Was On the Road influential for you as an adolescent?
"I read it for school. I'd always really done well in school and enjoyed it, but I was never floored by it, in that way. Up until that point, I did it because I wanted to be a good kid, and then it sort of kickstarted something in me. It probably coincided with the age that I was — it's a moment when you look up and actually choose your surroundings, you actually choose the people that you're going to call your friends. At that time, I thought, 'I need to find people that are going to really push me.'"
How did you get the get the rough look of your character, Marylou?
"She was just really simple. One really remarkable thing about her is she's so completely un-self-conscious. Vanity was the last thing on her mind. She was a beautiful girl, and everyone who talked about her said that. She was infectious and disarmingly present. I wasn't going for rough. I was going for real."
Do you have any favorite looks that you've gotten to wear this year?
"I liked everything I wore this year…I think. I don't want to offend any of the dresses."
What aspects of the film did you relate to?
"I think I always really identified with Sal Paradise [played by Sam Riley]. As much as Marylou offers so much of the vitality, so much of what you are hungry for during the read, I didn't really identify with her initially. It took a lot to pull it out."
What was your favorite on-set moment with your co-stars Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley?
"I think probably at the end of the shoot. It's funny, one of my favorite moments is Garrett not being there. He had to go do something and I had finished doing a scene that his character was not present for, and it was just kind of perfect. His absence was very poignant. The fact that it was my last scene in the entire the movie, saying goodbye to Walter [Salles, director] and taking a picture in the middle of a completely empty road in the desert. It was excruciating, but at the same time, kind of what I instantly think about."
Everybody on the set was smoking and drinking, did you look forward to showering at the end of every shoot?
"I did enjoy showering at the end of the day. If we were actually taking that trip, it would be the grimiest. I used to think about that all the time. So, I was glad to not go there."
Photo: Dave Allocca/StarPix, Courtesy of Harrison-Shriftman PR