September 27 2010
Q: What's next for you? You're shooting "On the Road."
Hedlund: Yeah. I did this country film, "Country Strong," with Gwyneth Paltrow immediately after we finished "TRON." The director was asking if I'd be willing to put the work in necessary to play this role, now. This director, Shana Feste. And I said of course I would. So, from August on, I started guitar training for six months. We started filming January 11th for that, it was just a two-month shoot. Thirty-six days. And then it was to become this whole character, so I gained 40 pounds and got to 200 and was playing guitar all day every day. I was kind of on the pulled-pork diet. I was going to studio and putting down old Hank Sr. tracks or something else and charting the progress and then coming back two weeks later and putting down some other songs. Then we acquired our songs, one by one and you go in to work on those. I moved to Nashville a month and a half early to get the city down. I was staying at Tim McGraw's cabin on his ranch about 40 miles outside of town, sitting by the fire playing these songs. I was really proud of that one. A really sad story. Now we're halfway through filming "On the Road" with Walter Salles directing. That one was extremely special to me because when I first read it at sixteen or seventeen, I looked it up online and it said that Francis Ford Coppola was producing or directing it. I said, "Great. I'll never get a chance at this." Now I'm playing Dean Moriarty and I couldn't be happier. But I had been attached to it since September '07. And I think, man, if I hadn't had been able to do it, a part of me would have definitely drowned a little bit. Just because I have such a passion for this project and Walter Salles is the only one in my eyes who is right to do this film. I'm so glad that all the stars aligned the way they have.
Q: What was it like to go from something as massive as this to a smaller character piece like On the Road?
HEDLUND: With Tron, we had so many crew members around and a stage full of special effects people that know exactly what has to be done in the situations. You’re on a stage in sets the whole time. For our experience with On the Road, it’s been quite the opposite. It’s been quite a guerilla shoot. At times, there’s just been two handfuls of crew members around us and it’s a very quiet situation. The content that we’re dealing with is all over the board. The Beat Generation is so much more different than the technological world. Just personally, I’ve been attached to On the Road since 2007 and it was the greatest thing in my life when I got cast in it. I couldn’t believe it. When I was 17 and read the book, I looked it up on IMDb and it said that Francis Ford Coppola was going to direct it. Me just being a kid about to graduate high school, I knew I would never get a shot at it. Now, it’s eight years later and I’m on the set of On the Road. Every day, me and Sam Riley would look at each other and just be like, “We’re fuckin’ filming On the Road.” Also, the character is such a wild, maniacal, extroverted genius. Kerouac was the cowboy that inspired the whole Beat Generation, and highlighted and put the spotlight on all of these minds that didn’t really know what they were doing at the time, but accomplished something much bigger than what they ever foresaw. I think that’s what Tron is doing, in terms of the technological world. From what the first one had done, this one is taking that torch a little further. Anybody that’s sitting out in the audience that has the aspirations to be in this business and do anything with special effects or computers, it’s going to inspire them to work a little harder to get to where they want to be. Once they get there, they’re going to create that piece of work that’s going to inspire the whole next generation of creators.