While much of the publicity surrounding Walter Salles' adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel "On the Road" has focused on Kristen Stewart and her bare-it-all performance, her co-star Garrett Hedlund takes on a role that requires just as much daring.

Hedlund spoke with MTV News' Josh Horowitz at the Toronto International Film Festival about becoming the king of cool, Dean Moriarty, and doing what it takes for a role.

It's not difficult to imagine why Hedlund was attracted to the role, since it's one that has enticed readers for decades. "When you read the book, you're just kind of envious of this man. He's so filled with life," Hedlund said. "He's everywhere at once, and everyone wants to be around him, and there's electricity. You either want to know someone like that or you wish you were a little more like that. He's vibrant."

Part of taking on the role of Dean meant shedding more than inhibitions, and Hedlund found that out on the very first day of shooting, when he had to shoot a nude scene.

"It's kind of the easiest stuff to do within this, because you read the book, you laugh at those scenes when you read the book, and it says, 'Dean answers the door naked.' You see Camille in background. You see a painting on the wall of Dean naked with the shlong hanging out," Hedlund said. "You get a kick out of it, so when you laugh about that stuff, there's no fear about it. You want people to laugh about it the same way when you watch the film, how brave it is and how carefree one can be."

The road to "On the Road" was a long one for everyone involved, but for some, it was even longer. "It was a long time in the making, this one," Hedlund said. "Even Walter, he was involved years before I was onboard. It's kind of funny and symbolic that Walter told me on September 3rd, five years ago, that I was going to be playing Dean Moriarty, and September 5th was the anniversary of when the book was written in 1957. Then we screened the night of the 6th. The beginning of September is a very special month."

Check out everything we've got on "On the Road.".