What else do you have coming out next year? You’re in On The Road, right? You’re playing Camille?
Yeah, that’s right. We’re still working on it.
Has that been frustrating? Kerouac didn’t write memorable female characters. On The Road is mostly about dudes and the drugs that love them.
Well, I think Camille is pretty fascinating. She’s based on Carolyn Cassady, Neal’s wife, and their relationship is really complex. Neal grew up without a mother. I think he had two sides to him; he wanted the wild stuff, but also a wife and kids. I think there was a constant pull inside of him. He wanted to go out and do his thing but also wanted to be an upright man with a steady life.
But even the way you just explained it, it’s all about Neal. Carolyn is just one of his options, not a fully fleshed-out human being.
That’s true. The female characters kind of play supporting roles. I mean, obviously women drive men to a certain point. Their contributions are important. But the relationship between Jack and Neal is what really drives the book.
I heard that director Walter Salles sent the cast to a four-week “beatnik boot camp” in Montreal. Were you a part of that?
No, I didn’t make it. I’m getting the condensed version. I’ve just tried to do as much studying as I can, watching videos online of Neal and Jack. I also saw that movie Heart Beat with Sissy Spacek and Nick Nolte. And then I have the book that Carolyn wrote. I feel like I have a lot of information to draw on.
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If you want to do your own beatnik boot camp, just smoke some weed and write some crappy stream-of-consciousness poetry. You’ll get the basic gist of it.
(Laughs.) Yeah, I guess so. That’s the crib notes version.