Category Archives: ON THE ROAD

The West Australian / Road Trip To Opportunity

Sporting a leather jacket, a beanie and black jeans on a hot summer day in Cannes, Garrett Hedlund resembles Dean Moriarty, the Neal Cassady-inspired character he portrays in Walter Salles’ movie of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

When he removes his sunglasses his eyes are two red balls.

He and his co-star Sam Riley (Sal Paradise aka Kerouac himself) had tied one on the evening before in honour perhaps of the men they portray – though hopefully they live a little longer.

Cassady died at 41, Kerouac at 47. Interestingly, junkie guru William S. Burroughs (played by Viggo Mortensen as Old Bull Lee in the film) lived to the ripe old age of 83.

“I am for the most part, responsible and I prefer a healthy lifestyle,” notes 27-year-old Los Angeles-based Hedlund (Tron: Legacy, Country Strong), a fit specimen who once considered a career as a professional baseball player.

“But I know that given Neal’s craziness and that he’d worked in the railways, it’s sort of symbolic the way that he passed. A bunch of young bucks came up to him saying ‘Come on man, let’s drink. You are Neal Cassady, you are Dean Moriarty, I know how you can play, let’s do this.’ So they got him really f…ed up and he ended up walking the railroad tracks and he collapsed and died.”

Riley may not be athletic though today he’s in better shape and can clearly drink Hedlund under the table.

“I’m from Yorkshire,” the 32-year-old boasts cheekily. Even if Riley had so deftly embodied another hard liver (Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in Control) he felt a huge pressure to understand the motivations of the iconic and complex Kerouac who, as he points out, drank himself to death around the same time. (Cassady died in February 1968, Kerouac in October 1969.)

Initially Kerouac had wanted to play Sal in the cinematic adaptation of his novel and hoped Marlon Brando would star as Moriarty and help get the film off the ground.

Though a movie version of the seemingly unfilmable road story of their real life crisscrossing America in the late 40s failed to eventuate, that put all the more pressure on Salles’ actors.

“When Johnny Depp was saying how he was glad that he was too old to play Kerouac because there would be too much pressure, I thought ‘Well, if he is saying that how will I fare’,” Riley says.

“Although I had a lot of anxiety and wasn’t sure which way it would go, I couldn’t say no, could I? Any young actor would kill for the opportunity.”

A former aspiring musician who has an uncomfortable relationship with fame, Riley now lives in Berlin with his wife, German actress Anna Maria Lara, who is far more famous there than he is – and he likes it that way.

He is, however, hugely talented and On The Road has given him the opportunity to shine.

“Sam has the intelligent sense of a writer,” Salles says. “The movie’s about young people trying to define what’s going on, but it’s also about someone trying to write a book about this process. When you are transmitting the details of the story you have to have an actor who is completely focused and who has a humanist quality and the ability to convey what’s going on.”

Hedlund too was a natural choice. A fan of the novel since he read it at 17, he is a big talker like Cassady and writes prose poetry himself. Salles met him in 2006 when he was casting the film.

“Garrett had travelled from Minnesota to Los Angeles and he wasn’t so known at the time but he’d written such a beautiful piece about the journey itself that I realised he had the sensibility for this material,” he explains.

“His tests for the role were brilliant.” An aficionado of road movies, Salles had filmed The Motorcycle Diaries based on a screenplay by Jose Rivera, who writes the screenplay here.

Aiming for meticulous detail, he took off on a road trip across America with Hedlund driving a ’49 Hudson, as Kerouac and Cassady had in the novel, while Salles filmed the second unit landscapes.

“We broke down in Texas, we broke down in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico,” Hedlund recalls with a chuckle. “We had nine different mechanics along the road.”

Most important for the movie though was the boot camp where the actors immersed themselves in Beat culture, Riley says.

“I am a Yorkshireman and Garrett is from Minnesota,” he explains.

“We couldn’t have had more different upbringings and experiences, but for whatever reason we were chosen to play these two guys at the moment when the movie finally got made.”

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Via Mr Hedlund

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DP/30 @ TIFF 2012 / Interview with Walter, Garrett and Kristen

via Laura

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Garrett Talks New Coen Brothers Film Inside Llewyn Davis

On The Road – Jack Kerouac’s free-form novel, first mooted as a movie in 1957 – has had a long and twisted path to the big screen.

We explore the fascinating story of its wild trip to cinemas in our October issue of Total Film (on-sale now!), interviewing all the key people involved in finally bringing the classic novel to your local popcorn emporium.

As part of that exploration, we spoke to Garrett Hedlund as he prepares to leave behind one cinematic car to clamber into another for the Coen brothers.

Tell us about filming Inside Llewyn Davis for the Coen brothers?

“It’s a wonderful story loosely based on this struggling folk singer in the sixties named Dave Von Ronk. It’s a wonderful cast and a wonderful period. My part was just me and John Goodman and my buddy Oscar Isaacs in a car, so I don’t know what the rest of the film is going to be like – but I sure got a kick out of filming.

“The Coen brothers, they’re two of the greatest. Those guys are two of the wisest, smartest, most brilliant filmmakers in the world and I would have played a Bellhop in the elevator for them, I would have been extra No.10 at a dinner scene to work with them.”

On The Road opens on 12 October 2012.

