Stewart, who will wrap up her duties as the lead in the Twilight film series with the release of the final film this month, plays the free-spirited MaryLou in On the Road.
“We were allowed to know so much about the people who stood behind the characters,” the actress, wearing a black and white Balenciaga jumpsuit, told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet before the premiere.
While Stewart walked the red carpet solo on Saturday, she was joined by her Twilight co-star (and current beau) Robert Pattinson at the AFI Fest afterparty at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. They mingled with friends and Stewart’s co-stars around a large fire pit near the pool area.
Stewart says that Salles enrolled the main actors in a four-week “beatnik bootcamp” of rehearsals before shooting the film. Stewart’s character in the book was based on Kerouac’s friend Luanne Henderson, and Stewart got to spend a lot of time talking to Henderson’s daughter while researching the role.
“We were allowed to know things about her that people do not know,” she tells THR. “I think as soon as you know the people who inspired those characters, everything makes so much more sense. It’s not the easiest thing to live that life. It takes a really particular person to carry that out.”
Stewart says she first read the book when she was 14 or 15, and it’s been a pivotal piece of literature in her life.
“She definitely helped me break down a few walls,” Stewart said of playing MaryLou. “But I think that project actually started when I read the book.”
“At the time, there was no way I could ever possibly imagine that I could play a part like that,” she added. “I thought that the characters in On the Road were people I wanted to be able to find in my own life. I wanted to find people who really stirred me up and kept me moving and kept me pushing. And she’s that type of that person."
“I think Kristen likes to play these roles that defy the circumstances that somehow define the time you’re living in,” the Brazilian director adds. “She did that very bravely and with complete passion and dedication.”
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