“Human beings are just animals,” says Kristen Stewart. “It’s about fiercely living and squeezing every single drop out of life and not denying any aspects of it.”
Despite her up-and-down personal life, Stewart is not talking about herself or any dramas that have tabloid headlines attached to them. Instead, she’s mulling over her explicit scenes in “On the Road,” opening Friday.
“So much is clearly illustrated through her sexuality in her film,” Stewart says of her character Marylou. “But there was nothing about it that seemed gratuitous. It just seemed so necessary. There was simply no question that this would be a more sexual role.”
Based on the classic book by Jack Kerouac, this adaptation is about a young writer named Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) whose life turns upside-down during a cross-country road trip with Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) and his girlfriend, Marylou.
“She’s a very dedicated performer,” says Hedlund of working with Stewart. “She read this book at 15 and stuck with this project. It meant that much to her.”
After the tumultuous 2012 that brought her final “Twilight” film as Bella, Stewart now says, “I’m doing all right. No, I’m actually doing good. I’m happy.”
1. Do you remember when you first read “On the Road?”
It was on a reading list at my school. I remember it was literally next to “The Scarlet Letter” and “Catcher in the Rye.” Those books would have been cool, too, but I wanted to choose the most different one and went for it. I had the greatest time of possibly my whole academic career reading this book. I just aligned with that period in the book and kept thinking, “Wow. I love these words.”
2. What spoke to you in those words?
I loved that the book told me that it was my job to choose what my life was going to be. It was a conscious choice because life doesn’t just happen to you. It told me that you have to use every second in life. You can’t get complacent and let life pass you by. The people in this book were aggressively living. Also, it wasn’t about what happens to them in the end. It was about what happens to you in the middle, too.
3. So there were a few good life lessons here?
The book also tells you if something is driving you crazy, don’t deny it. Just hold on. Figure it out. Don’t let anything overwhelm you or sweep it under the rug. Again, these people in “On the Road” faced life head-on.
4. Is Marylou your most daring character?
I didn’t want to just play the wild, sexy, girl. Yes, she’s daring, but my favorite thing about taking this character on is that she’s self-aware and completely not self-conscious. She’s someone who can harness her fears in life although she’s not above emotions like jealousy.
5. Do you miss Bella? Is it strange after all these years of “Twilight” films to think you’ll never do another?
The most difficult thing I’ve ever done is to go off to another project like “On the Road” wondering if Bella would still stay with me. I didn’t take many other projects while we were doing “Twilight.” In the end, Bella didn’t stick with me more than any other character. Of course, there are people who so genuinely love the “Twilight” movies and books that they’ve said, “Every single time I see you in a movie, you’re still Bella to me.” It doesn’t bother me. I just say, “Fantastic, you’re a big Bella fan. I can totally relate. I’m a fan of Bella, too.” I do think people assume that I’m Bella. I have to prove to them that I can do other things and that she was just a character.