In 2007, Walter Salles was having dinner with two friends, “Babel” director Alejandro González Iñárritu and composer Gustavo Santaolalla, when he mentioned he was looking for a young actor to play Marylou in “On the Road.” Says Salles, “They both said, in unison, ‘You absolutely have to meet this girl who is in ‘Into the Wild.’ ” After checking out the film, Salles was taken by the then-unknown Kristen Stewart. “Kristen doesn’t appear for the first two-thirds of the film, but when she comes into the story she just brings a unique light and magnetic quality to the screen that very few actresses possess,” he says. After a meeting at the Sunset Marquis (a place Stewart says now has “a very special place in my heart”), Salles offered her the role. “Several actors were testing for the part at this point, and I didn’t even ask her to test,” he says.
On set, Salles says Stewart impressed everyone with her work ethic. “She is unbelievably concentrated. She can be so tough with herself; she doesn’t give up until she reaches a point where she believes she did her best. That kind of pursuit of excellence is really a gift for any director.” As for her lesser-known talents, he says, “Her iPod had the best selection of music from the ’70s you will ever find, so whenever we wanted good music, we would report to Kristen. Also, she plays pool as well as the boys. Better, in fact. She beat them most of the time.”
For our interview with Kristen Stewart, pick up copies of Backstage on newsstands Nov. 08. Elsewhere in the issue, we speak to Kathiee Lee Gifford and Carolee Carmello about the Broadway musical "Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson." And keep checking the website throughout the week for additional news, reviews, and interviews!