Tag Archives: Interview
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.”
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.
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.
Sur La Route – On the Road
Apparently, there’s still ‘group’ movies where actors, technicians and movie crew share something for weeks and then part different ways, knowing they’ll have to every night when they sing along around a fire.
By being close to Kristen and Garrett for a few hours, you can see this closeness right away: their friendship definitely comes from their filming/adventure. They might be young (21 ad 26), these two have lived and no matter how pretty they are, they’re not dumb. Honestly, we love to criticize but here we’re gonna have to bow. If their filmography might not play in their favor (Twilight for Kristen and Troy for Garrett), they tackled this adaptation with so much intensity and intelligence that you can see it in this interview. The way they listened to their character and how accurately they portrayed them is confirmed to us by the producers and by the biography of the writer who was working as a consultant on the movie.
They’re happy to see each other again, Kristen and Garrett, it’s so obvious. They took joy in posing together, tight one against the other in an old washed out blue Chevrolet, that was used as a prop for the shoot. Lying down, sitting at the wheel, slouching in the truck, spread out on the hood …
They laugh and tease each other during breaks, light up cigarettes. After the shoot: two voices interview. Kristen, in a white t-shirt and mini shorts cut off from on old Levis’ 501, mounts a stool, looking natural despite her darkened eyes for the shoot. The sweet Garrett, who seems really nice, sits on an opposite couch and pops open his first can of Coke of the day. After lots of champagne between takes (the assistant actually showed him how to serve it like a gentleman, which made the actor laugh: ‘It’s like a woman, you have to take the bottle by the neck’).
The Beat goes on
They really wanted to make this movie.
Kristen: I read On the Road when I was 14. It was the first book that made me want to read. Two years later, I received the script and met with Walter. Sometimes you meet people and realize you wanna do the work for the same reasons as them. Whatever the conversation we were having, we shared a common excitement, him and I felt the same energy. When I left, I learned I got the role and I jumped everywhere!’
Garrett: Yes, you bailed on our dinner for that.
Kristen: What? Oh right, I was so young.
LuAnne Anderson, the real Marylou, was young too. Married at 15 to Neal Cassady, the real Dean Moriarty. Garrett was 22 when he learned he was gonna play the best mate and unwary accomplice to Kerouac, whom he said, helped him open his eyes when he was a teenager and that the reading of the book pushed him to leave Minnesota. On the set, he celebrated his 26th birthday. For the 4 years of waiting before the budget was finalized, the will of the actors never deflated. ‘Walter Salles’ persistence was remarkable. He prepared the project while filming a documentary: in fact, he already started the movie before the green light was given, ‘ tells Garrett. ‘With Walter and a crew of 50 people, we took a trip from NY to LA, we had to stop 9 times for car troubles but we did it.’ Chili, Argentina, New Orleans, Arizona, Mexico City, Montreal, San Francisco. The trip taken for the movie, forced the crew to live like gypsies for several months. The three main actors had to through the same during this journey, no comfort or pampers (agents and PR weren’t present either which is pretty rare in the US.)
Garrett: ‘We all leaned on each other. We were like a family for 6 months. It’s a feeling you often get in this work line, except that a month after you find yourself wit a completely different family. But to feel a sense of belonging this strong, doesn’t always happen. On this movie, it was really special.’
Kristen follows: ‘Everyone who worked on this movie told me the same, it’s rare to be part of such an experience. If I wasn’t a part of it I would have been jealous!’
To strengthen this solidarity, the producer organized a beatnik tour before the shoot: a month submerge in the beat generation culture with readings and screenings (all the Cassavetes’ movies!). It was a prior common experience that helped Kristen familiarized herself with her character. ‘I had the opportunity of listening to hours of recording from LuAnne talking about that period of time, listening to her voice brighten when she talked about the way she danced. We knew so many details about the real people in the book, about their lives, that it helped us play difficult scenes. They were with us.’
This girl with a strong personality and a stunning sex appeal, who got on board in a Husdon of 1949 alongside two friends, it was for Kristen a feminine role pretty rare, whether it is in the literature of the time or in the cinema of today. LuAnne felt in love at 14 with the will-o’-the-wisp Cassady. ‘Something probably awoke in her thanks to him’, explains the actress, while squirming on her stool. ‘Nothing that she did was marked by fear. She was a being that freed herself from the inhibition, she wasn’t someone who’s fearful. Her eyes are wide open when it comes to life, no judgements, she’s able to find the beauty in all of us. I envy her. She constantly bursts out, she wants everyone to feel good all the time.’ A girl with no taboo, who is divided between the two friends.
