On the Road has easily been one of the most anticipated films at this year's Cannes Film Festival -- it marks the first successful adaptation of the classic 1957Jack Kerouac novel of the same name. Directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries), the project began development in 2005. That same year, Kristen Stewart -- then 16 and a relative unknown -- was one of the first actors attached to the production. By the time On the Road finally began filming in 2010, Stewart was an international sensation with a hefty asking price. Yet despite a drastic pay cut and the demands of Twilight Saga schedule, Stewart remained committed to the film.
As Marylou, Stewart ventured into risqué territory. The sexually liberated teenage bride grinds on the dance floor, engaged in threesomes, and takes road trips in the nude. The provocative film allowed Stewart to prove that she has range as an actress outside of what we know of her from Twilight.
In her first scene, Stewart's character is in the throes of unbridled passion with her older husband Dean (Garret Hedlund), and doesn't mind being topless in front of guests. As the film progresses, Dean's philandering ways drain her emotions, which Stewart conveys with subtlety and restraint. When he abandons her for his new wife, you can see the anguish in her eyes.
Stewart extensively researched the role in preparation for filming. The character of Marylou is based on LouAnne Henderson, Neal Cassidy's young wife -- Stewart met with Henderson's daughter to help gain insight into her personality and motivations. At Wednesday's Cannes press conference, Stewart expressed her admiration for Henderson's singular resilience. She revealed:
She never sold herself, Stewart said That was one thing about her that was very different. She wasn't rebelling against anything. She was just being herself and it wasn't her priority to be a part of something that was moving other people. It was just about the people that she loved.
She's so completely human, the actress continued She never made herself a commodity. She was really one character that really truly embodied the spirit of this book.
Stewart's role in On the Road has been overshadowed by the fact that boyfriend Robert Pattinson also has a film -- Cosmopolis -- in the festival. Speculation has been rampant about how their private romance will play out on the Cannes red carpet. So far, the actress has remained mum on their relationship - clearly preferring to talk about the film.
When a reporter tried to ask the actress about Pattinson a festival moderator shot down the question and Stewart quickly disregarded the personal inquiry. With On the Road already garnering critical praise, the film is likely to outshine the Robsten gossip.