Walter Salles has come out in what seems to be a... sort of mild defense about casting Kristen Stewart in his adaptation of Jack Kerouac's "On The Road," revealing that the actress has been enthusiastically attached to the project for over two years now.
In a statement by Salles through the Brazilian media, the director noted that he had offered Stewart the role before her 'Twilight' fame after seeing her small, but impressive performance in Sean Penn's "Into The Wild," adding that she "remained faithful to the project during the entire time that the film sought funding."
Salles also described Stewart as someone that "knows the book [by] Kerouac in depth" and that she "could be starring in projects with budgets much bigger, but made the choice to participate in an independent film, produced by a French company." While Stewart gets a bad rap because of "Twilight" -- her acting has definitely been over scrutinized because of these films -- it's not surprising to hear the actress, who does generally choose interesting roles in between the vampire soap opera, has been dedicated to this role for a quite some time.
As we previously discussed, Stewart is an actress that, we think, has much more to offer than her teen idol reputation having already broadened her strokes with the likes of "Adventureland" and "The Runaways." Her short but notable role in "Into The Wild" caught our eye early on and we're glad it's been noticed by Salles as it's a great warm-up for her role in this iconic Beat-Generation novel adaptation.
Stewart is set to play Mary Lou, the child-bride of Neal Cassady surrogate Dean Moriarty, who'll be played by "Tron Legacy" star Garrett Hedlund — who reportedly "participated in the lengthy process of casting done for the film, and did a great test for Dean's character." Englishman Sam Riley, meanwhile, is on board to portray Kerouac surrogate Sal Paradise in the semi-biographical work chronicling his spontaneous road trips with friends across '50's America in the pursuit of self-knowledge and experience.
Shooting on the film will kick off this August in the U.S., Canada and Mexico though, again, no mention is made of the director's original plans to shoot it appropriately in black and white. The production is a collaboration between French shingle MK2, the U.K.'s Film4 and Brazil's Videofilmes with the odd combination hopefully boding well for Salles' valiantly long-fought ambition to bring this project to the screen.