Jack Kerouac fans may wet themselves here and props to Slashfilm for getting the scoop on this one. Production Weekly had a late-breaking item reporting that "Tron Legacy" star Garret Hedlund (pictured below) is in talks to play Dean Moriarty in a big-screen adaptation of the ground-breaking Jack Kerouac novel "On the Road." It's set to be supposedly directed by Walter Salles.
The site says that filming will start this summer but, truth be told, shooting has been planned multiple times in the past. Casting Hedlund is certainly a step showing momentum.
After Francis Ford Coppola optioned it in the late ’70s, the Kerouac adaptation has been in development for years and in the hands of more than a few directors.
In 2005, "The Motorcycle Diaries" director Salles started eyeballing the project. At the time, though, he was set to continue his collaboration with screenwriter Jose Rivera. The duo have recently been attached to an adaptation of "American Rust."
The book was written in April 1951 and published by Viking Press in 1957. It's a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. Why is it important? It's considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiences. While many of the names and details of Kerouac's experiences are changed for the novel, hundreds of references in "On the Road" have real-world counterparts.
When the book was originally released, The New York Times hailed it as "the most beautifully executed, the clearest and most important utterance" of Kerouac's generation. It was subsequently chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923-2005.
A 2008 interviews suggest that Salles (pictured)may modernize the tale.
"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."
Can you feel Kerouac rolling over in his grave? Let's hope he doesn't screw with the period. Salles has also recreated the journey undertaken in the novel with the documentary "In Search of On the Road," a portion of which will show soon at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Talk about research...
Expect more casting to see who is cast as Carlo Marx, (the character based on Allen Ginsberg). Reportedly "Control" actor Sam Riley is cast as Sal Paradise, (based on Kerouac himself). The latter casting news, though, according to Slashfilm, is roughly a year old -- an eternity in Hollywood. Take it with a grain of salt.
Here's my twp pennies: I really really wish they'd make a Kerouac biography on the big screen. As for casting? I know my two choices: Daniel Craig and Jon Hamm. Dead ringers.