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Translation of the article by eurofabulous from Le Monde

Last time we saw these three, the two boys and the girl were in the sunroom of a plantation. They got into the Hudson in 1947 and disappeared under the trees of the avenue.

This was in September 2010, in New Orleans, the filming of On the Road was already 3 months in. They had many more months ahead, riding from Mexico to San Francisco, crossing through Canada.

A year and a half later, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart met up again in the bright light of Los Angeles. It's the first reunion back for months for the trio and it almost was like the shooting just ended. They snuke out of the studio, where they posed for the photograph Steven Pan, to go smoke on the sidewalk.

Their complicity is intact, just like it was on the seat of the Hudson, on the American roads. The way they talk about the movie is also different from the usual dialogue imposed by media training. In their stories, in their thought process, we can hear the echos of a commun experience that shaped them. Under the aegis of saint Jack Kerouak, under the direction of Walter Salles, they got another view of the world, of the cinema. On May 23rd, they will be in Cannes for the International Premiere of On the Road, by Walter Salles. Adaptated from Jack Kerouac's novel, the piece that started the Beat Generation.

The Brazilian director grabbed in 2004 this text - that inspired the travels done across the USA at the end of the 1940s - published in 1957. It took him eight years to complete the movie, without sacrificing anything, and especially not the three young actors that he chose right from the beginning. Even tho, in the meantime, one of them became a star.

It's been decades since Hollywood wondered who will take on the roles of Dean Moriarty, Sal Paradise and Marylou, the On the Road trio that Kerouac shaped after nature. Moriarty, that's Neal Cassady, the boy that "spent one third of his youth in a correction house, one third in pool halls and one third in public libraries", as Walter Salles likes to remind everyone.

Paradise is Kerouac, the immigrant from Quebec, son of a working class man from Massachusetts. And then Marylou, it's LuAnne Henderson, the teenager who escaped home for the love of Cassady and to be free.

Six years ago, Walter Salles chose Garrett Hedlund first to play Neal. The actor was 20 and came out of his farm in Minnesota. Some time later, during a supper, the composer Gustavo Santaolalla told the director about a young acttress that he noticed in a movie for which he wrote the score - Into The Wild, by Sean Penn.

Kristen Stewart - "I remember writing her name on piece of paper" says Walter Salles - thus became Marylou. Finally, after the screening of 'Control' at Cannes in 2007, the English actor Sam Riley was invited to do a test with Hedlund. The chemistry between the two boys was so obvious that despite height differences (Riley is tall and thin, Kerouac was small and stocky) and accent with the original, the British actor landed the role of Sal Paradise. Among other things, because they weren't too famous, Walter Salles' project was pushed back several times, until the beginning of 2010.

After leaving the set of On the Road, kristen Stewart took on one job after the other - Breaking Dawn, Snow White and the Huntsman. While the boys spent a year doing nothing. Sam Riley who lives in Berlin, tells us that he spoke with Garrett Hedlund via Skype. "Did you find something? No? Me neither." Finally, they both accepted secondary roles under the guide of renowned directors. Neil Jordan for Riley and the Coen brothers for Hedlund. After portraying Kerouac's characters for so long it must have been hard to come back to the 21st century. Kristen Stewart didn't have a choice, she had to reply to the call of the vampires. Between the moment, overjoyed, when she accepted the role of Marylou and the beginning of filming, she became Bella, the heroine of Twilight, the vampire's lover played by Robert Pattinson who's her partner off screen. As if by magic, in January 2010, when Walter Salles finally found with the French producer MK2, the funds and the support that were lacking elsewhere, the scheduling proved to be compatible with the agenda of the young actress. What it was less tho, it seems, was her status of a super star, chassed by fans and the media, and the willingness of Walter Salles to make of OTR a nomadic experience, as close as possible to the wanderings of Kerouac.

