|(c) Gerald Nicosia 2012|
Sam Riley with Gerald Nicosia at the Cannes afterparty.
As promised, here is the interview with Memory Babe
author Gerald Nicosia about his experience at the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of On The Road
. As in past interviews here, this was conducted via e-mail. It's full of fascinating insights, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Thanks to Gerry for the exclusive photos, including some of Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, and Kirsten Dunst. Several miscellaneous photos appear at the end of the interview. Make sure to scroll all
the way through for Robert Pattinson!
The Daily Beat:
We understand that you just returned from the premiere of On The Road
at the Cannes Film Festival, and that it was rather a last-minute decision. How did that trip materialize?
I had hoped to be at the premiere from the time I worked on the film in July 2010. Al Hinkle and his daughter Dawn, who are good friends of mine, had talked for months about how we hoped Walter Salles or the production company would bring us all to Cannes for the premiere. But neither Walter nor MK2 was in touch with us. The email I was using for Walter was not bringing any response, and it may be he doesn’t use it any more. But about a month ago, I was able to get in touch with his assistant, Maria Bruno, in Brazil, and from that point on, I could communicate with Walter on a frequent basis. He told me that it was going to be hard to get an “invitation” (which is what they call tickets to the premieres), but that if I came to Cannes, he would invite me and a guest to the after-party. My French friend Noemie Sornet arranged a place for me to stay, and I was able to get a moderately-priced air ticket, so there seemed no reason not to go. I really wanted to see the actors again—I mean the ones I had worked closely with: Garrett, Sam, and Kristen. There were others on the crew that I wanted to see again too, like cinematographer Eric Gautier, who is not only a complete genius at what he does, but is one of the nicest people I have ever met on this planet. The main theater holds 2400 seats, so I figured, with all the people I know connected to this film, someone would come up with a ticket for me. And that is just what happened. Charles Gillibert and Rebecca Yeldham, two of the producers that I worked with, managed to come up with a ticket for me just hours before the movie showed.
You know, I’ve spent 40 years fighting for the mainstream recognition of Jack Kerouac as a great American writer. 40 years ago, I was arguing with professors at the University of Illinois, telling them they should include Jack Kerouac in American literature courses, and they were laughing at me, figuratively “spitting in my face,” telling me that they would never teach “that cult leader, that chief of the beatniks,” in a college literary course. I think I can honestly say, without boasting, that the book I wrote, MEMORY BABE, the first critical biography of Kerouac (the first book to examine his works in detail), helped in a large way to further recognition and acceptance of Kerouac as a writer instead of a “chief of beatniks.” I felt strongly that the first showing of this film, ON THE ROAD, would be a watershed in terms of Jack Kerouac reaching a much larger, mainstream audience around the world. That is to say, I felt it would be a tremendously historic occasion—in the literary world, in the cultural world, and in the political world—so I wanted very much to be there for that moment in history. And I felt I had paid enough dues over the past forty years to earn the right to be there. Thank God, I was. (And of course, thank Noemie Sornet, Walter Salles, Kristen Stewart, Charles Gillibert, and many others who helped make it possible!)