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'On the Road' Film: Kristen Stewart & Garrett Hedlund Interview + Oscar Chances?

Kristen Stewart interview Garrett Hedlund Sam Riley
On the Road interview: cast members Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley

March 21, '12, update: “It's interesting to play characters that have existed,” says Kristen Stewart in an On the Road video interview posted at Screenslam. (Please scroll down.) “Especially when you have grown to love those people. When I played Joan Jett, I couldn't improvise. I felt so weird putting words in her mouth. I always referred to her. And in this case, we wouldn't be doing On the Road right, unless it was found, unless so much of it was, like, learned and then forgotten, so we could actually just discover it ourselves.”

Screenslam will be posting several interviews with various On the Road talent in the next few days. On the Road, in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, opens in France on May 23. Directed by Walter Salles – of previous road movies Central Station and The Motorcycle DiariesOn the Road will be distributed by IFC Films / Sundance Selects in North America. A date hasn't been set yet, though fall 2012 is a probability.

Also during the brief On the Road interview, Sam Riley explains that in order to play Sal Paradise, based on On the Road author Jack Kerouac, he did “research as much as possible. I listened to Kerouac's voice all the time.” The British Riley, best known for playing Joy Division's singer Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn's Control, had to develop a believable Southern American accent.

After saying that “we have to try to rid of our inhibitions and fears,” Garrett Hedlund, Dean Moriarty in the film (Moriarty is based on Neal Cassady), talked about On the Road's more esoteric appeal. “Those who identify with it,” Hedlund explained, “can read every word of this spontaneous prose and go all the way through the book and be hanging onto every single word.” Those who don't, will manage a few lines or a chapter or two.

Kristen Stewart said something similar, and that's apparently the chief reason On the Road had trouble finding a US distributor. The distribution rights were reportedly deemed too costly for a two-and-a-half-hour, stream-of-consciousness movie that would be hard to market to mainstream audiences, whose idea of challenging filmmaking is Toy Story 3.

In addition to Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, and Garrett Hedlund, On the Road features Julie & Julia's Amy Adams, A Dangerous Method's Viggo Mortensen (as a fictionalized William S. Burroughs), I Am Legend's Alice Braga, Being Julia's Tom Sturridge, Melancholia's Kirsten Dunst, Ideal's Danny Morgan, and Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss.

Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries collaborator José Rivera wrote the screenplay adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel. Brokeback Mountain's Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla composed the On the Road score. The film's cinematography is by Eric Gautier, who also shot Alain Resnais' Wild Grass and Cannes 2012 contender You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet. The editing was done by Look at Me's François Gédigier. The Godfather's Francis Ford Coppola is one of On the Road's executive producers.

On the Road stars' upcoming movies

Kristen Stewart, 22, has two other 2012 releases:

Sam Riley, 32, will next be seen in his own vampire movie, Neil Jordan's Byzantium, which should open later this year. Also featured are Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller, Caleb Landry Jones, Tom Hollander, and Daniel Mays.

Garrett Hedlund, 27, has Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis coming out in February 2013. Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Alex Karpovsky, Oscar Isaac, and Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus) co-star. The previously announced Akira, at least for now, seems to be a no-go.

Kristen Stewart Marylou On the Road
On the Road: Kristen Stewart as Marylou, Sam Riley's / Sal Paradise's ear<

“I just had a great idea, you guys are gonna love it!” exclaims Garrett Hedlund's Dean Moriarty at the end of this French-subtitled On the Road clip. (Please scroll down to check out Sur la route.) Also seen in the clip are Kristen Stewart's Marylou and Sam Riley's Sal Paradise. Walter Salles directed this year's Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or contender.

Kristen Stewart is the focus of this particular On the Road clip, as Marylou is apparently telling Sal that she's going to dump Dean. She sounds a bit like a fatalist: better dump Dean before he dumps her. In any case, she's already got a fiance at home, a sailor. Marylou also sounds like a traditionalist here: she wants a house and a baby, “something normal.”

It'd be interesting if Dean's “great idea” has something to do with what Marylou can do to her house, baby, and normality.

Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries collaborator José Rivera wrote the screenplay adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 iconic novel. Brokeback Mountain's Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla composed the film's core, while You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet's Eric Gautier is the cinematographer. The editing was done by Look at Me's François Gédigier. The Godfather's Francis Ford Coppola is one of On the Road's executive producers.

IFC Films / Sundance Selects will release On the Road in North America. The film opens in France on May 23.

Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, Garret Hedlund: upcoming movies

Kristen Stewart has two other 2012 movies coming out:

  • Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman, co-starring Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, and Sam Claflin. Stewart plays Snow White in the film, which opens June 1.
  • Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, the last installment in the Twilight movie series. Kristen Stewart plays Bella Swan-Cullen, opposite Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Also in the Breaking Dawn 2 cast: Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Dakota Fanning, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Michael Sheen, Nikki Reed, Booboo Stewart, Billy Burke, and Jamie Campbell Bower.

Sam Riley will next be seen in Neil Jordan's Byzantium, which should open later this year. Also featured are Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller, Caleb Landry Jones, Tom Hollander, and Daniel Mays.

Garrett Hedlund stars in Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis, which comes out in February 2013. Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Alex Karpovsky, Oscar Isaac, and Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus) co-star. Hedlund's previously announced Akira (which at one point was to have co-starred Kristen Stewart) seems to be a no-go for the time being.

Kristen Stewart as Marylou picture: screencap from IFC Films' On the Road.

May 9

Garrett Hedlund On the Road Sam Riley IFC Films
Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, IFC Films' On the Road

Starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart, Walter Salles' On the Road movie version of Jack Kerouac's iconic novel will be distributed in North America by IFC Films and Sundance Selects. Is that good news for North Americans? Definitely. Is that good news for On the Road? Well, it's both good and not-so-good news.

It's good news in that Walter Salles' film has finally landed a U.S. distributor, which means a 2012 release – some time in the fall, according to reports. It's not great news for those who were expecting On the Road to find a box office and awards-season-savvy North American distributor.

IFC Films releases usually get enthusiastic reviews, but for the most part they have performed modestly – or downright poorly (at times abysmally) – at the North American box office. Andrew Haigh's Weekend took in $484,000, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid with a Bike $1.21 million, Nanni Moretti's We Have a Pope $295,000, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know $3.88 million, Steven Soderbergh's Che $1.49 million, Julia Stiles' The Business of Strangers $1.03 million, Bertrand Tavernier's The Princess of Montpensier $352,000, Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams $5.3 million, and Wim Wenders' Pina $3.52 million.

The last two IFC-distributed movies to earn more than $10 million – even adjusting for inflation – were both released a decade ago: Nia Vardalos' My Big Fat Greek Wedding (an astounding $241.43m) and Alfonso Cuarón's Y tu mamá también ($13.83m). In fact, those are the only two IFC movies to have raked in more than $10 million in North America according to figures found at Box Office Mojo.

IFC Films' modest Academy Awards record

As for the 2012/2013 awards season … Well, had The Weinstein Company bought On the Road's North American rights, it'd have been great news for the film and its talent if only because Harvey Weinstein's awards-season machinery would have automatically turned On the Road into a major Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG Award, etc. contender. Really, how many people watching Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist at Cannes back in May 2011 would have guessed that nine months later the silent, French-made film would take home the Best Picture Academy Award?

True, IFC Films' Pina did manage a Best Documentary Feature Academy Award nod earlier this year, but Me and You and Everyone We Know, Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah, Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Errol Morris' Tabloid, Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy, Arnaud Desplechin's A Christmas Tale, and Olivier Assayas' Summer Hours, despite numerous positive reviews and US critics' awards – failed to receive a single Oscar nod.

When it comes to the Academy Awards, the rare IFC Films that have been shortlisted by the Academy have found themselves in the running in the best screenplay categories, e.g., My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Y tu mamá también, and Armando Iannucci's In the Loop. Additionally, Susanne Bier's After Wedding was a Best Foreign Language Film nominee. That's about it.

[Continues on next page. See link below.]

Garrett Hedlund / Sam Riley / On the Road photo: Gregory Smith / Jerry Leider Company.

Viggo Mortensen On the Road William S. Burroughs
Viggo Mortensen: fictionalized William S. Burroughs, On the Road

Could Walter Salles' On the Road buck the IFC Films box office and awards-season trend? Theoretically, it could. When it comes to North American audiences, Kristen Stewart (who has Snow White and the Huntsman and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 coming out) and TRON: Legacy's Garrett Hedlund (to be seen in Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis) have larger followings than IFC Films stars like, say, Juliette Binoche, Mathieu Amalric, Patricia Clarkson, Catherine Deneuve, Anamaria Marinca, Stockard Channing, Benicio Del Toro, or Diego Luna. As a plus, the Jack Kerouac / Walter Salles / Kristen Stewart / Garrett Hedlund combo will likely prove irresistible to more than a few moviegoers. (Not to mention supporting performances by Spider-Man's Kirsten Dunst, The Lord of the Rings movies' Viggo Mortensen, and the upcoming Man of Steel's Amy Adams.)

