|Tom Sturridge est Carlo Marx dans Sur La Route|
Tom Sturridge talks "On the Road"
His next film project is On The Road, the highly anticipated Walter Salles adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s heavily autobiographical and era-defining novel. This May, it’s premiering at Cannes – and Sturridge is hoping to eradicate all memory of his last experience there.“Sometimes you go to Cannes with a trailer,” he begins, describing the last time he came to the French Riviera with 2007’s Like Minds. “They held a press conference for this trailer to try and sell the film. It was seven in the morning and the only person who came to the press conference was from Australian Teletext. So my notion of Cannes is a seriously depressing place where bad films are desperately sold.”On The Road, is the most ambitious project Sturridge has been involved with to date – not least because it is the adaptation of one of the most celebrated novels in American history, so celebrated in fact that the Americans themselves have long been “too scared to make it,” he remarks. The cast, crew and production of the film have been put together on a truly international scale with funding by Film 4 and French company MK2 Productions. Director Walter Salles is Brazilian, and the cast is balanced between Americans Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst peppered with Brits Sam Riley and Sturridge, who supports the cast in the role of Carlo Marx. Fans of the novel, will know that Marx is a thinly veiled dramatisation of Kerouac’s real life friend, Allen Ginsberg, but not in the form of the large, balding, hippy that springs to mind when you hear the name.“The person I was playing was an 18-year-old guy who hadn’t come out yet, wasn’t the voice of a generation, was confused, shy, intellectually brilliant but sort of socially inarticulate – which is totally against what the world’s thought of him would be,” he says, adding that he had a wealth of material to help him research the historical figure. “His diaries and letters from that period have been published so you can literally go through On The Road the book, work out the scene and go to June 1949 to read his diary. You can find what brand of tea Ginsberg was drinking when he had [a particular] conversation.” You might think all this would be incredibly helpful for an actor who was determined to give a good performance, however the materials were almost a hindrance instead of a help, says Sturridge. “I read everything,” he begins. “Every piece of poetry he wrote up until that age, all his diaries. I read biographies, I read so much stuff but remembered on the first day of filming that I wasn’t trying to become a Ginsberg expert, I was trying to play a character. I remember shooting a first scene and them saying “action!” and thinking “fuck! I’ve totally forgotten to sort of… read the scripts!” I can tell you all sorts of things about Ginsbergs dietary feelings in this period in time but have no idea how to say these lines.”The film itself has effectively been in production since the rights were bought by Frances Ford Coppola in 1979 (Coppola is an executive producer on the project). Attempts stalled until Salles came on board, shortly after completing his own road trip epic, The Motorcycle Diaries. However even with the right talent behind it, it was still a little longer before the film finally went into production in the latter half of 2010 – but the role of Marx was one that Sturridge was determined to bag.“I did an audition for Walter and it went well. But that was three years before it got made. And then I found out from friends that it was being made again and I knew Walter was in New York so I pretended that I was in New York, when in fact I wasn’t,” he says. “I arranged a meeting with him, and then flew to New York to be like “hey! I was here the whole time, just passing by” and had lunch with him and we talked.”After going to all that effort to get the part, does he feel he did it justice? Well, yes, but he doesn’t seem to be the sort to torture himself unnecessarily about his craft. “It’s acting,” he says with a smile. “I’m not fucking up surgery. No one’s getting killed.”
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