Kristen Stewart played the game. During filming, the crew sometimes played hide and seek with the press and the fans who would track the actress. In Argentina (where the crew went to seek snow in August), to leave the airport they had to use a limo as a decoy to chase the paparazzis away. One part of the shooting had to be relocated in Arizona after threats of kidnapping. But on the set, no agents, no press agents; no assistants; all these people that gravitate around her in Hollywood. "I don't know how she managed to stay sane", wonders Sam Riley.

The three young actors went through 'boot camp' that Walter organized a few weeks before the shooting in Montreal. In a big apartment, they watched John Cassavetes' movies, met with writers from the Beat Generation, listened to jazz from the late 1940s. Kristen discovered rare recordings of LuAnne Henderson. Out of all the protagonists in OTR, LuAnne is the only one who didn't make profit out of her experience: "It was her life, three years with the man she loved. That's all, no opportunity to become famous. And God knows that time was open to opportunities." Kristen Stewart tells us with joy, like she used to do on the set in New Orleans, when she remembers her first reading of OTR at 14 or 15.

She, who's about to board on a three movies' promotional tour, does her best to prove that her enthusiasm for this movie isn't conventional. "People always say that they're a family on set and it's not always the case but this time," she insists, "I didn't want to leave the set, I wanted to do the whole journey with them. But for years I was preparing myself to finish the Twilight series." She forced herself into this "big change in pace", where she worked non stop for a year and she's now undecided as to where to go next. "I'm itchy at the idea to be working but I saw nothing so far that provoked me, that made me move. That's how it's like after you make movies like OTR. The level of demand is higher."

You also have to face the demands of Kerouac's fans. Americans who wonder why the Brazilian gave the role of Sal Paradise to an English actor. Some movie-goers who know that Francis Ford Coppola (who had bought the rights of the book at the end of the 1960s and is one of the coproducers of the movie) or Gus Van Sant could have directed the movie. In a bookstore on Sunset Boulevard (yes, they exist), a seller recognized Sam Riley and asked him: "You're going to be in OTR? I hope it's going to be good." Out of the three, the British actor is the most worried. It might be a matter of temper. He's wondering if people are gonna hold his accent against him (a mix between a Yankee from New England and some Quebecois) that he worked on for months. He remembers an anecdote from 'boot camp'. "A writer who knew Kerouac came to a room were Garrett and I were in. He shaked our hands and then looked over his shoulder asking where was the one who was supposed to play Kerouac."

Six months later, in San Francisco, the night of the last day of shooting, Sam Riley met Carolyn Cassady, Neal's widow, who's 90 today (she's played in the movie by Kirsten Dunst). "She stroked my cheek and looked at me. I can't repeat what she told me but, as she was leaving, I told myself that the people who hired me might not have been so wrong after all."

In the meantime, Sam Riley/Sal Paradise had picked cotton in Arizona( 122° in the shade), danced in some dumps in Puebla (when violence was paroxysmal in Mexico) and spend one whole Sunday in the snow in Calgary, Canada.

"I remember someone came over to wake me up to do some reshoots. As a true diva, I thought it was my day off but I left with them anyway. There was only Walter, Eric Gautier (note: the director of photography) and Garrett took care of the costumes and make-up." This swerve in the work programme, unthinkable on a Hollywood movie set, produced beautiful images of Paradise walking in the mountains, in hopes of stopping a car or a truck. "In three hours we filmed 20 shots," remembers Sam Riley, "and my favorites are featured among those."

In New Orleans, he had to improvise alongside Viggo Mortensen who played the role of Old Bull Lee (inspired by the character of William Burroughs, literary inventor, heroin addict, murderer of his own wife. "I knew Viggo was a smart nd cultivated man, a poet too. I spent all night on Wikipedia because I was scared he was going to ask me: 'So Sal, what do you think of the Übermensch?' when I've never read Nietzche."