It's also worth noting that Walter Salles' previous road movies – despite the presence of subtitles and the absence of box office names – performed well in North America. Distributed by Focus Features, The Motorcycle Diaries grossed $16.78 million in 2004 (approx. $21 million in 2012), while the Sony Pictures Classics-distributed Brazilian drama Central Station earned a not inconsiderable $5.59 million in 1998 (approx. $9.5 million in 2012). In other words, the box office potential for On the Road exists.

As for On the Road's “stream-of-consciousness” narrative and two-and-a-half-hour running time, well, just last year Fox Searchlight released Terrence Malick's stream-of-consciousness, 2hr18min Palme d'Or winner The Tree of Life. Starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and Sean Penn, Malick's cosmic family drama scored a decent $13.3 million (and eventually earned three Oscar nods, including Best Picture and Best Director).

Now, IFC Films will have to get its marketing department in high gear if On the Road is to reap the benefits of its Cannes screening; its well-known cast, director, and executive producer (Francis Ford Coppola); and its (potentially) good notices.

Walter Salles' “on the road” movies lucky at the Oscars

In case On the Road is embraced by US critics, IFC Films will also have to make an extra effort come next awards season. It would be worth it. After all, Walter Salles' road movies have found favor among Academy voters: Central Station earned nominations for Best Actress (Fernanda Montenegro) and Best Foreign Language Film, while The Motorcycle Diaries was shortlisted in two categories: Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song, winning for the latter.

In addition to Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, and Viggo Mortensen, the On the Road cast includes Control's Sam Riley, Elysium's Alice Braga, Waiting for Forever's Tom Sturridge, Off the Hook's Danny Morgan, and Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss.

Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries collaborator José Rivera wrote the screenplay adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1951 novel (published six years later). The On the Road score was composed by Brokeback Mountain's Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla.

On the Road's cinematography is by Eric Gautier, who also shot another 2012 Palme d'Or contender, Alain Resnais Vous n'avez encore rien vu (You've Seen Nothing Yet). On the Road's editor was François Gédigier, whose credits include Look at Me and Let It Rain.

On the Road will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The film opens in France on May 23.

Viggo Mortensen as (sort of) William S. Burroughs / On the Road photo: Gregory Smith / Jerry Leider Company.

May 8

Kristen Stewart dancing On the Road
Kristen Stewart dancing, On the Road

On the Road, Walter Salles' film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's novel, has finally found a U.S. distributor. AMC Networks, which owns IFC Films and Sundance Selects, has purchased the North American distribution rights to the Palme d'Or contender starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart. As per Variety, the On the Road price tag was “in the low seven figures.”

The Variety report also states that “multiple people who have seen the film agreed that it contains awards-caliber performances and cinematography, but add that its two-hours-plus length and nebulous narrative will make it a challenge to market to mainstream [audiences].”

In addition to Kristen Stewart, best known for the Twilight movies, TRON: Legacy's Garrett Hedlund, and Control's Sam Riley, On the Road features Spider-Man's Kirsten Dunst, Man of Steel's Amy Adams, A Dangerous Method's Viggo Mortensen (as a fictionalized William S. Burroughs), Elysium's Alice Braga, Waiting for Forever's Tom Sturridge (as a fictionalized Allen Ginsberg), Off the Hook's Danny Morgan, and Get Him to the Greek's Elisabeth Moss.

Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries collaborator José Rivera wrote the screenplay adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1951 novel (published in 1957). Brokeback Mountain's Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla composed the score. Francis Ford Coppola is one of the film's executive producers.

On the Road's cinematography is by Eric Gautier, who also shot another 2012 Palme d'Or contender, Alain Resnais Vous n'avez encore rien vu (You've Seen Nothing Yet). On the Road's editor was François Gédigier, among whose credits are Look at Me and Let It Rain.

On the Road will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The film opens in France on May 23. No US release date has been announced yet.

Kristen Stewart dancing / On the Road photo: Gregory Smith / Jerry Leider Company.

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2 Comments to 'On the Road' Film: Kristen Stewart & Garrett Hedlund Interview + Oscar Chances?

  1. jo

    i saw on the road. i didn't care for it. i guess it's just one of those books that shouldn't be made into a movie. it was long, and dragged in a lot of places. to me there wasn't really nothing to me was oscar worthy. garrett did a good job in his role, but that was about the only thing i enjoyed.

  2. Anon

    Bella with blonde hair. When is she going to give us something new in any of her performances? I lost count with the amount of times she twitched. Only one lip bite that I noticed, so some improvement…