Walter Salles’s new film “On the Road” has been a long time coming. Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical novel has captured the minds of readers for more than 55 years, and now it’s finally making its way to the big screen.
“On the Road” held its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, and MTV News was on the red carpet to chat with stars Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund. When asked which actor involved in the project was most nervous about tackling the beloved story (largely considered unfilmable), both agreed that their director, Salles, was probably the most stressed out about the adaptation.
“When you’re the director of a film like this, a book like this — Kerouac’s ’On the Road’ — the fact that it couldn’t be made for 30, 40 years and Francis Ford Coppola tried many different routes to sort of overcome the obstacles, to complete this route, to complete this journey, it’s all on Walter,” Hedlund said.
Since this was finally his chance to take the road novel to the big screen, Salles wanted to make sure he got it right. The director already proved he’s good with the road movie genre in 2004’s “The Motorcycle Diaries” (also based on both historical events and a book), and he made sure he took as much care with his adaptation of “On the Road.”
“He had outstanding devotion to the film,” Hedlund said. “He was on this seven years ago, making documentaries about it and traveling around, interviewing all of like his heroes of road film directors and he’s just been so devoted, so passionate about it. It’s so rare. It’s so wonderful.”
That doesn’t mean that Hedlund and Stewart didn’t feel the pressure when it came to the film, though. Stewart in particular said she felt the need to justify her involvement in “On the Road” by proving she was a huge fan of the novel.
“The first time I met Garrett and Sam [Riley] and walking into ’boot camp,’ I was like, ’I-I love it, I totally deserve to be here, I promise, I promise, I promise,’ and, ’Let me tell you why,’ and, ’Me and Tom [Sturridge] have been doing so much research.’ It went away as soon as it started filming,” she said. “There wasn’t a second that I questioned anyone I was there with or why I was there, any of that. It was so the right place to be.”
“On the Road” will get a limited release starting December 21.
Check out everything we’ve got on “On the Road.”