Wearing a Blondie t-shirt, black shorts and an orange leather jacket by Balenciaga, the actress agreed to answering our questions, apologizing for not taking off her sunglasses that hid "a terrible flu".
- How does one put themselves in the shoes of a fictitious character but based on a real person? The responsibility must be double, as you have to do justice to the book and to the spirit of the actual Beat Generation.
"Responsibility is the word that better describes it. That's how I felt when I was shooting this movie. I read the book when I was 14 and I can say it was the first time I enjoyed a book. Thanks to it, I realized I liked reading, and it also made me discover other authors that have really left a mark in my life. The book was the start of my adolescence, that moment full of emotions, passion and strong beliefs".
- There's lot of sex and drugs in the movie. Up to what point were you against facing those scenes?
"It didn't make me uncomfortable at all. I felt secured and protected. I felt like I owed it to the character. I'm very different from her, but I knew I had to lose all the inhibitions to do a good job. And I'm a very introspective person, whereas Marylou is much more open. I didn't mind the nudity and drugs. Actually, to be honest with you, I was almost looking forward to it...God, this is going to be great for your headline [smiles]".
- Would you say that what the characters experienced was more transgressive than what people do today?
"I don't know. Maybe doing drugs and having promiscous sex is considered more sordid today than in the 50's. I'd say that, for those characters, it was a way to fully express their life."
- Do you share that urge to live to the fullest?
"I think it's a fundamental feeling. That's why the book managed to connect many readers over the decades. It is usually liked by people who realize that their values, priorities and limits are different that those of the majority. That's something I join in."
- How do you live to the fullest with everybody's eyes on you?
"It seems impossible from the outside. But apart from when you're promoting, I feel completely free to do what I feel like doing. If you're true to yourself, there's nothing to be ashamed of. Whatever if people see you. They keep asking me what I feel, being I'm a role model of conduct for many girls and that stuff. I answer that if you want to be a role model you have to be true to who you actually are. If you think of how you would like people to perceive you, you're lying....and you're never going to be a model of anything."
- Aren't you afraid of fans turning their back at you at this new stage?
"It's not my problem. I do what I want and what I like. I'll say it again, the most important thing is being honest with yourself. If you try to be someone you're not, you'll end up being a combination of things that don't match together and being nothing..."
- But the risk of alienating your teen fans is something that must cross your mind when you agree to take part in a move like On The Road.
"I'm not aware of that. I got involved in this movie before the Twilight success broke out. I know you won't believe me, because it's what the entire world says, but there's no hidden tactic behind my decisions, even though everything seems planned. With Snow White and the Huntsman it must have looked like I was voluntarily distancing myself from Twilight, and that I'm winking at the indie audience with this movie. But it's not like that, I know it's difficult to believe but I'm being honest with you."
- Who drives your decisions then?
[hesitates] Sometimes it's about choosing characters that are strong women. I think we need more women like that now."
- Do you feel relieved now that you said goodbye to Bella?
"That's what everybody assumes, even though actually I really enjoyed Twilight. It's true that I could have lost my mind, but luckily it didn't happen."
- What are you talking about?
"The cinema is an odd experience, where you share great intimacy with thousands of people even if you don't know them. And with Twilight, it wasn't thousands, but millions of people. If such an experience doesn't affect you at all, you have a problem".
- We might get the wrong impression, but you seem intimidated by premieres and red carpets. Is it shyness or annoyance?
"It's not that I don't like it, it's just that is still shocking. What can I do? I feel uncomfortable in places where hundreds of people are looking at me. I often have to repeat myself 'focus, don't let your head wonder to other places'. I find it very easy to withdraw into myself and forget about the rest".
- You've been making movies since you were 9 and your parents are in the business. Do you think it helped you to take Hollywood less seriously?
"You bet, growing up in a family that works in the movie industry makes you feel a bit more proletarian. I feel like I'm a small part of a team, that's how I relate to my job. I know it'll sound very pretentious, but the entertainment industry doesn't attact me. I don't want to be part of that..I just want to make movies that are important".
- In your relationship with Robert Pattinson, would you say there's rivalry in your work, or rather emulation?
"There's no rivarly or competition. I'm very proud of him. Basically, we're both learning".