Two of Hollywood’s hottest stars, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, recently wrapped filming on their highly-anticipated reunion movie, On The Road. The film, which premieres this month in theaters around the country, is based on the 1957 book of the same name by Jack Kerouac. While promoting the movie, the stars took the opportunity to talk about what they had in common as well as what they were working on professionally.
The on-set photos from On The Road are absolutely stunning, and it will be interesting to see how the movie measures up to the same high standard as the book. There are so many fantastic quotes from the movie that have become famous phrases, such as “never say never,” “everybody’s got something to hide,” and “you people.”
But aside from being famous for what he wrote, Jack Kerouac also happened to be one of the great chroniclers of the Beat Generation. It is not surprising that the movie focuses on this era, as so much of Kerouac’s career was spent writing about it. The majority of On The Road takes place during this time, and it is a glimpse into the frenetic, exciting, and sometimes hectic lifestyle of a young man at the forefront of the counterculture movement.
Their On-Screen Chemistry
When it comes to acting, many people automatically think about their acting skills or the type of role they’ll be cast in. While these are certainly important factors, there is another important element that often gets overlooked—the on-screen chemistry between the two actors. This element can be just as critical to a movie’s success as their acting skills, and it can be quite difficult to measure and find out.
When it comes to On The Road, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart share an extremely potent on-screen chemistry. Theirs is a complicated relationship, as they both play characters who are polar opposites yet complement each other perfectly. In the beginning of the movie, we see Robert as young Jack Kerouac, a natural introvert who shuns the world and spends most of his time alone in his room writing. In comparison, we meet Stewart as Edie, a free-spirited party girl who pursues both men relentlessly and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world.
While there are obviously huge differences between these two characters, they do share one important thing in common—a magnetic attraction to each other that is undeniable and makes them perfect for each other’s company.
A Real Life Rivalry
One of the main themes of On The Road is competition. This is mainly embodied in Robert’s character, Jack, who feels he has to prove himself to a world that has rejected him. He is driven by a need to show everyone he is worth loving, and this results in him competing with everyone and anything for Stewart’s attention and affection.
While Robert’s character initially seems like he will never win against a womanizer like Jay, things change when Jay gets arrested and imprisoned for attacking a police officer. In this moment of triumph, Jack decides to finally fight for Stewart’s affection and attention, which begins a series of events that leads to him winning her over eventually.
Like Jack, Robert Pattinson has also had to fight for the affection of the people who matter most to him. In his case, it was his father, who he rarely got along with, that he had to prove himself to. After being told that he wasn’t good enough for many times throughout his life, Pattinson finally stood up to his father and took him to court, where he won. This was a very moving moment for all who saw it.
In contrast, Kristen Stewart has always had a level of security and acceptance surrounding her. The daughter of film director and producer Brian Stewart, she was born and raised in Los Angeles and began acting at the age of seven. Although she is well-known for playing characters with low self-esteem, Stewart has stated that she does not identify with the weaker characters she plays on-screen and instead focuses on the brighter side of life.
Much like Jack’s and Edie’s dynamic, Stewart’s and Pattinson’s relationship is also defined by complicated, mutual competitions. While Pattinson is pursuing a traditionally male role as a rugged, heroic frontiersman, Stewart has taken on the feminine persona of a gypsy flower girl.
However, as we have established, these two actors’ on-screen chemistry is nothing short of electric. For years, critics and audiences alike have remarked on Stewart’s amazing screen presence and incredible on-screen rapport with Pattinson. Now that they have both gained a level of experience, it is clear that this chemistry is something they both want to explore—and they certainly do, as evidenced by their work on-screen together.
What They’re Working On
Besides acting, Stewart and Pattinson have both taken on various projects professionally. Stewart began her impressive acting resume with a critically-acclaimed supporting role in the 2010 indie film, Martha Marcy May Marlene. She then went on to appear in such high-profile films as Beginners, Life of Pi, and the upcoming xXx: Return of Xander Cage. In addition to her film work, Stewart has been a vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana and has helped to promote the legalization effort in California.
On the other hand, Pattinson’s recent work includes the Oscar-nominated role of Edward Cullen in the 2012 blockbuster, Twilight. He is also known for playing Prince Charming in Disney’s 2013 live-action remake of Sleeping Beauty and starred in the short-lived TV series, Teen Wolf. Most recently, he was seen in the indie film, Beyond the Lights, and will soon be seen in the Marvel Studios film, Black Panther.
Pattinson and Stewart have worked together before, notably in 2012’s the short-lived, satirical teen comedy, Camp. The two previously starred in the 2008 film, Water for Elephants, which was also directed by Bill Condon. This time around, however, the dynamic between these two is much more mature and therefore more interesting. While Camp was a lighthearted look at a young couple’s first encounter and initial infatuation with each other, On The Road is an interweaving of several interwoven plots, which gives the story a meaty and layered depth.
This is primarily a product of screenwriter Steve Breimer’s incredible knack for telling a story. In fact, it is quite an impressive feat that despite playing a significant role in the creation of the Beats, Kerouac did not pen the screenplay for himself. He handed it off to Breimer, who took inspiration from Jack’s real-life rivalry with Neal and brought it to the big screen.
The Importance Of Feedback
Before we begin, it is important to note that this article is meant to be analytical and from a critical perspective. This does not mean that On The Road is not a beautiful or poignant film; it simply means that it is important to understand the unique and brilliant filmmaking style of Bill Condon, who also happens to be one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and inspiring filmmakers. To this end, let us examine the ways in which Condon invites and encourages constructive feedback from both himself and the viewers of On The Road.
One of the most interesting things about On The Road is how it exists in a space between two and three dimensions. This is primarily due to the fact that the majority of the movie takes place in Jack’s head, as he travels from New York to San Francisco documenting his experiences along the way. While there are certain physical locations the movie visits, it is very much a story told through the eyes of a young man in search of himself and feeling nostalgic for an era long past.
This element of complete creative control is liberating for Condon, and it is clear that he wants to be as mindful of this creative freedom as possible. To that end, Condon includes several lengthy monologues from Jack’s point of view, which offer a chance for the audience to engage with the characters as individuals and provide necessary context for the events that unfold. In one scene, for example, Jack sits alone on a bus, reflecting on his time spent in San Francisco and how he changed as a result of his experience there. We, as an audience, are invited to join him on this journey and see it through his eyes, as he details the significance and impact of the city on himself and his relationship with Edie. In another scene, Jack ruminates on his rivalry with Neal and the various ways in which it shaped his life. This is where the opportunity for critical feedback comes in—people who have seen Camp or know the story behind it may recognize a scene or monologue and offer their thoughts on whether or not it works and whether or not it is effective story-telling.