Garrett Heldund Joins Adaptation of Kerouac's 'On the Road'
Poised to make some serious waves later this year as Sam Flynn in Tron Legacy (watch the trailer), actor Garrett Hedlund is in talks to star in an adaptation of On the Road, the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name, to be directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries). This is a novel that has been gestating as far back as the late 70's when none other than Francis Ford Coppola had optioned the book. An adaptation from Salles has been talked about since back in 2005 when the director was planning to re-team with The Motorcycle Diaries screenwriter Jose Rivera, but Hedlund's casting is the first real development since then.
Though he was never pleased with the label, Kerouac was acclaimed as quite the iconoclast of the beatnik generation, and On the Road is widely considered to be his most famous and perhaps best work. Here is Publishers Weekly's take on the novel and it's story, for those unfamiliar with it:
Poetic, open and raw, Kerouac's prose lays out a cross-country adventure as experienced by Sal Paradise, an autobiographical character. A writer holed up in a room at his aunt's house, Paradise gets inspired by Dean Moriarty (a character based on Kerouac's friend Neal Cassady) to hit the road and see America. From the moment he gets on the seven train out of New York City, he takes the reader through the highs and lows of hitchhiking, bonding with fellow explorers and opting for beer before food. First published in 1957, Kerouac's perennially hot story continues to express the restless energy and desire for freedom that makes people rush out to see the world. The tale is only improved by Dillon's well-paced, articulate reading as he voices the flow of images and graveled reality of Paradise's search for the edge.
Of course, while a such a highly regarded book may be better left without a film adaptation, Prod Weekly says it's supposed to go into production this summer. Back in 2008 (via SlashFilm) Salles even mentioned how he would like to make the story more relevant to today, but without changing the time period in which it is set (circa x 1947): "I am not really interested in doing a period piece that wouldn't have a correlation with what we are living right now. There is a strange modernity to the theme, and maybe 'On the Road' is more contemporary today than it ever was." Since this project has been in the works for so long, we'll have to wait and see if it gets off the ground this time, since its still got a ways to go. Stay tuned as it develops!