Garrett comments: ‘She understood that jealousy had no meaning She knew that her man was sleeping left and right and that his personality made him want to touch everyone.’
Kristen: ‘She didn’t shy away from sleeping with all his friends either’, Kristen goes on. The erotic promiscuity !!!!!!!!!!! in the non censored version of the book (the original manuscript published in 2007) should be in the movie as well. Indeed, the movie features a few hot scenes, in addition to an atmosphere of party and permanent excitement, everything reinforced by drugs and alcohol. On the Road is unrestrained like the life of the trio might have been. The trio that initiated the hippie freedom in the 1970s with one or two decades in advance. For the actors, sex and drugs were part of the contract from the beginning of the shoot but it’s difficult to get details on how they experienced this personally on set. ‘We felt a lot of love for our characters and we wanted people to love them as much as we do.’ they both reminisce. We buy their enthusiasm. Even if the story sets place in the fifties, the movie is timeless with its heroes everyone can identify with, starting with the actors. Both confess being completely won over by the spirit of road tripping, the thirst for freedom, the search for the ‘it’. They even got a philosophical lesson out of it: ‘When you get out of high school, you feel like whatever you wanna do is at the reach of your hand. But once life beats you down a little, you think of a job, you need to be good. Instead of dashing for the conquest of your life, you get slowed down by life and you end up losing your wonder/amazement.’
Kristen, from the top of her status as an actress who’s worked since her teenage years, didn’t want to lose her spark either. ‘I would love to be as excited as those guys were. I would love to be like this everyday. It has nothing to do with age.’ We finish by talking about the ending of the movie shoot, about the heartbreak and the separation. Garrett couldn’t be present for the wrap party because of other obligations (he will be in the next movie by the Cohen brothers, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, that will be filmed soon in NY.)
‘You didn’t even sign my copy of On the Road’ Kristen reproaches, who will also line up the roles while playing Snow White, alongside Charlize Theron and then will meet up again with Bella (and Robert Pattinson) for Breaking Dawn Part 2.’It was hard, I felt like I was going back to school, ‘ she confesses.
It’s like the end of summer vacation.
Source for pictures and translation
via Mr Hedlund
Kim Bubbs has been working hard at acting for a long time, appearing in many, many films and television shows. Being from Canada originally, she has had the advantage of working in both English and French productions. And now, she is about to go from “actress” to “star actress”. Why? Because this year she will be in two heavily-watched films, an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and the prequel to John Carpenter’s “The Thing”.
Kim called me in July 2011 and we talked about her latest projects…
GS: In “On the Road” (2011), you play Laura. Who is Laura?
KB: Laura is Sal’s one true gal after driving across the country, looking for love in all the wrong places. Laura is the woman he wants to settle down with and change his life.
GS: What sort of experiences did you or your character get to take part in during the course of the shooting?
KB: My character is the good girl, she’s the girl you bring home to Mom. She’s the girl who believes in Sal and just wants to have an honest future with him. She’s not the bohemian kind of, darker, adventurous girl he likes in the rest of the film. She’s more stable. I mean, she’s fun-loving, but she symbolizes a change and true love. [Gavin notes: The character of Laura is based on Joan Haverty. Joan and Jack Kerouac met, were married two weeks later, and their marriage lasted eight months. In the meantime, she became pregnant. Nine months later, already divorced, she gave birth to Jan Kerouac. So, regardless of how the book or movie may play out, don’t be fooled — Laura cannot tame Sal Paradise.]
GS: Were you familiar with the Kerouac novel?
KB: Yes, absolutely. It’s a classic. What’s really interesting, too, is that his parents were French-Canadian, so it was a lot of fun working with actors who speak French. It was fun throwing in French expressions from Quebec, especially with Sam Riley (who plays Sal), who is English.
GS: Did being familiar with the novel help you bring your character to life more than just reading the script would have?
KB: Yeah. I mean, it’s an excellent script. It really is, it’s very well-written. But yeah, it always gives you more in-depth information about what the writer originally intended. A script is an adaptation and can’t include everything that was in the book. So it definitely helped.
