ve been on.”

Marylou, Stewart’s character….  was really a teenager named Luanne Henderson, but Stewart said she left behind a long record of her thoughts about that era.

“I have what was possibly the easiest job,” she said. “I would have done anything to be part of this movie. I would have played (peripheral character) Chad King. So that’s how I approached it. I loved the book so much, I wanted to be around Walter, I wanted to be around the people interested in it. I just wanted to do anything.”

Together they’ve made a world that seems freer, in some ways, than today’s culture: for instance, Dean and Marylou are shown taking part in group sex with friends, and no blame is assigned. Hedlund says that while the highways are more polluted now, with billboards and telephone lines, it’s still possible to hit the road.

“It’s a level of your ambition and drive,” he says. “It’s a matter of where you want to aim your arrow. The things that have changed in time are the highways and the road. It’s not as free. There’s not as many hitchhikers, not on the main roads. To get where you want to get faster, you have to take the back roads. There’s wonderful experiences to be had. When you’re young you think you can achieve anything. The world’s at your fingertips. And then reality starts to hit you. But I think it’s always possible: we all want to get out of our parents’ homes and not go to school and not have curfew. Some people fail. Some people succeed. some people have wonderful stories and some people have tales of sadness. It’s all relative.”

For the full interview, including a lot more from Hedlund, read the article at The Ottawa Citizen


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