When I got my chance to chat with Stewart who is here (with her mother too) for her first Cannes ever, she told me she didn’t know what to make of the visible glowing reaction from the Grand Lumiere crowd after the film ended. “It was a very surreal experience for me. I didn’t know what to think. But if they had all roundly booed us I believe everyone in our row would have stood up and said ‘yeah, you go!’,” she said in the counter-cultural spirit of the film’s characters who behave in anything but conventional ways. Stewart has some topless nude scenes in the film which epouses sexual freedom even in the uptight era of the 50′s in which the beatnik story is set. For her playing Marylou (based on Luanne Henderson who at age 15 married Neal Cassady – known in the film as Dean Moriarty) was a challenge and one she was eager to take. Salles had seen her in Into The Wild and cast her in 2007 before Twilight turned her into a pop culture icon. Like most of the cast members she had to hang in there for a while before it finally came to fruition. Her agents urged her to drop out. “They kept saying ‘don’t do it’. It’s not on the page’ but I disagreed and I am so glad we all did it. I do relate to her in some ways but I am nothing like Marylou at all. I internalize everything. She’s the opposite,” she said. It certainly worked out. Stewart delivers here and audiences will see a side of the star they haven’t seen before.
For the rest of the article, including discussion with the distributor’s plans for theatrical release in the US, head over to Deadline.