Those periods of ad-libbing are at the heart of the movie Walter wanted to make. As the trio drove away on the roads of Arizona, (113° in the shade), the script planned for them to pick up a hitchhicker. Walter Salles grabbed the talented singer Jake La Botz. he made him hum the sad lament of a man who killed the woman he loved, without warning Kristen Stewart "Marylou's reaction when she hears that song was memorable," explains Walter Salles. "She stayed in the movie to announce the inevitable break up between Marylou and Dean Moriarty."

Dean Moriarty's face; the ideal man according to Jack Kerouac, the object of desire for the women in the movie; Garrett Hedlund has been representing him for a long while. Walter Salles saw tens of actors but none like him. "Garrett brought a sense of urgency, an energy but also pain, due to his quest to find his father. When he did his audition, he arrived from Minnesota, he repeated the lines we gave him and then he asked me if he could read something. In the bus he wrote a story about his trip. His interpretation of the roving life, of his own life won me over."

When he was a teenager, Garrett Hedlund read that Francis Ford Coppola was preparing an adaptation of On the Road and told him himself that the role of his life was going to slip away from him. when he was 20 and crossed paths with Dean Moriarty, he refused to let him go, no matter the trials and tribulations of the project. "Every time he was offered a role," remembers Walter Salles, "he asked me if he could do it without it compromising On the Road." But by refusing role after role, driving his agent to despair, Garrett still stay to this day one of the hopes of Hollywood, while he could have become a star a while ago. Way before the certainty of the project's success, he helped Walter Salles in his research, he learned how to drive the Hudson, met survivors of the Beat Generation, like the poet Michael McClure. "At that time, I couldn't say that I was going to play Dean Moriarty. I stayed quiet, I posed as Walter's travel buddy."

"He has a pure soul," Sam tells us of Garrett. Hedlund lives in a tiny apartment in Silver Lake, far from Beverly Hills. "I prefer to wake up poor in the morning. I don't want to have to work to pay for an apartment." In 2009, after the Bank crisis failed on of the first edit of On the Road, the young man gave in to his agent's insistence and accepted the lead role in Tron, a big Disney production. "I was about to ask rent money to my mom," he remembers. "Six months later, we were in Montreal, in an apartment with Kristen and Sam."

Garrett missed the wrap party on the last day of filming, that he left in a hurry to attend the Tron Premiere in Los Angeles. But Walter Salles offered him an other opportunity. During the Fall 2011, after finishing a first edit of the movie, the filmmaker went back on the road across the USA to "have a moment of complete freedom", to help soften the rythme of the movie. A crew reduced to only five people, one actor: Garrett Hedlund and the Hudson, who travelled over the little roads - away from the highways borded by billboards - to find the roads that exhilarated Kerouac and Cassady. As we listened to Garrett Hedlund listing the stages of the journey (the Adirondack Mountains; Cincinnati; Ohio; Lexington; Kentucky; Lubbock, Texas; Las Vegas; New Mexico), all we're missing is a guitar to turn it into a talking blues.

The actor remembers every snow shower, every breakdown. "There was a mecanic named Corndog who fixed the car on a his front lawn. He had Jheri curls and wore a shower cap to slide under the Hudson, so he wouldn't get oil in his hair."

Cannes is the last paradoxical and logical step for this journey. Of course a red carpet is a weird place to park a Hudson which lugs around three heavenly hobos, but Walter Salles presented his last two movies there: The Motorcycle Diaries and Linha de Passe (coproduced by Daniela Thomas). It's after watching The Motorcycle Diaries, another road movie following the young Ernesto Guevara through Latin America, that Francis Ford Coppola had the idea of offering him On the Road. Kristen Stewart will meet up on the Croisette with her Twilight costar, Robert Pattinson, who played in Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg. Sam Riley will make his comeback there, he was discover by the Directors' Fortnight due to his portrayal of Ian Curtis, the singer of Joy Divison in Control, by Anton Corbjin. And Garrett Hedlund will be able to show to the whole world what those who met him already know: he's a movie star.