The no-show came as no surprise to fans who had been speculating that she would bow out since news broke of her affair with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders. Word had it Stewart was too ashamed to face her fans, many of whom had splashed out for tickets for the premiere in the grounds of the lavish Somerset House.
Star Sam Riley – who plays writer and narrator Sal Paradise, aka Jack Kerouac – mingled with VIP guests on the terrace before the screening, drinking and chatting in his trademark sexy, rasping voice. Meanwhile Sienna Miller’s partner and new father Tom Sturridge sported another trademark – a black beanie hat – as he took to the stage to help announce the film, the first in a run of outdoor screenings at the venue this summer.
As Sturridge also happens to be Robert Pattinson’s best friend, you could imagine the stir Stewart’s presence might have caused both in the crowd and on stage. No mention was made of the actors’ co-stars as they talked briefly about the film, which played out to an enthusiastic audience who cheered at the end (and in some cases, tittered at the film’s raunchy sex scenes!).
Ironically, the film is littered with tales of infidelity. Stewart plays Marylou, young wife to the charismatic charmer Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund). Free spirit Marylou is hardly adverse to affairs or, in one amusing scene, pleasuring two men in the front of a car. As we reported in Cannes in May, her brave, spirited performance in the beat poet road trip movie could be a promising departure. Whether recent controversies will overshadow that remain to be seen.