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TORONTO – Y’know, it hasn’t been the best month or two for Kristen Stewart.
In theory, Stewart should be on top of the world. The 22-year-old just starred in her first legitimate blockbuster outside of the “Twilight Saga”, June’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” And in May, she found herself walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival where Walter Salles’ prestige player “On the Road” debuted. Unfortunately, well, that thing with her “Snow White” director happened.
We don’t regularly cover celebrity or tabloid stories at HitFix. It’s actually something we avoid because it's really not news. Certainly not "entertainment" news. On the other hand, when it affects the production of a movie, TV show, album, etc. it’s not just a personal story anymore, it’s business. And, HitFix covers the entertainment business. So, when it was revealed Kristen Stewart was going to walk the red carpet at the North American premiere of “Road” during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival we had to be there. This was Stewart’s first press line since her very public split with her “Twilight” co-star Robert Pattinson and either it would overshadow Salles’ film or it wouldn’t. And that could be a big problem for investors looking to recoup the production cost on "Road."
Before going any further, let’s make a very important point: Stewart did not have to travel to Toronto to support “Road.” The independently financed production likely paid her close to SAG minimum (as most indies do) and there was no Hollywood studio pressure of “We’ve paid you $10 million dollars and you better get your butt in gear and smile on ‘The View’ and be happy dammit” from IFC Films and Sundance Selects. Stewart did this on her own because she obviously wanted to help “Road” in any way she could (and IFC and Selects will take it). Also worth noting, no personal publicist in his or her right mind would want Stewart encountering the press just weeks after a break up that spawned headlines around the globe.
Flash forward to Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. It’s 8:30 PM EST and Stewart arrives at the Ryerson Theater in Toronto to face a throng of screaming fans and paparazzi. Was Stewart smiling for the cameras? Honestly, no. She didn’t look happy, but she certainly took the time to go over to sign autographs for her fans. Moreover, because the previous event at the theater ran way over Stewart and co-stars Garret Hedlund and Kirsten Dunst spent much longer talking to the press and taking photos than any of their handlers expected. Still, Stewart was the good soldier, didn't do a flyby and race into the theater. Instead, she helped created a ton of press breaks (including this one) for a movie that needs it. Cue the big sigh of relief from the "Road" marketing camp.
Because the picture ended up starting an hour behind schedule and there was another film, Lionsgate’s “Dredd,” screening afterward in the same theater there was only time for a short Q&A (where Stewart dropped her heels for high top sneakers ). Salles took up most of the time with a rambling answer about what inspired him to adapt Jack Kerouac’s legendary novel (to say the “Motorcycle Diaries” helmer is long winded is an understatement), but Stewart was also able to talk briefly about her character Marylou. She revealed that knowing the real woman behind Marylou (Luanne Henderson) lived a fruitful life after the events in the book helped her get through the character's sad arc. And when a fan from the audience asked her a silly question about if she could take a road trip anywhere where would she go? Well, yeah, that happened too.
All and all, a successful night for all concerned. And somewhere, a Summit Publicity executive is thinking to themselves, “Y’know, we might just get through the publicity campaign for the ‘Breaking Dawn, Pt.’ relatively unscathed.” Now, whether Universal pubs can say the same thing about a “Snow White” sequel is another matter entirely.
“On the Road” opens in limited release on Dec. 21.
Everything: Toronto Film Festival
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