Asked Wednesday at a Cannes Film Festival press conference about a particularly raw scene in which she – playing a character based on the freewheeling, sexually adventurous first wife of Kerouac's legendary friend, Neal Cassady – appears topless while sitting in a car seat between costars Sam Riley (in the Kerouac role) and Garrett Hedlund (in Cassady's), Stewart said she "wanted to do it."
"I love pushing. I love scaring myself," said Stewart about her portrayal of Marylou, who is based on Luanne Henderson. (Henderson, along with Kerouac, Cassady, Allen Ginsberg and Cassady's second wife, Carolyn, were among the most iconic members of the Beat Generation.) "I've always wanted to get as close to an experience as I could."
Stewart said her immersion into Marylou and the Beat world took place during a month-long "beatnik boot camp" for the cast in Montreal in 2010.
"I'm usually self conscious about running around town with my face hanging out," said the well-know Twilight star, now about to be seen in Snow White and the Huntsman. "But I got to live more in those four weeks than I ever usually do in my life."
On the Road, directed by Walter Salles, has been eight years in the making and is set to open in the U.S. this fall. Stewart, now 22, said she was 16 when she first met Salles and agreed to do the movie.
"I was almost the same age Luanne was at the time, but I was a much younger 16, so I'm glad I had a chance to age before we started shooting," she said.