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via Laura

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Interview: Literature, sex, acting, passion, writing and living …

There is, perhaps, no worse place to discuss Jack Kerouac’s great American story of freewheeling life on the road in the ’50s than a sterile hotel suite in Toronto; still, that’s where I went to talk to Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart of “On the Road” about their North American Premiere — and while Stewart couldn’t show due to the needs of preparing for a red carpet, her co-star Hedlund didn’t have his co-star’s concerns. Hedlund plays Dean Moriarty, the book’s stand-in for Neal Cassady, the writer who, along with Kerouac and Ginsberg, epitomized the “Beat Generation.” A clear devotee of American literature, Hedlund also does a wickedly good Peter O’Toole impression; we spoke about “On the Road,” literature, sex and moviemaking.

MSN Movies:  So your costar Kristen Stewart is not here because she has a wardrobe difficulty. You don’t get to pull that one, do you?

Garrett Hedlund: Nah, I can handle that in all angles. You know, Walter (Salles, director) told me before the premiere, he’s like, “I know this place we’re going to ’cause of ‘The Motorcycle Diaries.’ Just wear a shirt.”

(Laughs)

And then the publicist gets in there and she’s like, “You are not wearing just a shirt. We got these suits for you and then everything.” So I get it from all angles within that. That’s why this morning they wanted me to wear something. I threw on my pants and my boots and throw on a button-up to appease everybody.

I mean, I realize that you’re putting on an expensive suit to walk down the red carpet for portraying a man who’s happiest in a flannel and jeans.

(Laughs) Well, you know, I’m not portraying him on the red carpet.

Unlike almost every other novel this book has three separate layers of existence. It’s got the book itself, there’s the lives it chronicles, and relates in fictional form, and, rarely for any book, there is an object, the original text or scroll the Kerouac had, his endless roll of paper. And I’m really curious about your relationship with each of those three things —  when did you encounter the book first, how much life research did you do, and did you track down any copies of the original manuscript?

I first read the book when I was in high school, and that’s after just say having read your English class, creative writing class obligations onto those ones and then you start getting into F. Scott and then you start getting into J.D. Salinger because when I was growing up, English wasn’t my favorite subject, but I grew up on a farm. Once I had started creative writing and World Lit and everything it kind of opened me up. And I think a lot of it was from “Brave New World” because the idea of what Aldous Huxley was doing was something, it wasn’t just a story. It was something that you saw written a hundred years ago and it was all falling into place. It was almost like Nostradamus in a way, and this whole thing about socialism, totalitarianism…

A drug-controlled populace …

Yeah, yeah, with the Soma and everything, and getting into thought control and all this and what the future’s turning into and then you read something like “On the Road” where it’s like there’s these genius minds that almost seem like they’re predicting all this stuff as well in a way, with Keroucac saying: “I came to New York as you teach me how to write and how long ago that was. See? Everything’s fine. God exists, and we know time. Everything since the goddamn Greeks have been predicted wrong. It’s all just this. I know people. I know America. I can go anywhere and get what I want because I know America.” And within this there was such a confidence within how things were gonna be and how things can be that it inspired me so much within the focus that Kerouac had and the concentration he had in terms of being able to account for everything that’s said by the people around him, or at least to his recollection. And just that made me sort of admire … that if I just wrote 10 pages a day for one year that I could have some wonderful things that inspire you in the routine. Just keep accounting for your last nights or the obstacles you run into throughout your daily life, if you just write them down where your mind’s at within that, that it’s going to be interesting within years from now when you look back upon it and see where your mind was at within then. That’s funny because Peter Bogdanovich had wrote a quote before that said nothing to me right now is of any interest; only when it’s in the past. It’s not just when we’re writing about say a conversation right now and everything. It’s in the present we’re just kind of talking and in the past, when it’s in the past, our mind’s work like that then and I thought I was an idiot back then or I thought I was uneducated or not able to sort of have thoughts like that crossed through my mind. In terms of the book, I first read that edited version because the scroll version didn’t come out until ’57, or I mean 2007.

Right.

And it was wonderful to be able, I actually went to the New York museum where the scroll was being exhibited there and got to walk around, and this is right before Walt’s, it was right after Walter cast me on the film. It was like late fall of New York and I got to go there and see all Kerouac’s notepads and see the scroll and admire that. And then when I got the scroll version to read through it and see some of the rawer piece of material that were cut out due to censorship. So that was really interesting and also the fact that me and Walter were excited that things within that Jose was now able to add and infuse into the script, our present script. But even when I first read it, and that was because of Walter’s hard work that the prior times make the documentary. So the scroll version was great because a lot of the material that Dean has said was able to be infused into the script to where many people that aren’t familiar with the scroll version would be like, “I have to go back and read the book. I don’t remember that part.”

In terms of what I got to do for research was first and foremost go to San Francisco when I hadn’t been at the end of 2007 and early 2008 and go to the Beat museum and acquire all the — well City Lights bookstore was our first stop and because I’d love the footage of Neal and Ginsberg in the basement with people all around them and Neal being a little crazy having a cigarette and you know … It’s quite classic.

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Garrett and Kristen Interview with Scott Feinberg

 

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On The Road / Press Screening in NYC

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TIFF 2012 / Garrett, Kristen and Walter Portrait

Thanks to Mr Hedlund!

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