GS: So, you play the boring character…
GS: I’m sorry, but it’s true. Did you get any time on set with the big names associated with the film — Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi?
KB: I spent lots of time with Garrett Hedlund (who plays Dean Moriarty) and Sam Riley. They were amazing, they were a lot of fun. Generous, down to Earth. A lot of time we were freezing our butts off outside. We were supposed to be in New York, but we were in Montreal. It was maybe 12 degrees outside and I was wearing a strapless dress for one of the scenes. The crew and director (Walter Salles) were wearing snow pants and covered from head to toe. Sam Riley was very nice to me, offering his jacket.
GS: Any last words for this film?
KB: I’m really excited about “On the Road”! We had a fabulous director, Walter Salles. I think it’s going to be big and I’m proud to be a part of it.
You can read the rest of the interview here!
Thanks to Elle from Garrett Minds! 🙂
Garrett Hedlund has mixed and matched his roles throughout his career and from the success of Tron: Legacy he switches for the musical drama Country Strong.
He teams up with Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Leighton Meester in the Shana Feste directed movie.
– How did you get involved in this project?
I had been sent the script and told that, if I responded to it, Shana Feste would fly up to Vancouver where I was filming Tron: Legacy and meet with me. I remember reading the script and having tears in my eyes by the end.
I really wanted her to come up and have this meeting. I felt honored that she would come all the way up to Vancouver to meet with me. It’s tricky though. You read a tagline or synopsis that says, ‘A triangular love affair that takes places on a ten city tour’ and your immediate thought is to set it aside.
Or else they could have explained it a little bit differently. I find Shana so incredibly talented and wonderful. This being her second film, I feel so proud to be a part of it and proud for her.
– How did you prepare to play a musician?
The biggest thing was overcoming lack of coordination. I couldn’t play at the beginning and this guy Neal Casal, who’s the lead guitarist from Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, stopped by my place and four days a week we’d be playing early Hank Sr. songs and the Byrds or just things to play that had chord progression.
We’d go to the studio and record and chart the progression. That was for four months. Then I moved out to Nashville a month before the shoot and stayed at Tim’s ranch cabin.
Like anything, it takes time to gain the abilities and you’ve got to fall on your face so many times. You’ve got to look silly in front of so many people before you finally start finding the ability and finding confidence within the approvals of others.
– Do you prefer playing dive bars or stadiums?
I prefer the dive bars. In most of these [movies], they cut in close to the fingers and they have a hand double just going at it. They’re mocking chords when the camera’s farther away. I was in fear that I would have to do everything on my own.
I was like, ‘These scenes are beautiful. I’ll work on these scenes but I can’t wait to do them with Gwyneth and Leighton and Tim.’ Performing, I thought, ‘Can we just get this over with?’
Our first time performing for an audience was at the stage, like the first musical scene in the film. I just remember having so much fun up there, but it also helps because I felt great about the songs. Having Hayes Carll there, whom I admire so much as a singer songwriter and who’s very parallel to this character, has a real Blaze Foley kind of grit to him.
When you’re confident and the songs are good, the audience enjoys it so it’s not hard for them to partake in just kind of really cheering and being genuine with it.
– Were you a fan of country music?
I grew up on a farm. We had one radio station and it was all country. Tim McGraw would be filling the airwaves then and I’d be in the tractor listening to Tim songs and Faith Hill songs and then for him to play my father in Friday Night Lights.
I got up on stage with him in 2004 and sang, I Like It, I Love It. But I wasn’t a country singer. I was like, ‘Can I sing ‘Don’t Take the Girl’?’ He said, ‘No, you’re singing ‘I Like It, I Love It.’ You’ll catch on.’
So I’m up there just kind of mouthing with him, ‘I like it. I love it.’ His guidance within this was great. He said, ‘You just have to live and breathe countrymusic. There are thousands of people out here who are incredibly talented just trying to gain success. You’ve got to meet the scales that are raised so high and really live and breathe country music.’
That’s what I tried to do. He let me stay at his cabin, which was just great because I got to work with the guitar coach out there – this guy Rob Jackson – who’s kind of the best of the best in guitar training.
I got to go to the studio every day and work with this producer Frank Liddell and engineer Luke Wooten. They work with a lot of incredible people. I was kind of taken in by these people who were trying to help me succeed the way I wanted to succeed and wanted to help me get there. Once they saw a possibility in it, we just sort of ran for that door.