Kerouac's On The Road coming to the big screen
Kerouac's On The Road coming to the big screen

Directed by The Motorcycle Diaries’ Walter Salles, and starring a hip young cast that includes Twilight’s Kristen Stewart and Tron Legacy’s Garret Hedlund, the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is currently in production, set to hit theaters in 2011. As one of the most influential novels of the twentieth-century, Road portrays the stomach-churning, dashboard-thumping, engine-vrrumming restlessness of the American spirit like few others before or since.

Originally published by Viking Press in 1957, perhaps one of the reasons it took the popular story so long to be depicted on the big screen is that Kerouac’s narrative is as disjointed as a benzedrine-induced, cooler-than-Miles-Davis-while-driving-3,000-miles, lucid dream. Hopping back and forth from coast-to-coast, city-to-city, and flat-to-flat, in the back seats of pick-up trucks, Greyhound buses, and even a Cadillac limousine, most directors saw it as too impossible a task to pin down Road‘s energy on film. But for Salles, who experienced great success with the Che Guevara-chronicling Motorcylce Diaries, the opportunity proved much too stimulating to pass up.  Salles has long been interested in transforming the book’s words to pictures, even going so far as  to follow in Kerouac’s footsteps in order to prepare for the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Before there were hipsters, punks, hippies, or rock ‘n’ rollers, there were beatniks. Inevitably parodied by the mainstream media and pop culture, “Beat” was a term which Kerouac originally intended to connote a state of destitution (or being “bent out of shape from society’s pliers” (Dylan)), but also beatific-ness on the groove of beatitude. While the literary establishment has progressively porked their noses to On the Road as well as to Kerouac’s writing style in general, the novel continues to engage droves of young readers for one simple reason: It GOes!

On the Road is scheduled to begin shooting in August, which leaves little room for Stewart between the end of On the Road and the beginning of shooting on the fourth Twilight film, Breaking Dawn. Breaking Dawn‘s looking at an October start at the earliest, with Summit Entertainment Studio just announcing November 18, 2011 as the film’s release date.

*Hopefully if any conflict arises, Stewart will come to her senses and realize that all this vampire vs. wolf b.s. that’s been going on in Hollywood recently is the exact same thing that put Jack, Neal, Thomas Wolfe and every other red-blooded, nomadic spirit in their early graves. I.e., banality is the un-grooviest reality. Dig?

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