Hollywood Chicago: I found Kristen Stewart’s performance to be very memorable. What do you think she understood about Marylou that audiences would never see if they just know her as Bella Swan?
Salles: I first heard about Kristen about the time she did ‘Into the Wild,’ early 2006, and she was recommended to me for ‘On the Road.’ So we met, and once we started to exchange ideas about the book, not only did she know it inside out, but she also had an in-depth understanding of the Marylou character. She realized that Marylou was ahead of her time – a free thinker and an independent decision maker, given she was a woman during the 1950s.
Kristen, in her independent film work, drifts towards roles in which women are independent and have a voice. She fought for the role with everything that she could, it was very moving. She got access to hours of interview with the late Luanne Henderson, who was the real life basis for Mary Lou, and that material was truly inspiring for her. She realized how sensitive and how non judgmental her character was, and it freed her to give a three dimensional quality to that character. I find her performance to be moving and generous.
TC Daily Planet: Talk about the cast..
So other casting took place very early on in 2006-07, and the film was almost green lit by 2008 until the economic crisis interrupted and it affected independent film and funding was completely blocked. It took us three more years to put this all together and by then, the actors we had selected had become known for other films. [..] Kristen Stewart was invited to be in the film when I saw her Into The Wild in 2006, and I had no idea the Twilight saga was about to dominate, but she remained closely tied to it for many years. She did say she was thankful it didn’t happen around filming the Twilight films; she had read On the Road and understood Marylou's character, but also said that it would had been hard for her to get all the layers right for her character since she wasn’t mature enough.